You're talking with your friend about movies that you've seen recently. Your friend says that he saw a movie which you heard might win an Academy Award. You say:
I hear that it's a likely Oscar contender.
For something that you've just been told one time, you'd say:
I heard that it's a likely Oscar contender.
But if you've heard the same thing from multiple people, you can use "I hear that..." instead.
"Likely" means "probably". So in the example at top, "a likely Oscar contender" means a movie that is probably going to be nominated for an Oscar award.
There are a few words that "likely" is most often used with:
I know it's technically possible, but is that really a likely scenario?
That sounds like a likely explanation.
She's a likely candidate for governor in 2012.
The Oscars are awards that are given each year in the U.S. for the best film, the best actor and actress, best director, and so on. The award ceremony is shown on T.V. and is pretty popular. People start talking about what movies and performers might win an Oscar months before the nominees are even announced. The name "Oscars" is actually a nickname. The real name is "The Academy Awards".
A "contender" is someone that might be able to win something. This is a little different from a "contestant". A "contestant" is anyone who enters a competition. But the real "contenders" are only the people who have a good chance of winning.
The phrase "Oscar contender" is commonly used to talk about movies and actors who might be nominated, or might win, an Academy Award. Here are some other common types of "contenders":
a presidential contender
a playoff contender (for a sports championship)
an Olympic contender
And here are some adjectives that describe contenders:
the leading contender
a serious contender
a strong contender
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