Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Oscar® Notes - Feb. 4th

With 18 days until the 81st Annual Academy Awards (on Feb. 22nd) and just about three days left until voting closes for the mtvU Oscars Correspondont Contest (this Friday around 5 p.m. ET), I thought it would be appropriate to discuss odds and ends...

Event news
  • In a New York Times article published Monday ("Oscars Suspense: Will People Watch?"), writer Michael Cieply discusses the secrets behind this year's ceremony and building pressure on the Academy to get more viewers to watch. Worth the read.
  • Jessica Biel will host the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards on Saturday, February 7, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.
  • The "Oscars Live Challenge" on OSCAR.COM went live earlier this week. Here, you can predict the winners and the during the ceremony answers questions for more points. There have not been any prizes announced for a possible nationwide winner, but maybe the Academy might not be offer a cool incentive this year.
  • Nominees for this year's Oscars got together at Beverly Hilton Monday for a luncheon, where Academy President Sid Ganis handed each nominee an official certificate of nomination.

Correspondent Semi-Finalists
After publishing a comprehensive post about the 10 semi-finalists last week, I contacted my top five and asked them their thoughts on being chosen and what they thought about my commentary.


I'll start, appropriately, with my no. 5 pick, Nick Maslow, senior - University of Miami. He commented on my blog post and discussed why he should be a correspondent despite the great interviews he showcased in his videos.

"I must say that for every good interview I showed, there were a handful of times when I spent hours preparing for an interview or event and left empty handed," he wrote in his comment, which can viewed in full here.
I was one of those kids in high school that no one thought would ever do anything with his life. I want to win this competition to inspire teens to not take 'no' for an answer and to challenge themselves. I want to show them that they can start off small by writing for their local newspapers and hopefully gain enough experience to someday report from the red carpet at the Oscars.
Link: Facebook Group


At no. 4 is cool hair Dylan Steinberg, senior - Drexel University, who seems very down-to-earth. Reacting to what I said about "a smug look on his face," he replied: "I totally agree about the smug faces haha. We did the whole thing pretty much improv, so it was fun to just be goofy the whole time."

This is what happened when he learned he was semi-finalist:
When I got the call I freaked out. Everything was amazing in that moment. I threw my bag on the couch, screamed my head off, "Unbelievable....AHHHHH." And then I jumped on my organ I got for free on Craigslist and played improvisational tunes about getting top 10. It was a feeling I haven't felt since I was cast in an AOL commercial back when I was 11.

I am really excited to find out who's going to LA. I've gotten some really supportive feedback and people seem really proud so far. I just hope to be on the red carpet or even just LA, enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime!


Next on my list is Justin Shackil, senior - Fordham University. While his opening was a little weird for me, the interviews that followed were well-done and the editing helped create what I called "a cohesive package."

Here is what Justin thought of the other videos and who he would like to see the final three:
Ok my thoughts on the semi-final round: I don't get why some kids ranted off their resume in the video. With all due respect, I as the viewer could care less. The whole point of the video is to SHOW what you can do. I understand thats hard in 2 minutes, but thats where creativity comes in. Some of the videos I thought were cheezy, and some others were boring. I did like Megan's video and I did like Dylan's. Other than those, I didn't think the others were all that special.

If I was to decide, I would select myself, Megan and Dylan (in no particular order).
Link: Facebook Group


The no. 2 spot belongs to Megan Telles, sophomore - San Diego State University; Justin seems to agree with this. This spunky candidate had some great moments in her video, including a part where she discusses going on a "Road Trip!" with her partner Andrew, who it used a Sony CineAlta EX1 camera to record the submitted video, according to YouTube - that's a $6,000 camera! That's why the video looked so nice...

Here are Megan's thoughts:
WOW - thank you so much for ranking me as #2 and having great things to say about mine and Andrews piece. We were notified about the competition the night before and we seriously pulled through and made it to the top 10. We finished editing at 2:00pm on the 23rd, when it was due at 3:00 pm - so you can only imagine how excited we are to have made it this far. I read through your entire blog and I am very impressed by your input with all the contestants who made it through. I must say - I agree with most everything you have to say.

As you mentioned, I am VERY passionate about getting the hands on experience that I feel a college kid who has NOT been able to get opportunities thus far deserves. I only wish I had some of the interviews, internships and celebrity interactions that some of the contestants have had - which is why I feel that this is a great opportunity for a girl who has not yet fulfilled her dreams of making it to LA! I have had lots of support from family, friends, professors, colleagues and even the media here in San Diego.

I imagine SDSU is proud to hear a student has plugged a positive spotlight on SDSU, simply because we have had some negative media in the past. I am proud to prove that students attending SDSU are not completely submerged in the party scene - some of us can have fun and work hard in the direction of our dreams too :]

Well thank you so much again for the blog reviews - to be #2 on your list means alot - simply because you come off as a passionate student yourself. I encourage you to vote until Friday. Let me know if you need anything else - ok. THANK YOU!!
Links: Facebook Group, with more than 600 members | On the news | FishbowlLA Blog post | Local paper brief

Video, via YouTube:


And my no. 1 choice is David Distenfeld, junior- Duke University. As mentioned in my last post, he contacted me first and that inspired me to reach out to my others on my list. He was something he wrote about my last entry:
Wow, just read your ridiculously detailed blog entry. Glad to know you liked the snark and Slumdog reference.

By the way, I created a facebook to get out the vote (Obama-style)

Feel free to invite everyone you know and again thanks for the support.
Link: School paper story

Video, via YouTube:


Alrighty then! Those are my top 5. Go vote here. Good luck to all of the semi-finalists. I will write another post next week about the final three and try get video/audio interviews with each of them before they head out to Hollywood.


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