While many dream of rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s elite, Nick Maslow and David Marcus, two seniors in the School of Communication, may actually get to do it. They make up one of the top 10 teams of finalists in the mtvU Oscar Correspondent Contest for college journalists. The winner will be given a spot to cover the red carpet at the Academy Awards, among other prizes.
The initiative was launched by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and mtvU in an “attempt to familiarize the college crowd with the film culture,” as Leslie Unger, the director of Communications at the Academy, explained.
Two-minute-long videos made by each team were entered via www.mtvu.com and the top 10 finalists represent the diversity of styles and personalities within the college crowd.
“We received many entries,” Unger said. “We wanted to have a group of 10 that gave people a sense of different styles and personalities; [the audience] could vote for whomever they felt [they] identified with.”
On January 30, Maslow received a call from mtvU Senior Producer Jen McComb announcing they had been picked among the top ten finalist videos.
“I didn’t want to get too excited going in. I didn’t want to get our hopes too high because we only put five hours in it,” Marcus said. They started working on the project after receiving an e-mail from the school and submitted the video 45 minutes before the deadline. Both students have been involved in the field and worked extensively in school projects and extracurricular opportunities. Maslow is also the host of The Slate, a movie news and review show that airs on UMTV.
In many of the other submissions, contestants feigned interviews with celebrities. Maslow and Marcus showed the real deal, however, with clips of Maslow chatting with Halle Berry, Will Smith and Shia LaBeouf.
Maslow is proud that his hard work is being recognized.
“I’m grateful that we got this opportunity and it brought attention to the University of Miami,” he said. “This is about more than me and Dave and our hard work, it’s about what our school has given [us] the opportunity to do.”
“The red carpet looks glamorous, looks like a lot of fun, but the truth is that it is the center one of the fiercest competition any journalist will go through,” Maslow said. “You have to be aggressive, you have to maintain your composure and keep your dignity.”
Unger said that the right candidate for mtvU Oscar Correspondent “will have poise, a sense of professionalism and of the occasion, but will be representing themselves and the college audience.”
Voting for the top 10 semi-finalists will end on Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. and the top three finalists will be announced on Feb. 9. On Feb. 19, these three teams will be flown to Los Angeles to cover Academy Awards pre-events. The winning team will be announced on Feb. 20 and will be awarded a spot on the red carpet for the 81st Academy Awards arrivals as well as credentials for access to backstage press rooms and the Governors Ball.
The Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 22. Red carpet coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. and the ceremony airs at 8 p.m.
All of the finalist videos are available for viewing on www.mtvU.com/win/2009-oscars-student-correspondent/
Note: Nick Maslow is the business manager and an entertainment reporter for The Miami Hurricane.