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10 Semifinalists Named in Academy/ mtvU “Oscar® Correspondent Contest”


Voting Begins Online January 30, 2009; Grand Prize Winners to Earn Red Carpet and Backstage Press Credentials for 81st Academy Awards®

Beverly Hills, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, announced ten teams of college journalists as semifinalists in the first-ever “Oscar Correspondent Contest,” each vying for a coveted position on the red carpet at the 81st Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Video entries from the semifinalist teams are posted online at, where students and other viewers can vote for their favorite college journalists until February 6. The semifinalists are (listed in alphabetical order by university):

* Bowling Green State University Senior Nicole Lovince (anchor) and Senior Chad Courtney (videographer)
* Drexel University Senior Dylan Steinberg (anchor) and Senior Bruce Pinchbeck (videographer)
* Duke University Junior David Distenfeld (anchor) and Junior Lawrence Chen (videographer)
* Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Senior Chantell Black (anchor) and Senior Guy Lemonier (videographer)
* Fordham University Senior Justin Shackil (anchor) and Senior Garry VanGenderen (videographer)
* New York University Freshman Diana Snyder (anchor) and Freshman Mike Ren (videographer)
* Rice University Senior Faheem Ahmed (anchor) and Junior Anish Patel (videographer)
* San Diego State University Sophomore Megan Telles (anchor) and Junior Andrew Huse (videographer)
* University of Cincinnati Senior Rachel Alig (anchor) and Senior Kathryn Jeffries (videographer)
* University of Miami Senior Nick Maslow (anchor) and Senior David Marcus (videographer)

On February 9, the three teams with the most online votes, and as agreed upon by the Academy and mtvU, will advance to the final round of competition, with online voting from February 9 to February 20 at 12:00 pm PT/ 3:00 pm ET. All three finalist teams will be flown to Los Angeles to cover Academy Awards® pre-events, including the Animated Feature Symposium, Foreign Language Film Award Nominees Symposium, the Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Symposium and the Governors Ball preview.

The Grand Prize team will be revealed on Friday, February 20, at an Academy press conference, and awarded a spot on the red carpet for the 81st Academy Awards arrivals as well as credentials for access to backstage press rooms. The two other teams will receive bleacher seats along the red carpet and admission to an Oscar viewing party.

The ten semi-finalist teams were selected by the Academy and mtvU from videos submitted for the competition. These entries were judged based on equally weighted criteria including originality, creativity, and by which entries were most compelling. The competition was open to teams of two college students, one anchor and one videographer, residing in the United States. For a complete list of rules and regulations for the “Oscar Correspondent Contest,” please visit

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.


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