An Evening with the Oscars – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

An Evening with the Oscars

Long after Ben Affleck took to the stage at the 85th Academy Awards to accept the Best Picture prize for “Argo,” members of the HWS community are still buzzing about the event. From right here on campus to those who were in Hollywood for the big evening at Dolby Theatre, the memories of this year’s ceremonies are bright.

On the red carpet next to some of biggest names in entertainment, on-air personality Josh Horowitz ’98 co-hosted MTV’s live coverage of the Oscars at Sunday night’s event. This year marked the sixth time in a row that Horowitz covered the Academy Awards for MTV, where he works as a news correspondent.

“I’m often asked what it’s like to cover such an iconic event and I always say it’s about what you’d expect,” Horowitz explains. “Exciting, bizarre, absurd; stepping on that red carpet and talking to your cinematic heroes is like a waking dream. You just want to soak up as much of it as possible.”

From this year’s Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence to Dustin Hoffman and Hugh Jackman, Horowitz interviewed a sizable list of today’s top celebrities.

Horowitz, who joined MTV in 2006 and covers the movie industry for the network, says having the opportunity to report on the event has been a “pleasure and quite surreal honor.” Crediting the Colleges for his track toward broadcasting, Horowitz says he’s been hooked ever since he picked up a microphone at WEOS.

While Horowitz delivered entertaining reports from the red carpet, members of the HWS community back in Geneva were enjoying their own party for the Oscars, complete with a red carpet as well.

In the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center, the Academy Awards took center stage for nearly five hours as 140 students gathered to celebrate the year’s top films.

“It was very festive in Vandervort,” recalls Assistant Professor of Media and Society Leah Shafer, who coordinated the Oscar party. “The room was packed, especially during the red carpet portion of the evening and it was great to see so many people dressed for the occasion.”

Shafer’s Oscar bash has consistently grown every year since its inception four years ago. This year, the tradition continued.

“I think it’s great for students studying media subjects to meet up with each other,” Shafer says. “Events like this offer an opportunity for mingling and discussion.”

By 7:30 Sunday night, the event was in full swing. Students struck a pose on the red carpet and feverishly made their last-minute predictions for the year’s ballot contest. The students also made predictions for what would become one of the tightest Oscar races in recent memory.

Kara Finch ’13 correctly predicted a staggering 22 out of 24 awards. Her impressive predictions were enough to secure a win for the William Smith senior in this year’s Oscar ballot contest.

Finch, a Media and Society major with a minor in English, was just as surprised as anyone to learn of her impressive feat, which helped her to win a cash prize and novel trophy.

“My selections this year were a mixed bag of research and luck,” Finch recalls. “I like to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in the film industry, and I read a variety of movie-related blogs and websites in addition to listening to different entertainment podcasts.”

Ordinarily, Finch makes an effort to watch as many Best Picture nominees as possible; however, this year she only managed to see about half of the crowded field. As for the event on campus, Finch felt right at home.

“Going to the event this year was a nice change of pace,” Finch says. “It definitely made watching the Oscars more exciting and fun, particularly when it came to seeing how everyone in the room was reacting to the award selections and host Seth MacFarlane’s jokes.”

Following a night of good snacks and great company, the fourth annual HWS Oscar night party came to a close just after midnight on Monday morning, leaving a drove of countless tweets by students in its wake.

“One of the best things about the party is the vibrant Twitter back channel,” says Shafer in regard to the outpour of tweets from her “History of Television” students who spent the night live-blogging with the hashtag #MDSC203. “Tweeting allows students to get more out of the event, including sharing their thoughts with a large audience that includes HWS alums.”

With the curtain closed on this year’s ceremony, Shafer already is eagerly awaiting next year’s celebration.

“The Vandervort Room suits the needs of the event,” Shafer says. “The big screens are great and the round tables allow people to converse during the party. This year we had coffee and cookies, but I think next year we’ll bring back the candy and popcorn, which has been a favorite.”