Travis Hatfield and Samuel Day were pretty darn psyched about winning one of the top prizes (and $5 grand) at the 33rd annual Student Academy Awards, held Saturday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
And with good reason. Since 1972, thirty-three past Student Academy Award winners – a list that includes “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker, Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis and John Lasseter – have gone on to receive grown-up Oscar nominations.
That’s why their friends, families, film crew, even their Ball State University profs came to watch Kevin Smith (“Clerks,” “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy”) present them with the gold medal in the alternative category for their film titled “Perspective.”
So, other than Gen X filmmaker Smith, who impressed them the most?
“We’ve met so many amazing people like the Academy guys Sid Ganis and Frank Pierson, plus the cinematographer from “Jaws” and “Passion of the Christ,” said Hatfield, at the reception held in the lobby of the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre. "But the absolute best was that lady right over there talking to my grandmother. She’s the voice of Rocky and Natasha in “Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
Sure enough, they were talking about June Foray, the 88-year-old voice star behind those beloved "Bullwinkle” characters and hundreds of other animated characters.
“It’s awesome. We grew up watching that show,” marveled the star-struck Hatfield.
Why did Smith, who presented awards along with Nia Vardalos, throw a tux jacket over his trademark shorts on a Saturday night? “Hey, it’s the Academy plus it’s not that often that you get to give awards to other people.”
“When Harvey said he wanted to test screen in Kansas City, I thought we were being set up for the big fall," Smith admitted. "But it turned out great. Only one lady in her 30’s walked out, saying it was ‘too disgusting.’ And I thought well, thank God. If I can offend just one person – and my mother – then that makes it all worthwhile.”
Okay, he’s joking (not) but he may be on to something with the standards deal. He and everyone else expected “C11” to horrify the strait-laced censors over at the MPAA and he was fully prepared to have to release the film unrated.
“We got an R rating at the first try,” Smith marveled. “And that is further proof of just how far down things have gone. I was gearing up for the jihad of all time and I had all my arguments ready about why we could not cut certain scenes. But they gave us an R right off the bat. No argument. I was happy for a second and then it was like, …’Hey, wait a minute…”
Other student winners included…
Photo Credits: Mr. Alt Film himself – Kevin Smith – gives maniacal support to alternative category winners Travis Hatfield and Samuel Day at the 33rd annual Student Academy Awards, held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Photo courtesy of AMPAS
Gold Medal: “Perspective,” Travis Hatfield and Samuel Day, Ball State University, Indiana
Silver Medal: “6 A.M.,” Carmen Vidal Balanzat, City College of New York
Gold Medal: “The Possum,” Chris Choy, California Institute of the Arts
Silver Medal: “The Dancing Thief,” Meng Vue, Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Bronze Medal: “Turtles,” Thomas Leavitt, Brigham Young University
Gold Medal: “Reporter Zero,” Carrie Lozano, University of California, Berkeley
Silver Medal: “The Women’s Kingdom,” Xiaoli Zhou, University of California, Berkeley
Bronze Medal: “Three Beauties,” Mak Hossain, Purdue University
Gold Medal: “Christmas Wish List,” Sean Overbeeke, University of North Carolina
Silver Medal: “El Viaje” ("One Day Trip"), Cady Abarca-Benavides, Columbia University
Bronze Medal: “Pop Foul,” Moon Molson and Jennifer Handorf, Columbia University
Honorary Foreign Student Film Award
“Elalini,” Tristan Holmes, The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance