Hundreds of students competed in the Academy’s exciting new initiative with mtvU, the Oscar Experience College Search, with the winners enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with some of the most storied Hollywood talent.
The lucky few -- Abe Diaz, AJ Young, Tatenda Mbudzi, Hearin Ko, Jennifer Brofer and ChaRon Brabham – finished their experience in spectacular fashion by taking to the stage on Oscar Sunday. However, there was much more to their big day than just a few minutes in front of millions of viewers.
After a week of working with Don Mischer's production crew, the students were prepared for anything that might happen during the show. In fact, they even found out that the celebrities presenting might actually be more nervous and would need to be guided through the process on the big night. Their final rehearsal took place on Oscar Sunday, just a few hours before the start of the show.
Next they were treated to full star treatment with professional hair, makeup, and hand-tailored wardrobes, after which they walked the Red Carpet and were even featured on our Oscars Red Carpet Pre-Show.
At last, the house lights dimmed and the world was watching. The big show kicked off, and the students took the stage right on cue for their historic night.
As the students packed up to head back to school, we asked each of them what they thought of their big night and how the Oscar Experience affected them.
The Oscar encounter created "unsuspended disbelief” for Hearin Ko, while Abe Diaz found it “an experience of a lifetime. I never thought at 18 I would be standing on the Oscar stage.”
As for Jennifer Brofer, she sincerely felt that “I will definitely carry over what I learned from talking with amazing filmmakers into my own film career.” Similarly inspired was ChaRon Brabham, who found that “over this experience I've learned that I don't believe in impossible. If you believe in impossible, you believe in failure. I refuse to fail.”
AJ Young found special resonance in the acceptance speech for one of the night’s Best Picture recipients, Ben Affleck. He “said he was just like us,” said Young, “and he kept working towards his dreams. We can't give up. We won't give up. The Academy won't give up on us as well."
Want to see more of the Oscar Experience College Search winners? Samsung provided each member of the class with a Samsung Galaxy Note II to document their journey. Be sure to follow The Academy and Samsung on Twitter and Facebook for their highlights from the week.
Also, be sure to catch them on stage in our full telecast, now online for the very first time in its entirety HERE.