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Top Student Academy Awards Go to USC, NYU, German and Australian Schools

This is the first year the Student Oscars have had U.S. and international schools competing head-to-head

AWARDS BEAT

Students at USC, NYU, Griffith Film School in Australia and the University of Television and Film Munich in Germany have won the gold medals at the 2022 Student Academy Awards, which took place on Thursday night in the David Geffen Theater at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

The in-person ceremony was the first since 2019, with the last two Student Oscars taking place virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was also the first under new rules, revealed exclusively by TheWrap in April, that found U.S. and international film schools competing head-to-head in all categories. Previously, film schools outside the United States competed in separate international categories. 

“We’re a global organization and we’re reflecting a global film industry,” AMPAS VP of Talent Development and Inclusion Programs Kendra Carter told TheWrap. “We wanted to reflect that with the Student Academy Awards so there’s no distinction or divide between international and domestic when it comes to excellent storytelling. Film is global, and our competition reflects film in the future.”

International schools won the top prizes in the animation category with Lachlan Pendragon’s “An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It” from the Griffith Film School in Australia and narrative category with Nils Keller’s “Almost Home” from the University of Television and Film Munich. American winners were USC’s Olivia Peace with “Against Reality” in the alternative/experimental category and NYU’s Shuhao Tse’s “Found” in the documentary category.

Silver medals went to “Laika & Nemo” from Jane Gadermann and Sebastian Gadow of the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg, Germany (animation), “Here to Stay” from Jared Peraglia of NYU (documentary) and “Rooms” from Welf Reinhart of the University of Television and Film Munich, Germany (narrative).

Bronze medalists were Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard and Nicolas Mayeur from France’s Pôle 3D Digital & Creative School for “The Seine’s Tears” (animation), Gabriella Canal and Michael Fearon from Columbia University for “Seasons” (documentary) and Freddy Macdonald from AFI for “Shedding Angels” (narrative). It was the first-ever Student Academy Award for the Pôle 3D Digital & Creative School.

The 10 winners had previously been announced, but the medal placement was not revealed until the ceremony hosted by Terrence Jenkins. All winners are now eligible for Academy Awards in the Best Live-Action Short, Best Animated Short and Best Documentary Short categories.

Past Student Academy Award winners include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, Pete Docter and Trey Parker.

The winners:

Alternative/Experimental
Gold: “Against Reality,” Olivia Peace, University of Southern California

Animation
Gold: “An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It,” Lachlan Pendragon, Griffith Film School, Australia
Silver: “Laika & Nemo,” Jan Gadermann and Sebastian Gadow, Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg, Germany
Bronze: “The Seine’s Tears,” Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard and Nicolas Mayeur, Pôle 3D Digital & Creative School, France

Documentary
Gold: “Found,” Shuhao Tse, New York University
Silver: “Here to Stay,” Jared Peraglia, New York University
Bronze: “Seasons,” Gabriella Canal and Michael Fearon, Columbia University

Narrative 
Gold: “Almost Home,” Nils Keller, University of Television and Film Munich, Germany
Silver: “Rooms,” Welf Reinhart, University of Television and Film Munich, Germany
Bronze: “Shedding Angels,” Freddy Macdonald, American Film Institute