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Chicago students go to the Oscars

It’s usually models gliding across the stage, handing the golden Oscar trophy to the celebrity presenter and guiding winners off the stage. But this year, college students are taking the job.

The  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences called on aspiring filmmakers to answer one question in a video: "How will you contribute to the future of movies?"

The Academy selected six students from that group to help out on stage at the 85th Academy Awards.

Two of them come from Chicago; Abe Diaz, a freshman at DePaul University and AJ Young, a junior at Columbia College.

It’s been a dream week for them, screening movies and meeting film industry veterans in L.A.

AJ Young says he’d contribute to the film industry by making improvements to technology.

He’s working on developing a camera that would capture deep details in various settings.

He says he’s not too worried about moving around on stage, but he’s most nervous about the Academy introducing the students during the ceremony.

“The entire audience is going to be staring at us. And the people in audience are people who I’ve been watching their films and studying their films for years,” he said.

Nerves aside, he hopes they remember his face, especially the cinematographers.

“Now, I get to see them and actually get to talk to them and hopefully get to pick their brains about stuff. So as a cinematography student, this is incredibly invaluable,” he said.

Young especially wants to meet Roger Deakins, a cinematographer nominated for his work in Skyfall. He’d also like to meet Columbia College alumnus, Janusz Kaminksi, a cinematographer who often works with Steven Spielberg.

Unlike Young and the other students, Abe Diaz is the only non-film or theater major in the group.

He’s studying chemistry, but enjoys film as a hobby.

“Film is cool, it’s very interesting and stuff. Same thing with chemistry. I’m fascinated by science. So this is a great way to help me decide where I want my future to go,” he said.

Diaz’s video application paid homage to some of his favorite directors and showcased some of his trophy handling skills.

When he takes his turn in the spotlight Sunday night, he's hoping to bump into directors like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino.

AJ Young's video submission


Abe Diaz's video submission


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