Rider Student, Alumnus Among Top 10 Finalists in Red Carpet Contest

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One Rider University student and one alumna could have the opportunity to grace the red carpet for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards this March. Gina Grosso, a junior Communication major, and Kelly Dixon, a December 2009 graduate, have been selected as one of the top 10 pairs of semifinalists in the mtvU Oscar® Red Carpet Correspondent Contest.

In order to qualify in the competition, a team of two college students, one anchor person and one videographer, had to create a short video about why they should be chosen to cover the Oscars on March 7. The Academy and mtvU selected the semifinalists based on criteria including originality, creativity, and how compelling the video was overall.

The other semifinalists represent Chapman University, Emerson College, Florida A&M University, Middle Tennessee State University, Syracuse University, Texas State University-San Marcos, University of South Dakota and University of Texas at Austin.

“It’s exciting,” said Grosso, the Rider team’s videographer. “Being able to be recognized among these schools and having the support of the University, family and friends is overwhelming.”

In order to advance to the next round of the competition, Grosso and Dixon need the University community’s support because the next round of finalists will be determined by the number of online votes cast by the general public.

To view Dixon and Grosso’s video and to vote for the Rider team, please visit Oscars.mtvU.com. You can cast one vote per day until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10. The top three finalists will be announced on Tuesday, February 16. Once the three finalists are announced, you can continue to cast votes, from Tuesday, February 16, to Tuesday, March 2, for the Rider team as they compete for the grand prize.

The top three finalists will advance to the final round of the competition, where they will be flown to Los Angeles to cover Academy Awards pre-events. The grand prize-winning team will be revealed on Saturday, March 6, at an Academy press conference.  The anchor and videographer will be awarded a spot on the red carpet for the Academy Awards arrivals, as well as credentials for access to backstage press rooms. The winning team's coverage will be aired on MTV News and mtvU.  The two finalist teams will receive bleacher seats along the red carpet and admission to an Oscar viewing party.

“I think it’s every girl’s dream at some point to be on the red carpet, but I never actually thought I would be working on the red carpet,” said Grosso, who is This semester, Grosso is interning as a production assistant at A&E and Outpost Digital, a production company, in New York City.  “If we win, we’ll be working right next to professionals who are the best of the best. I think if I get to work beside them it would be an honor that employers would recognize.”

Dixon, learned about the competition through Scott Alboum, video technologies coordinator and the adviser to R.U.N., the Rider University Network, and asked Grosso to team up with her because of their experience working at the Rider studio. As an aspiring television anchor, Dixon thinks the exposure will help her gain access into the competitive field. While a student at Rider, Dixon worked as a freelance production assistant for FOX, ESPN and ABC.

“This would be my ultimate goal to be an entertainment reporter. I would love to work for E!, and Access Hollywood, and report from the Red Carpet,” Dixon said. “I rather talk about celebrities than report on hard news.

So, which celebrities do they hope to rub elbows with? Both friends admit they are gaga for Brad Pitt because they grew up with him on the big screen.

“As far as celebrities, I would love to meet Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Every girl’s dream is to meet Brad Pitt. It would be so cool to see them in person. I would also like to see Kate Hudson. I loved the movie Nine. I think she’s so awesome,” Dixon said. “I haven’t really thought about what questions I would ask.”

For now, Team Gina and Kelly are busy getting the word out. They even created a Facebook group, Gina and Kelly Are Going to the Oscars, which has about 500 members. Their efforts are paying off. Recently, The Trentonian ran a front page story about the young women.

“It’s just so cool to think that in a month I could at the Oscars. I almost feel like a mini celebrity because I’m getting all these interviews,” Dixon said. “I hope that I get on TV and make it to top three. Hopefully, MTV will take notice because I’m looking for a job. Even if we don’t make it to the top three, it will be an awesome experience and a great story to tell.”

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