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Elon students enjoy special access to the Oscars’ red carpet

For the second consecutive year, students studying in the Elon in LA program got an inside look at the festivities leading up to the Academy Awards, the film industry’s biggest night of the year.

Actor Orlando Jones enjoys a moment with fans, including Elon University students, before the 88th Academy Awards ceremony. Nineteen students in the Elon in LA program attended this year’s “Oscar Fan Experience.” Photo courtesy of J McMerty ’00

​As A-list celebrities filed past the group of Elon University students attending the red carpet festivities prior to the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, J McMerty ’00 made a simple, yet astute, observation.

The assistant professor and director of the Elon in LA program recalled telling the undergraduates on hand, “So when people ask you if you’ve seen anyone famous in LA, say, ‘No.’ Tell them you’ve seen everyone famous in LA.”

For the second consecutive year, Elon in LA students attended the “Oscar Fan Experience,” a pre-ceremony event hosted by PEOPLE Magazine and Dove that provides hundreds of fans sightlines of the nominees, presenters and stars parading by. Afterward, the fans enjoy dinner and watch the awards ceremony at the El Capitan Theatre. According to McMerty, a contact through Alex Stevenson ’14 helped orchestrate Elon’s attendance the past two years.

Accompanied by McMerty and Colleen Callahan ’09, G’10, 19 students enjoyed this year’s red carpet access. The Pendulum interviewed Emmie Potter ’17 and Perry Elyaderani ’18, highlighting their experiences positioned just a few feet from Hollywood’s biggest names.

There were several other Elon representatives at the Academy Awards, most notably, Laith al-Majali '05, who was part of a team that earned the nation of Jordan its first-ever Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. (Majali’s film, “Theeb,” ultimately lost to “Son of Saul.”)

Additionally, McMerty spotted Alisa Petitt ’07, G’10 on site, working and posting content for a social media aggregator company. But Petitt wasn’t the only person with an assignment that afternoon.

Gabby Jasper ’17 captured this image during the “Oscar Fan Experience,” a pre-ceremony event that provided hundreds of fans special access to the red carpet. Photo courtesy of McMerty

​The majority of students in attedance are also enrolled in McMerty’s “Entertainment Production in Los Angeles” course, which focuses on creating compelling stories through visual media.

​“They all have photograph assignments as part of my class,” McMerty said. “The Oscars were just perfect for this. What better way to fulfill a photo assignment than by adding some pictures from the Oscars?”

Two days after the ceremony, the professor spent part of his morning flipping through the students’ online Flickr galleries. One image that caught his attention was the photo on the left, taken by Gabby Jasper ’17.

Tommy Kopetskie,
3/2/2016 10:20 AM