Volume 78 - Number 40 / March 11 -17, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

N.Y.U. alumni and students shine at Oscars and Indie Spirit Awards

“Slumdog Millionaire” may have been the biggest winner at the Oscars, but New York University alumni and students also scored in Hollywood on Oscar weekend.

Victor J. Zolfo, Tisch School of the Arts alumnus, class of 1985, won an Academy Award on Sun., Feb. 22, for art direction for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Zolfo graduated from the undergraduate film division of the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television.

Six other alumni of Tisch, the Steinhardt and Gallatin schools received Oscar nominations. Philip Seymour Hoffman, class of ’89, was nominated for supporting actor in “Doubt,” and Elliot Graham, class of ’99, for film editing for “Milk.” Other Oscar nominations included Dan Jinks, class of ’89, producer of “Milk,” Lora Hirschberg, class of ’85, for sound mixing for “Dark Knight,” John Patrick Shanley, class of ’77, for adapted screenplay for “Doubt,” and Ellen Kuras, class of ’88, for Best Documentary for “The Betrayal — Nerakhoon.”

In addition, on Sat., Feb. 21, the 2009 Film Independent Spirit Awards went to two students and three alumni of the Kanbar Institute’s graduate film division and an alumnus of the Tisch drama department.

The Spirit Awards, presented the day before the Oscars under a tent on Santa Monica beach, honor films that embody independence and challenge the status quo. Margaret Brown, class of ’04, won the Lacoste Truer Than Fiction Award for the documentary “The Order of Myths;” James Franco, a Tisch first-year student, won best supporting male actor for “Milk,” and Mark Heyman, a graduate student, was associate producer of “The Wrestler,” which won the Spirit Best Feature Award. Charlie Kaufman, class of ’89, won the Spirit Best First Feature Award for directing “Synecdoche, New York,” and Kaufman and actor Hoffman won the Spirit Robert Altman Award for “Synecdoche, New York.”

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