For several days, they had participated in several industry-related activities and social events culminating in the awards ceremony, which featured as presenters actress Jennifer Garner, Oscar-nominated animator John Musker, and Academy Award-winning producer Edward Zwick alongside Academy President Tom Sherak at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
The 2011 winners are:
Gold Medal*: "The Vermeers," Tal S. Shamir, The New School, New York
* Only one medal was awarded in the Alternative category.
Gold Medal (tie): "Correspondence," Zach Hyer, Pratt Institute, New York; and "Dragonboy," Bernardo Warman and Shaofu Zhang, Academy of Art University, California
Bronze Medal: "Defective Detective," Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida
Gold Medal: "Vera Klement: Blunt Edge," Wonjung Bae, Columbia College Chicago
Silver Medal: "Imaginary Circumstances," Anthony Weeks, Stanford University
Bronze Medal: "Sin Pais (Without Country)," Theo Rigby, Stanford University
Gold Medal: "Thief," Julian Higgins, American Film Institute, California
Silver Medal: "High Maintenance," Shawn Wines, Columbia University
Bronze Medal: "Fatakra," Soham Mehta, University of Texas at Austin
Foreign Student Film category
Gold Medal: "Tuba Atlantic," Hallvar Witzo, The Norwegian Film School, Norway
Silver Medal: "Bekas," Karzan Kader, Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sweden
Bronze Medal: "Raju," Max Zaehle, Hamburg Media School, Germany
While all winners knew they would each receive an award, their placement-Gold, Silver, or Bronze-was not revealed until the ceremony. Gold Medal award winners received cash grants of $5,000, Silver Medal award winners received $3,000, and Bronze Medal award winners received $2,000.
The U.S. students first competed in one of three regional competitions. Each region was permitted to send to the Academy up to three finalists in each of the four categories. Academy members then screened the finalists' films and voted to select the winners. The foreign student winners were selected by Academy members at special voting screenings from a pool of 52 entries from 32 countries.
The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive 43 Oscar nominations and have won or shared eight awards.
At the 83rd Academy Awards earlier this year, 2010 Student Academy Award winner Luke Matheny took home the Oscar for Live Action Short Film for "God of Love." Tanel Toom, another 2010 Student Academy Award winner, also was nominated in the Live Action Short Film category for "The Confession," and John Lasseter, a 1979 and 1980 Student Academy Award winner, was a nominee in the Adapted Screenplay category for Toy Story 3.