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Academy Awards nominations 2023: Where did the Oscar nominees go to university?

The film professionals nominated for Academy Awards for movies they have directed, produced, acted in, written and edited are a mixed bunch: these are the universities in the running to win the alumni Oscars

Rankings for Students
March 7 2023
Oscars statuettes for Academy Awards


This year marks the 95th anniversary of the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, and we’ve taken a look at where the 2023 nominees went to university to prep themselves for a career in the film industry.

Although some of the talent did not attend university, choosing instead to dive straight into work, there are 115 universities, theatre schools and specialist schools from all over the world on this year’s list.

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Unsurprisingly, universities and colleges in North America and the UK are well represented, but universities in India, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and Mexico also feature.

It is also important to note that universities and theatre schools were still included in this list even if the nominee dropped out part way through their course or transferred to another university during their degree programme – and some of the nominees’ education information was not available online at the time of publication.

New York University: eight nominated alumni

New York University has produced the highest number of nominees this year, with an incredible eight nominees. It’s important to note that six of these nominees attended the university’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, which is a well-known institution for producing successful artists, film-makers and creatives.

NYU alumni span a range of categories, including acting (Stephanie Hsu for the genre-bending Everything Everywhere All at Once), two nominations for animated feature film (Dean Fleischer Camp and Paul Mezey for the heart-warming animated tale Marcel the Shell with Shoes on) and music (Lady Gaga for action-packed Top Gun: Maverick).

Author and playwright Tony Kushner is nominated twice for Best Picture and Writing (Original Screenplay) for the coming-of-age drama The Fabelmans, which is loosely based on the life of director Steven Spielberg.

Alumnus Film Nomination
Stephanie Hsu Everything Everywhere All At Once Best supporting actress
Dean Fleischer Camp Marcel the Shell with Shoes on Animated feature film
Paul Mezey Marcel the Shell with Shoes on Animated feature film
Darius Khondji Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths Cinematography
Lady Gaga Top Gun: Maverick Music (original song)
Tony Kushner The Fabelmans Best picture and Writing (original screenplay)
Edward Berger All Quiet on the Western Front Writing (adapted screenplay)
Ehren Kruger Top Gun: Maverick Writing (adapted screenplay)

Yale University: five nominated alumni  

Producing five nominated alumni, Yale University is regularly top of the list for producing Oscar-nominated alumni. Three of the nominees studied for a master’s at the Yale School of Drama.

One of them is Angela Bassett, who first completed her undergraduate degree in African American studies at the Ivy League institution, then gained a master’s in fine arts. 

Actress Frances McDormand (who graduated from the Yale School of Drama with a master’s in fine arts) has previously won four Oscars, three for acting and one for producing. This year, she is nominated for her role in producing Women Talking

Alumnus Film Nomination
Brian Tyree Henry Causeway Actor in a supporting role
Angela Bassett Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Actress in a supporting role
Paul Mezey Marcel the Shell with Shoes on Animated feature film
Frances McDormand Women Talking Best picture

Columbia University: four nominated alumni

Another New York institution to make this list, Columbia University, also produced four of the nominees this year.

Tony Kushner received his BA in medieval studies from Columbia University, before he went on to study at the Tisch School of the Arts.

American film producer Dede Gardner gained her undergraduate degree in English at Columbia University. She is a two-time Oscar winner, for 12 Years a Slave and for Moonlight, making her the first woman to win two Oscars for Best Picture. If she wins this year, she will make it a hat-trick for the Best Picture award.

Alumnus Film  Nomination
Joshua Seftel Stranger at the Gate Documentary short film
Tony Kushner The Fabelmans Best picture and Writing (original screenplay)
Dede Gardner Women Talking Best picture
Justin Marks Top Gun: Maverick Writing (adapted screenplay)

University of Southern California: four nominated alumni

Nominated actor Ke Huy Quan attended the University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts. After his family fled Vietnam in 1970s, he became a child actor at the age of 12, starring in The Goonies and Indiana Jones at the Temple of Doom. He quit acting after finding it difficult to find roles and went on to pursue his studies and work on the production side. He returned to acting in 2018, and this is his first Academy Award nomination. 

Ludwig Goransson is a composer and producer, known for scoring a range of films and collaborating with a range of musical artists including Childish Gambino, Travis Scott and Adele. His first film score was for Fruitvale Station, which was directed by fellow USC alum Ryan Coogler. 

Alumnus Film Nomination
Ke Huy Quan Everything Everywhere All at Once Actor in a supporting role
Ludwig Goransson Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Music (original song)
David Ellison Top Gun: Maverick Best picture
Rian Johnson Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Writing (adapted screenplay)

Where did the rest of the nominees go to university?

University Number of nominees
New York University  8
Yale University  4
Columbia University 4
University of Southern California 4
Emerson College 3
Jawaharlal Nehru University 3
National Institute of Dramatic Art 2
Boston University 2
Vassar College 2
Sheridan College 2
University of California, Los Angeles 2
National Art School 2
California State University, Long Beach 2
Wesleyan University 2
University of California, Berkeley 2
Stanford University 2
Harvard University 2
University of Bristol 2
University of Gothenburg 2
Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design 2
The Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg 2
California Institute of Arts 2
Gaiety School of Acting 1
Cornish College of the Arts 1
The Lir Academy at Trinity College Dublin 1
Guildford School of Acting 1
University College Dublin 1
Morehouse College 1
CUNY City College of New York 1
University of Melbourne 1
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art 1
Royal Academy of Dance 1
University of the Pacific 1
University of Guadalajara 1
Cypress College 1
California Institute of the Arts 1
University of Manchester 1
University of Waterloo 1
Bradley University 1
Occidental College 1
Bath Academy of Art 1
National Film School 1
Berlin’s German Film and Television Society 1
Hampton University 1
Sydney College of the Arts 1
Studio Bercot 1
Central School of Art and Design 1
AJK Mass Communication Research Centre  1
Delhi University 1
San Francisco Art School  1
The New School 1
Princeton University 1
Colby College 1
School of the Museum of Fine Arts 1
London School of Economics and Political Science 1
Oberlin College 1
Carleton University 1
The National Danish Film School 1
University of Copenhagen 1
University of Bedfordshire 1
Rochester Institute of Technology 1
The American Film Institute 1
Dr. G.R. Damodaran College of Science 1
Light and Life Academy 1
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University 1
International Centre of Photography 1
Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography 1
San Francisco State University  1
University of Oregon 1
Middlebury College 1
Tufts University 1
School of Visual Arts  1
Anglia Ruskin University 1
The Julliard School 1
California State University, Northridge 1
Kansas City Art Institute 1
Saint Mary's College of California 1
Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad 1
SUNY Purchase College 1
Fullerton College 1
Brandeis University 1
University of Maryland 1
University of Sydney 1
Southern Oregon University 1
AFI University 1
University of Arizona 1
Bethany College 1
University of East London 1
Macquarie University 1
University of California, Santa Cruz 1
University of Lethbridge 1
University of Victoria 1
Royal College of Art 1
University of Texas at Austin 1
Griffith University 1
University of Bologna 1
University of Turin 1
National Autonomous University of Mexico 1
Miroslav Ondříček Film Academy in Písek 1
Technical University of Berlin 1
University of Liverpool 1
Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts 1
North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking 1
University of Canterbury  1
Brigham Young University 1
Rhode Island School of Design 1
Bournemouth University 1
Loughborough University 1
San Diego State University 1
Kingston University 1
California State University, Chico 1
University of Kent  1
University of East Anglia 1
University of Iowa 1

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