Presenting the Alma Awards
Columbia ain’t some two-bit institution out in the boonies. We’ve played host to a hefty number of notables in our day, and I think it’s high time we hand out some coveted Alma Mater statuettes to the biggest stars on campus.
1. Scarlett Johansson
WINNER: Best Composure Whilst Being Doused In Filthy Fountain Spray
Smoldering and yet vulnerable, Johansson proves while filming The Nanny Diaries that it is indeed possible to hang out on College Walk without getting a face full of pipe-water, being beseiged by pigeons, or giggling inappropriately because the fountains look like a distinctive article of masculine anatomy (i.e. dicks).
2. Chris Rock
WINNER: Best Effort To Become Relevant For College Audiences Again
Well known for once being well known and occasionally paying his taxes with cameo voiceovers in the “Madagascar” DVD extras, Rock is clearly trying to re-achieve mainstream stardom by shooting a comedy at the most relaxed and easily amused university in the country.
3. Daniel Radcliffe
WINNER: Best Steadfast Denial Of A Globally Beloved Character Portrayal
Radcliffe’s charming and dapper portrayal of beat poet Allen Ginsberg, one of our least charming or dapper alumni, was especially impressive given the fact that no degree of talent or determination can make audiences forget that Radcliffe is an adorably teeny Munchkin lad with magical powers and an owl companion. Witnesses say that Radcliffe stayed almost completely in character during the whole shoot, only once or twice fighting to suppress a facial spasm when eager fans shrieked, “Expelliarmus!” and invited him to sponsor the new Columbia Quidditch team.
4. Kanye West
WINNER: Best Use Of Magical Powers To Teleport Through Campus
Kanye was on College Walk! No, he was by Lerner! No, Havermeyer! No, Kent! OH MY GOD HE’S TRYING TO FLY FROM THE ROOF OF BUTLER LIBRARY. Just kidding, Kanye was nowhere near Kent. But he did do a magnificent job of showing up in several places at once, driving a handful of student witnesses into Facebook frenzy, and then vanishing as swiftly and gracefully as he first appeared.
5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
WINNER: Best Demolition Of Time And Space While Filming
“Premium Rush” was that movie filmed at Columbia that I don’t think anybody, including the stars or director, ever actually saw. But Gordon-Levitt’s performance is still stellar, no more so than when he enters Lerner through a nonexistent revolving door, finds an office space in concert room Lerner 555, and leaves through the Broadway turnstile only to find himself on 125th and Amsterdam. Truly, this man’s stoicism in the face of brain-melting shifts in the space-time continuum is nothing short of acting genius.
6. Denzel Washington
HALL OF FAME: Least Regard For The University’s Feelings For The Most Righteous Reasons
It’s true, Mr. Washington has not been spotted on campus since 1992, when he was filming Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X.” But the scene where he, as Malcolm X, verbally smacks down an eager white college student right at Alexander Hamilton’s giant copper feet is still one of the best and simplest illustrations of how racism has so deeply and pervasively affected the “enlightened” society of 20th-century America. Filming that scene on the steps of Hamilton Hall was a solid curb-stomp from Spike Lee, and Denzel does seem to be enjoying himself quite a bit—although who doesn’t enjoy themselves in the serene beauty of the Hartley/Wallach courtyard?
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