For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Digital Media Alumni Work on Oscar-Nominated Films


Oscars, Live Sunday Feb 24

February 04, 2019

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced its nominees for the 91st Academy Awards on Tuesday, and four of the nominated films feature the work of Drexel alumni from the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. The alumni represented come from the Department of Digital Media, which now comprises four undergraduate programs, a master’s program and a doctoral program. 2019 is the seventh consecutive year that films nominated in the Visual Effects or Animated Feature Film category have featured the work of Westphal Digital Media graduates. Read more.


Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, which received a nomination in the Animated Feature Film category, features work by Drexel alumna Le Joyce Tong (MS Digital Media ‘10), who is credited as a Crowd Artist. Tong’s other animation and visual effects credits include Life of Pi, Zootopia, and Moana.

The Ron Howard-directed Solo: A Star Wars Story, nominated for Visual Effects, features the work of Drexel Alumni Greg Ruane (MS Digital Media ‘11), who worked as a pipeline engineer through Tippett Studio, and James Spadafora (Digital Media ‘12), Technical Director for Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Both Ruane and Spadafora have additional Star Wars credits, and have worked in the visual effects departments for Marvel films and other blockbusters.

Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, nominated for Visual Effects, features the work of Drexel Alumni Girish Balakrishnan (MS Digital Media ’13, Drexel 40 Under 40 notable), Lead Virtual Production TD: Digital Domain; Melissa Cell (Digital Media ‘12), Technical Director: Digital Domain; Will Muto (MS Digital Media ‘09), Pipeline Technical Director: ILM; James Spadafora (Digital Media ‘12), Technical Director: ILM; Ari Teger (Digital Media ‘07), Previs Artist: Digital Domain; Ben Granger (Digital Media ‘07), Concept Artist: ILM.

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War features the work of Drexel alumni Dan Bodenstein (BS/MS Digital Media ‘11), Effects Lead: Method Studios; Melissa Cell (Digital Media ‘12), Technical Director: Digital Domain; Simon Littlejohn (MS Digital Media ‘12), FX Artist.


Tune in to the Oscars on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

Learn more about our Digital Media programs:

Virtual Reality & Immersive Media

Animation & Visual Effects

Interactive Digital Media

Game Design & Production

MS, PhD, Digital Media