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And the Oscar goes to...? Reading graduate and Radio 1 film critic discusses whose popcorn will taste sweetest this Sunday – University of Reading

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And the Oscar goes to...? Reading graduate and Radio 1 film critic discusses whose popcorn will taste sweetest this Sunday

Release Date 21 February 2013

Rhianna Dillon with Hollywood star Hugh Jackman

In 2011 University of Reading student Rhianna Dhillon landed her dream job as film critic for BBC Radio 1. Rhianna's reviews are now heard every week by over five million people, so who better to ask for a view on who will be smiling, crying - or both - at the Oscars this Sunday night. Rhianna also talks about the support she received when studying at Reading and her decision to help the next generation of students since she graduated in July 2011.

Who will scoop the top awards?

"I would love ‘Argo' to win Best Film as I thought it was an incredible movie," Rhianna said. "I have never felt so tense watching a film. Ben Affleck gave a fantastic, understated performance and it's a massive shame that he was omitted from the Best Director list. For Best Director, I'd like Ang Lee to win for the incredible visuals in ‘Life of Pi' and for being able to immerse the audience completely. However my pick for these two awards is Spielberg's ‘Lincoln'.

"I think there's a very good chance that ‘Zero Dark Thirty' star Jessica Chastain will win Best Actress although Emmanuelle Riva has cropped up in a number of predictions for her role in ‘Amour'. There's no doubt that Daniel Day Lewis's performance in ‘Lincoln' was Oscar worthy. In fact I don't think they had much else in mind when they were filming! However I would pick Denzel Washington for Flight. It was an intensely moving role for an actor who I thought had already given his finest performance in previous films but his alcoholic pilot proved me wrong."

Being the Radio 1 film critic

Rhianna has been working for Radio 1 and 1xtra for nearly two years. She adores her job which has allowed her to rub shoulders with some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Rhianna said: "I'm having a fantastic time. Even the busiest of weeks are only hectic because I'm interviewing actors and having to see their films beforehand, so nothing to complain about!

"Denzel Washington was probably my favourite interview last year, he was so bubbly and fun, while meeting Bruce Willis the other day was pretty epic. However Simon Pegg has to be up there as my number one person to interview. Although they say you should never meet your heroes, I'm so glad I did!

"I think my favourite part of the job though is actually being on air with both Trevor Nelson and Greg James. The banter is always flowing and I get to give my reviews which is the crux of the job."

Rhianna's time at Reading and how she was cast in a starring role with BBC Radio 1

Rhianna, who studied English and Film & Theatre, was discovered after attending a Radio 1 Movies Team visit to the University of Reading and immediately impressed with her knowledge of film and her bright personality. She later took part in a rigorous piloting process before landing the job. Rhianna, who is 24 and originally from Brighton, says studying at Reading gave her the skills and confidence to succeed in the job.

Rhianna said: "Support from the University's staff was fantastic and being able to talk freely in seminars was a great boost to my confidence. My film tutors provided me with a wealth of knowledge about film and the analysis skills which I use at Radio 1 and I am incredibly grateful for my time there."

Rhianna's decision to become an alumni mentor

The alumni mentoring scheme was set up in 2011 within the Department of Film, Theatre & Television. It acts as a way of bringing together current undergraduates with alumni who have established careers in areas including journalism, television and film production and public relations. In their second year students are paired with a mentor until graduation. As well as providing advice, our mentors have also given  practical help including writing an effective CV, tips on the  interview process as well as providing 'shadowing' in the workplace and valuable work experience.

Rhianna said: "Every day I feel fortunate that Radio 1 came to Reading and that I got picked to join their team. This is why I wanted to help with the mentoring scheme. I would never have been given the opportunity I have if it wasn't for the courses I was doing at the University of Reading. I've met my mentee and I'm really looking forward to showing her around our new home at New Broadcasting House."

The University of Reading is renowned as one of the leading places in the country to study Film, Theatre and Television. In 2011 Oscar-winning film producer Lord David Puttnam officially opened the Minghella Building, the University's £11 million new state of the art home for its Department of Film, Theatre and Television.

More information about studying at the University of Reading >>>

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