Sam Rockwell's alma mater in San Francisco hoping for Oscar glory

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For many people, there's that familiar feeling of anticipation leading up to the Academy Awards. But for students at San Francisco's Ruth Asawa School of The Arts, this year's Oscars have special meaning.

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"I would love to have a SOTA alum win," says Tommye Finan, a SOTA senior. "That would be amazing."

Sam Rockwell attended SOTA in the mid-1980's before moving to New York and Los Angeles to pursue his dream of making it onto the big screen.

Rockwell is nominated for best supporting actor for his performance in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri." The Bay Area native plays the complicated and anti-hero role of Jason Dixon, a violent and racist small-town police officer.

"For some people it's such a big struggle, but if Sam Rockwell, who came from here can do it, then you know, we have a chance of doing it too," said SOTA senior Maximilian Itsikson.

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Some of Rockwell's previous SOTA classmates aren't surprised by his success this awards season.

"He started his career slowly through independent work," says San Francisco resident and SOTA graduate Gerri Lawlor. "People could get to know who he was and write specifically for him, and get the interest of people who were really big in the business."

Rockwell was previously awarded the best supporting actor prizes at both the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Golden Globes for his work in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri."

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