MOVIES | Academy Awards and social networking: Where the Oscar comes to you

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You’re invited to join me on the Red Carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards—at least virtually. A new interactive feature will provide an experience to online audiences during the live Oscar show never before available.

Beginning at 3:30 p.m. PT, Sunday, February 27, all Oscar.com visitors will experience Oscar’s red carpet through multiple camera positions capturing celebrity arrivals, glamorous fashions, and press activity. During the telecast, users can visit the show’s control truck, check out the backstage “Thank You Cam” at which winners continue their acceptance remarks, and watch and listen as the winners take questions from the world’s press in the interview room (maybe you will see me!).

For a “premium” Oscar Night experience, users may register ($4.99) for additional, exclusive viewing opportunities. Multiple “360 cams,” technology that users control with the click/drag functionality of the computer mouse, will be positioned throughout the red carpet, the Kodak Theatre and the Governors Ball, the Academy’s celebration immediately following Academy Awards. On the red carpet, users will be able to watch Oscar nominees and presenters at the pre-ceremony champagne reception. Inside the Kodak Theatre, viewers will see the presenters’ hair and makeup area, watch the guests interact during commercial breaks and see the Academy’s official winner portrait area. The access continues at the Governors Ball, where users will be able see Oscar winners arriving at the party and having their statuettes being affixed with nameplates. Over the course of the evening “All Access” users will have the ability to choose from more than 24 strategically placed cameras throughout the venue. The premium snipet I watched had clear, sharp images.

In addition, an Oscar Alert newsletter is delivered to your email box. For 99 cents, you can order a Backstage Pass app for iPad and iPhone.

My personal favorite for voting and seeing which nominee is the public’s choice for the Oscar is the New York Times “Oscar Favorites: Who’s Ahead.” The interactive site has clever graphics and includes nice photographs. For instance, as of Feb. 18, the public pick via NYT for Best Picture is: The Kings Speech at 45%, second-runner up The Social Network with 18%. 127 Hours comes in last with 1%. Best Actress in a Leading Role has Natalie Portman first with 64% of the vote and Annette Bening with 17%. Best Actor in a Leading Role has Colin Firth in the lead with 71% and Jeff Bridges second with 10%. The tallies change as votes come in.

Google has an interesting site called “Oscar Search Trends” where the latest public trends are displayed for which Oscar nominees are being searched for the most. Pick a category and the Google site reveals the latest “interest over time” with a line graft.

For example, Jesse Eisenberg (Lead Actor nominee, The Social Network) spiked great public interest over the other nominees on Jan. 30, but now his line is flat, with Colin Firth in the lead for most public searches. Want to see worldwide trending on the nominees? Regional and Global interest is available, too. Javier Bardem (Lead Actor nominee, Buitiful) has 100% trending in Spain, with 34% in the U.S. The Google “Oscar Search Trends” includes a side bar of related topics to read. You can also embed the Trends on your site.

The Academy has a Twitter profile with 17,700 followers, a Facebook page with 142,500 “likes,” and its own YouTube channel with almost 50,000 subscribers.

Speaking of all things Twitter, the Oscar nominee’s mothers have joined the excitment with “Mominees,” tweets by moms of nominees like James Franco, Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) or David O. Russell (The Fighter). Even Franco’s grandmother has joined Mominees (“Took James 2 Japan. He was 16. His hair color blond didn’t match his passport. Twas in memory of Coltrain. He loved the trip” was Grandma Franco’s recent tweet).

The Social Network seems to have nudged the Academy Awards to new social heights.