The Oscars: The Party's Moved Online

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This year, the Oscars ceremony will remain decidedly low tech: There won’t be any live online streams where you can watch the 81st Academy Awards.

Because it’s easier to monetize eyeballs directed at television screens rather than computer monitors, your choices are limited to broadcasters ABC in the U.S. and Sky in the U.K.–and a big, fat nada for those who receive neither.

But seriously, who watches the three-hour-plus televised Oscars anymore anyway? Not many, apparently: Last year’s ratings were the lowest in history. This year, besides seeing if a probably singing-and-dancing Wolverine Hugh Jackman can entertain where so many before have failed, learning if your Best Picture prediction hit the mark, or even hoping to catch Christian Bale “Bale out” (a term meaning to unleash an F-bomb-laden tirade–it’s even defined in the urban dictionary now) some poor unsuspecting red carpet usher, there’s not a lot of buzz around the event.

No, like any other big entertainment or sporting event, the awards ceremony itself is but a small part of the experience. The real fun goes on around the Oscars, in Web site predictors, mobile apps and other interactive technology.

Tracking the Winners

Sites like Awards Daily put up Oscar predictions, including a table gathering the guesses of a group of its writers and readers (caution: It might cause glazing-over of the eyes).

But Awards Daily also has tracked the other awards the Oscar nominees have won in the past year, including the Golden Globes and BAFTA. This will provide some helpful research for when you go to fill in your Oscar ballot at the New York Times, where you can compete with others and have your card scored in real time. And Yahoo, conducting a poll, shows the movies favored to grab the little golden man by percentage of user votes.

dacolbert

Meanwhile, “Colbert Report” host Stephen Colbert gave his own predictions earlier last week using what he calls DaColbert Code (as in the DaVinci Code). His ability to “see patterns” consists of using a word/name association game. For instance, starting from last year’s Best Actress Marion Cotillard, he arrives at a Kate Winslet prediction through a series of phrases, including “rice pilaf,” “Clockwork Orange” and “Malcolm X.” Hey, everybody’s got a system, so nobody said it had to be a good one.

And for the truly devoted, or those who are just more interested in the fashion than the films, People.com has put up a Predict-a-Gown photo quiz. Will Cameron Diaz wear the White Valentino or the Black Oscar de la Renta? You see, these are the critical questions we need to be asking, and only the good folks at People were brave enough to ask them.

Mobile and Web 2.0

iPhone’s App Store has some popular Oscar apps like the “Awards: Oscars Edition” and “Hollywood Trivia: The Oscar Quiz,” which provide all sorts of fun interactive functionality in ballots, games and history. See a list of the top apps at VentureBeat.

Meanwhile, if you want to tap into the Bollywood fanbase, especially inspired by the many nominations for “Slumdog Millionaire” this year, go to Saavn.com, which is hosting a Bollywood-Facebook widget. The widget tracks the Facebook status updates of users talking about the Oscars.

And of course, what Web 2.0 party would be complete without Twitter? Use either #Oscars or #aa09 when searching for relevant updates. You can also subscribe to @watchwithcomics, a group of comedians who will be live-Twittering the event. One recent update there was “10 People Who Would Be Better Hosts than Hugh Jackman,” which included “Wolverine” and “Mini-Chris Brown and Mini-Rihanna.” Wow, these guys aren’t joking around.


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