Academy Awards puts interactive theme to the testWritten by James A. Molnar | The Gold Knight | firstname.lastname@example.org
If there’s one thing the motion picture academy wants viewers to know, it’s “You’re Invited.”
With this year’s mantra, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is poised to make the 83rd Oscars the most interactive in its history.
“It’s a very core mission of the Academy to reach as many people who love movies and are interested in movies as possible,” said Ric Robertson, the Academy’s executive administrator, in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star.
In coordination with ABC and Oscar.com, the Academy is developing an iPad-based application, which will allow viewers to interact with the Academy Awards on Feb. 27, Robertson said. The iPad app will launch Feb. 22. Oscar.com also has similar functionality and allows viewers to go behind-the-scenes at the awards show.
Camera access for the evening includes the backstage “Thank You” camera. For $4.99, subscribers of the “All Access” pass can view eight red carpet cameras, which include 360-degree, controllable cameras, and another dozen in and around the Kodak Theatre, including the press room.
“As a viewer at home, you’re going to see much more of the action than anyone just attending the show,” Robertson said.
Other features on Oscar.com include the “Play Along” game, where visitors answer trivia questions and predict what will happen throughout the evening to gain the most points.
“It’s still all about the show but we want to create a more engaging experience for the fans,” said Janet Weiss, director of marketing for the Academy.
“We recognize that the viewing experience for TV in general has changed,” Weiss said. “We need to bring an experience to them whereever they are.”
A more interactive show is also a push to reach out to “the younger audience that loves films,” she said. “We need to remind younger audiences that aren’t watching a lot of television” about the Academy Awards, she said.
To that end, the Academy partnered with MTV’s college channel mtvU to find a red carpet correspondent. Now in its third year, the competition searches for an up-and-coming college journalist to interview nominees and stars on the red carpet on Oscar Sunday.
Ceremony producers took to the theme by inviting a children’s chorus, whose videos on YouTube have gone viral, to perform during the show. Fifth graders who make up the Public School 22 chorus in Staten Island, New York, will perform “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
One thing Weiss wants people to know about the Oscars: “They have to be watching live. This really is a social event.”
While the awards like Best Picture are not voted on by the public, the Academy is giving fans an opportunity to vote and influence the show.
With Designer Challenger (think “Project Runway: Oscars Edition”), 10 up-and-coming designers compete to have their dress and model featured during the ceremony. The winning designer will receive two tickets to attend the ceremony.
Voting for the winning design and model begins Feb. 16 on Oscar.com. Videos of the competition will also appear on the site.
Your chance to enter the: The Oscar Ballot Prediction Challenge
Toledo Free Press Star Lead Designer James A. Molnar blogs about all things Oscar at TheGoldKnight.com. His column will appear online and in print periodically.