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On Twitter, a peanut gallery mocks the Oscars

Jake Coyle (via SMH) | Feb. 21, 2013
You can simply tune into the Oscars. Or you can watch them with the peanut gallery on Twitter

The Oscars has become one of the biggest social media events of the year. Last year's telecast at one point set a then-record for 18,718 tweets-per-second. A statuette could be handed out for a new award: most tweeted tweet. In 2011, that honor went to The Onion, which lamented: "How rude _ not a single character from Toy Story 3 bothered to show up."

Last year, "The Artist" may have won best picture, but Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" easily bested it with 110,179 tweets to 78,509 for "The Artist," according to Twitter metrics analyst TweetReach.

This year, the academy has partnered with Twitter to track the top categories with an index measuring the percentage of positive tweets about the nominees. Leading as of Tuesday wasn't the favorite "Argo," nor was it Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," but rather David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook." So if the film, widely considered the dark horse in the best picture race, wins on Sunday, Twitter will have predicted it.

Mark Ghuneim, chief executive of social media measurement firm Trendrr, says that during the Oscars, Twitter is "'Mystery Science Theater 3000,' for real," referring to the cult TV show in which a man and two robot sidekicks wisecrack their way through B-movies.

"It's really like you'll never watch TV alone ever again, if you don't want to," says Ghuneim. "It's a natural evolution in television and that's why it's so prevalent."

With real-time data from services like Trendrr, the Oscar conversation can be tracked, revealing which moments resound and provoke audiences. Last year, Angelina Jolie's leg-barring pose as a presenter immediately put Twitter in hyper-drive, spawning parody accounts from the perspective of her right leg.

It's such moments where Twitter becomes Oscar's dance partner. Viewers celebrate with _ and chortle at _ Hollywood's self-seriousness, combining together for a TV experience greater than the sum of its parts.

When the 85th annual Academy Awards air Sunday on ABC, countless comedians and others at home will be ready on their mobile phones and laptops with tweets to skewer.

"I just pray we all survive Anne Hathaway's acceptance speech," says Eichner. "And, to be honest, I have my doubts."


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