Academy Awards nominees were just announced—but Oscar hyperbole is already in full swing. "Join us on Oscar.com, for the most interactive Oscar Night in history," promises a video on the website for the 83rd Academy Awards.
The conceit behind the revamped website, which invites users to log in through Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter, is the notion that you yourself are "invited" personally to the Oscars and granted "unprecedented access that even the winners don't have." One of the most interesting features Oscar.com is piloting is an interactive map where users can choose a camera from which to view the show. For the plain old view reserved for the uninitiated, click on the orchestra or box cams. But for a behind-the-scenes look, click on the "winners walk cam" or the "dressing room cam." The site essentially allows viewers to direct their own webcast of the awards. You can "even join the exclusive afterparty at the Governors Ball," intones an announcer.
Some of the content is free, but to get it all will set you back $4.99. According to a press release:
"Oscar.com will offer a special 'All Access' premium feature that makes Hollywood's biggest event even more accessible to movie lovers, allowing them to follow their favorite stars from the minute they set foot on the red carpet to the exclusive moments backstage and beyond. For $4.99, users will have access to additional live video footage of the evening’s events and will be able to direct their own experience on the red carpet and inside the ceremony using groundbreaking '360 cam' technology to control multiple cameras with the click/drag functionality of their computer mouse. 'All-Access' coverage continues immediately following the Academy Awards presentation with special admission into the Governors Ball."
The site also allows you to choose your own Oscar picks, and updates you on how you're faring (presumably handy for that office pool you've got going), and it is embedding a Twitter feed where the nominees' tweets will be hosted throughout the show. Finally, the site is implementing a miniature "Project Runway" on the site: in the weeks prior to Oscar Night, a "designer challenge" will bring together designers from across the country as they compete to design the dress that will be worn by this year's trophy escort. "And you get to choose it!" says the announcer.
Sounds like the Academy is taking a page from one of its Best Picture noms. It's turning Oscar.com into a social network.
[Update: It seems by the broken video embed above that the Oscars have some bugs to work out before their most interactive Oscar night in history.]