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Countdown to the Oscars

Academy steps up Internet game

Last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences waded into the Internet stream and put up a webcam to cover the Oscar nominations announcement. This year, the Acad is putting on a show — a pre- and post-show for Tuesday’s ayem noms unveiling hosted by Chris Harrison and Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger.

Without any fanfare, last year’s streaming offering drew about 200,000 users, which spurred the Acad to step up its game.

“We made the stream live about 20 minutes before the announcements were made so all you saw was an empty stage” last year, said Ric Robertson, exec administrator for AMPAS. “We soon began to notice that even with nothing there people were beginning a dialogue in the chat box below, which got us to thinking of what we could do for next year’s show.”

Harrison, host of ABC’s “The Bachelor” and TV Guide Network’s Oscar red carpet coverage, and Karger will log on at 5:30 a.m. PT to riff on 2010 movies and what trends may be reflected in the noms. After AMPAS boss Tom Sherak and Mo’Nique, last year’s supporting actress winner, announce the contenders in 10 categories (at 5:38:30 sharp!), Harrison and Karger will be back with a post-game analysis and what the Acad is promising will be “a revealing a new piece of information about the Oscar telecast.”

The Acad’s streaming coverage will be available via Oscars.org, Oscar.com and the Acad’s Facebook page, among other outlets.

In addition to Tuesday’s noms announcement, the Acad plans to again offer Web streaming coverage of the ultra-starry Oscar nominees luncheon Feb. 7.

And Harrison and Karger will be back on duty for Oscar.com with the 10-episode “Road to the Oscars” Web series parsing this season’s best pic nominees.

Clearly, the Acad has embraced Web streaming as a way of letting more movie buffs behind the velvet rope for the pinnacle of awards season.

“We’re always looking for appropriate ways to give that kind of backstage experience people wouldn’t normally get,” Robertson said.

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