ABC is hoping to drive viewers to its hostless telecast of the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday by dangling the promise of cold, hard cash to one lucky winner.
The broadcaster is launching “The Official Oscar Game,” a live game that will let viewers play along in real time during the awards presentation. The game’s interactive ballot will allow fans to earn points by predicting Oscar winners in each category and will also pose trivia questions — with all players who earn points entered into the $50,000 grand-prize drawing.
To play, users can sign up starting Saturday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. ET at oscar.com/game. Then they must watch live on Sunday, Feb. 24, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC in order to play (either on oscar.com or via the ABC app). Viewers will earn points for correct Oscars predictions and trivia questions presented during the show, as well as participation in real-time polls.
One winner will be randomly selected from among players who have at least one point, with each point representing an entry into the sweepstakes. According to ABC, the winner will be selected about three days after the Oscars. The top point-getters also will appear on The Oscar Game’s Top 100 Leaderboard.
It’s the first time ABC is launching play-along live trivia game for the Oscars, after movie fans have been printing out ballots and following along with the TV broadcast for years. The game is among the latest cash-based live digital games spawned by the popularity of HQ Trivia since it debuted a year and a half ago.
With the play-along Oscar game, ABC also is hoping to harvest a batch of users in the hopes they’ll make return engagements to its digital and TV content. To be eligible for the grand-prize drawing, users must have or set up an ABC online account (although you can also play without registering).
The 2019 Oscars telecast has generated more than its fair share of controversy. Kevin Hart backed out of hosting the kudocast, and producers ultimately opted to go with no host. Then last week, after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that four awards would be presented during commercial breaks resulted in a major backlash, the Academy reversed the decision just days later.
In addition to the game itself, ABC’s Official Oscar Game will feature behind-the-scenes content throughout the live telecast. The game is open to legal residents of U.S. and Washington, D.C., who are 18 or older.