On Twitter, a peanut gallery will mock Oscars

2013-02-23T00:00:00Z On Twitter, a peanut gallery will mock OscarsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

You can simply tune in to the Oscars Sunday night on ABC. Or you can watch them with the peanut gallery on Twitter.

While Hollywood parades in tuxedos and gowns grandly celebrating itself, a freewheeling cacophony of quips and sarcasm will provide a welcome and riotous counternarrative to the pomp.

The second-screen experience is never better than on Oscar night, when a separate (and some might say superior) entertainment experience plays out on social media. The running commentary, in which comedians and others parody the glamorous stars and their sometimes laughable speeches, has become as central to the Academy Awards as the red carpet.

"Following the Oscars on Twitter is like watching the show with 100 million of your drunkest friends," says Andy Borowitz, the humorist and author who's often been a standout tweeter on Oscar night. Last year, he succinctly summarized the previous two best-picture winners, "The King's Speech" and "The Artist," as "an English dude who couldn't speak" and "a French dude no one could hear."

Comedians assemble as if by duty. "You gotta say something. Someone has to say something," says comedian Billy Eichner. "To just stand by and watch it happen is almost too tense. It's cathartic. You've got to just get it out on Twitter because if not, we're all going to be bottled up thinking about how awkward Anne Hathaway made it for 1 billion people in real time. I don't begrudge her the award; I'm just saying she's a ridiculous person."

In the awards circuit leading up to the Oscars, Eichner has zeroed in on Hathaway, the odds-on favorite to win best supporting actress for her performance in "Les Miserables."

In Hathaway, Eichner recognizes a great actress, but also a striving theater geek. Nothing is funnier, he says, "than the mix of ego and lack of self-awareness, like Jodie Foster's Golden Globes speech."

"Ultimately, it's just fun because the whole thing is so ridiculous," says Eichner.

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.

"It's really like you'll never watch TV alone ever again, if you don't want to," says Mark Ghuneim, chief executive of social media measurement firm Trendrr.

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-baring 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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Event Calendar

Today's events | Add an event

Most viewed: