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Apps give Oscars viewers a 'second screen'

Doug Gross
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A digital peek behind the Oscar curtain
  • Multiple mobile apps, official and otherwise, will enhance this year's Oscars
  • The Academy Awards official paid app will give users behind-the-scenes camera shots
  • Apps come as entertainment embraces the "second screen" many viewers use
  • Academy Awards
  • Apps
  • Mobile

The countdown to Hollywood's biggest night is on. Join "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer and Brooke Anderson for live red carpet access at the Oscars on "Road to Gold," this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on CNN.

(CNN) -- Fewer and fewer of us are watching TV without a smartphone, tablet computer or laptop at the ready.

So why should Hollywood's biggest night of awards, glamour and snarky red-carpet fashion commentary be any different?

Sunday night's Academy Awards will be augmented with a host of mobile apps, both official and otherwise, to let viewers take more control of their viewing experience. Because let's face it -- for some folks, the Oscars aren't as much fun unless they can message friends with, "What was she thinking with that outfit?"

The entertainment industry is increasingly catering to the fact that while people are watching big events, or just their favorite shows, they're posting to Twitter, chatting on Facebook or using other apps to discuss them in real time.

Need proof? This year's Super Bowl was a record-breaker on Twitter. During the final moments of the game, users sent 4,064 tweets per second, the most ever for a sporting event.

In fact, users topped the old record six times during the course of the game, according to Twitter. (The overall record remains 6,939 tweets per second at midnight in Japan on New Year's Eve).

Since the Oscars are the Super Bowl for ... well ... lots of people who don't care about the Super Bowl, it will be interesting to see which events prompt more action on the micro-blogging site.

Here are some Oscar-related apps that may enhance your enjoyment of Sunday's show:

'Oscar Backstage Pass'

This official 99-cent app from the Academy lets Apple users (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch) get more than just what's on the TV screen.

Leading up to the ceremony, users can use the app to make their predictions, get news updates and watch clips from previous ceremonies.

On Oscar night, app users will be able to choose from about two dozen camera views showing scenes not on TV. From backstage to the red carpet, it's designed to give viewers options beyond what's on the main broadcast.

For dedicated stargazers, it'll also show scenes of the Governor's Ball party afterward.

There's also a free version of the app. It includes the pre-show features like predictions and archived material, but not the live shots.

'Live From the Red Carpet'

Comcast's app is available for Android and Apple devices.

Featuring the fashion-focused coverage from the E! entertainment network, the apps promise news, photos, video and interviews as Hollywood's elite parade around in high fashion and jewelry that isn't theirs.

The free app is also updated for events like the Golden Globes, Grammys and Screen Actors Guild awards.

'Awards Hero: Oscars Edition'

If you're that guy, or gal, who actually has an opinion on who should win Best Animated Short or Sound Editing, this one is for you.

This app, again for Apple's system (sorry, Android folks), helps you create an Oscars pool to compete with your friends. But the big draw for the 99-cent app might be the $10,000 contest that app creators AppEzzy are offering for people who use it to make their picks (and post those picks to Facebook).

Each prediction that a user enters counts as an entry into the drawing.

'Oscars Trivia Challenge'

For Android users, we'll offer up "The Oscars Trivia Challenge."

The app lets you watch videos and answer trivia questions about previous Academy Award winners and challenge your friends to compete with you.

The downside? This app will set you back $2.99 (and isn't offering anybody $10,000, as far as we know).


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