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Oscar mania spreads on the Web

Anyone can watch television, but true movie aficionados will be turning to the Web for their Oscar fix Sunday night.

Anyone can watch television, but true movie aficionados will be turning to the Web for their Oscar fix Sunday night.

The Net can be equally valuable on the other end of the scale for those impatient types who want to know only the top winners, unwilling to sit through the endless string of TV commercials and awards for such distinctions as "best lighting."

More than ever before, the Web is brimming with film trivia games, Oscar prediction contests, live chat, video on demand, real-time winner updates, and just about anything else one can think of for this year's Academy Awards. The awards board itself took advantage of the Web's immediacy earlier this month when it released the nominations and other Oscar news over its Web site in advance of traditional news outlets.

ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last month launched the official Academy Awards Web site at Oscar.com.

Yesterday the site was given a boost from Infoseek's Go Network, which will promote Oscar.com and feature it throughout its Go Entertainment site, making it accessible to the network's 22 million users.

Oscar.com offers video on demand, Academy Award trivia, a fashion photo gallery, a complete listing of nominees, and a winner prediction contest.

The winner prediction contest, dubbed "And the Envelope, Please," will be synchronized with the telecast so that it can be played while Netizens watch the Oscars, allowing them to compete against one another as the scores are tabulated online.

On Oscar night, Oscar.com will provide live streaming video of the red-carpet arrivals, preshow reports, and updates to the list of winners as they are announced. Immediately following the telecast, Oscar.com will stream video of backstage interviews and will post transcripts and exclusive photos from the evening.

Also featured across the Go Network, Mr. Showbiz, a Go Network partner, will offer updated Oscar news, interviews with the nominees that include text and sound files, and a photo gallery.

Senior editor Eleonore Snow has winner predictions on the site. Snow picks Steven Spielberg's World War II drama Saving Private Ryan as the hands-down favorite to win.

Hollywood Stock Exchange has teamed with Excite to produce the Acadamy Awards after party online. The post-Academy Awards bash will be held at the House of Blues, from which Hollywood Stock Exchange and Excite will offer streaming video of the party, including celebrity interviews. Users will be able to chat with party attendees.

America Online also has stirred up its Oscars coverage, launching the Hollywood's Big Night site for its members. The section will feature content from AOL Live, AOL's Entertainment Asylum, Entertainment Weekly, E! Online, People Magazine Online, Salon Selectives, and Teen People Online. The 71st Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast live this Sunday on ABC at 5:30 p.m. PST.

Following is a list of some of the sites that will be weighing in on the Oscars:

• Oscar.com is the official site of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

• Mr. Showbiz is a Go Network affiliate that provides news and will be updating transcripts and audio for the Oscars.

• Film.com provides news and features a full listing of the nominees.

• Broadcast.com will provide live Oscars coverage and events listings.

• Internet Movie Database offers a vast database for searching film topics, lists the current nominees, and allows users to vote on winners. The site enables users to search for actors, actresses, or movie titles and returns a complete listing.

• Time Warner's Pathfinder, with its Entertainment Weekly site, offers its picks for the 24 categories.

• Hollywood Stock Exchange is coproducing coverage of an after party with Excite and will provide news and a listing of the nominees.