Television

HBO gets into Oscar mood with specials, contest

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MUMBAI: They may not have the rights to the live telecast of the most important event in cinema The 75th Annual Academy Awards but that is not stopping HBO from gaining leverage by innovating around the event.

The channel has announced what it claims is the most extensive television tribute to the Academy Awards by presenting an Oscar feast of Oscar winners spanning over five decades of cinematic excellence. Viewers can catch blockbusters like Lawrence Of Arabia, Ben-Hur, The Exorcist, Gladiator every Saturday after the 9:30 pm movie and after the 9 pm movie on Sunday.

An official release informs that ever since its launch, HBO has been credited with the tradition of making March an Oscar month showcasing the best of the Oscars through the month. This year the theme is 'quality vs. quantity'. The eight films being showcased have earned a combined total of 39 Oscar awards including four for Best Picture and another four for Best Director. 'So why settle for the nominated "could have beens" when you can get the real deal on the one & only true Hollywood channel HBO' is the pitch that has been made.

In order to create viewer interactivity the channel has gone a step further through its HBO Oscar Pick the Winners contest. The contest is about nominating a winner each from the four main categories: picture, director, actor and actress. Winners will get bumper prizes for getting all correct answers. Also even the ones who get at least one right answer will not be disappointed.

The contest is hosted on hboasia.com and is actively promoted on the channel as well. Film buffs can also catch HBOs 75th Academy Awards highlights, which showcase the respective nominees in each category. The promos will also include movie clips and interviews of various stars and footage on the potential Academy Award winners. Right now the musical Chicago is the film to beat with 13 nominations. Martin Scorcese could at long last wear the best director cap for Gangs of New York. . Star Movies will air the event live once again on 24 March and it will be interesting to note if the ratings fall drastically from last year due to the absence of Devdas.

The telecast schedule on HBO is as follows:
Date Film Time Number Of Oscars
1 March Batman 11:30 pm 1
2 march Ben Hur 11 pm 11
8 March Lawrence of Arabia 11:45 pm 7
9 March The Nutty Professor 11:15 pm 1
15 March The Bridge on the River Kwai 12:30 pm 7
16 March The Exorcist 11:15 pm 2
22 March Saving Private Ryan 11:30 pm 5
23 March Gladiator 11 pm 5

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