Arianna Huffington's Party Gives 'The King's Speech' an Oscar Shove
Sure, Queen Elizabeth just endorsed The King's Speech, but web queen Arianna Huffington's starry L.A. party this week shows how you really get Oscar mojo in the social-network era.
Unlike The King's Speech writer David Seidler (pictured with Arianna, and featured in this week's special THR screenwriters issue), Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Hooper, Oliver Stone, Francis Fisher, Maria Bello, Tracey Ullman and Jane Lynch, you probably weren't invited to Arianna Huffington's party for the film. But the Huffington Post editor invites you to join her 535,030 Twitter followers and check out the party pictures and exuberant tweets she posted Thursday. "Toast to colin firth: Maybe if king george lived today he would have addressed his people on twitter where no one could hear his stutter," notes the shift-key-averse internet social magnet and magnate. Who knows how many people retweeted the news, helping keep the film's buzz aloft just as Oscar ballots land in 5,755 voters' mailboxes? If one in 100 Arianna tweetees is a voter who follows her lead, the King is only 405 votes short of unanimous victory.
So who needs the Queen?
The Screen Actors Guild also struck gold with social media. The Jan. 30 SAG Awards broadcast ratings were up 6 percent from last year -- and up 30 percent in the 18-34 demo. "I can't attribute it all to social media," says SAG Awards publicity executive Rosalind Jarrett. "But in the summer, we had approximately 2025 Twitter followers. The morning of the show we had 6,000, 24 hours later 9,000. We trended No. 1 on Twitter, and our Facebook 'likers,' I guess you'd call them, went from about 25,000 to 32,000." TNT's Rizzoli & Isles star Angie Harmon became SAG's social media host Dec. 16; her followers shot from zero to 34,183.
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Scott, whose THR coverage appears both in print and online, is one of the film industry's most experienced and trusted awards analysts, and possesses one of the strongest track records at forecasting the Oscars. His best showings came in 2006 and 2013, when he called 21 of 24 winners; he was also the only pundit to project long-shot best picture nominations for The Reader (2008), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011). An alumnus of Brandeis University, he previously ran "The Feinberg Files" blog for the Los Angeles Times. He is now a voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, and is writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 350 high-profile Hollywood figures.
Gregg contributes awards news, features online, and "The Race" column in print.
Tim contributes awards news and features, both in print and online.