Picking this year’s best picture by its official website is easy: With its mix of traditional promotional material and browser-bending gewgaws, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would be our choice to earn a statuette. And while the Academy Award winners we’ll be reading about on the morning of March 26 will have been selected on somewhat different criteria, the Net can still be a valuable resource for enjoying the big night in a big way.
Just go to any of the popular search engines — Google, AltaVista, Northern Light, or some other — and type in ”Oscars” or, say, the title of your favorite nominated film. At the very least, you’ll meet with dozens, if not hundreds, of results, proving that this worldwide event has successfully migrated to the World Wide Web. You can watch the televised show on your TV screen, but there’s much to be learned by sitting in front of your computer screen.
Meanwhile, here at EWi, we’ve traded our mousepads for a swatch of red carpet and selected the top websites honoring this year’s nominees for best actor, actress, and picture. And just like the real show, our list is a mix of big-budget productions (official studio sites) and well-executed indie fare (fansites). Click successfully through all of these and you might just be eligible for a technical achievement award of your own.
Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls) The Best: The Spanish heartthrob only recently leapt to prominence in the United States. Bardem lacks any sort of Net presence beyond rote appearances on movie sites. Sorry, ladies (and if you’ve seen Before Night Falls, sorry, gentlemen). There is hope, however, for Spanish speakers: Cine ideal houses a Spanish-only Bardem page at http://www.ideal.es/cine/jbardem/Indice.html.
Russell Crowe (Gladiator) The Best: Maximus’ Undertunics! (fly.to/undertunics) Everybody has seen the Maximum Russell Crowe site. Fortunately, a site exists that offers a new, uh, perspective: Maximus’ Undertunics!, with brief glimpses at Crowe’s Gladiator drawers. Also: Russell Crowe, An Unofficial Site (the-crowes-perch.com) A design to crow about and a hopping message board.
Tom Hanks (Cast Away) The Best: ‘HANK’-Y Panky (angelfire.com/biz4/BEV) In addition to a great name, this site offers lots of Hanks information as well as some hokey images. Even more intriguing, ‘HANKY’-Panky houses a robust collection of fan fiction. Also: Bosom Buddies Home Page (http://www.ozemail.com.au/~peterv/bb/) The site offers a look at Hanks as he is rarely seen today: wearing women’s clothing.
Ed Harris (Pollock) The Best: The Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, and Kevin Seitzer Page (geocities.com/hollywood/hills/2393) There are other Harris sites out there offering more information and showier graphics, but this one presents its news in such a sweet and homey manner that design concerns are purely secondary. Also: The Definitive Ed Harris Page (wenet.net/~mhoopes/edharris.html) Coverage of Harris’ performances, through 1999, but missing the Pollock to-do. Some fan.