“And the Cumulus Goes to…”: How the Cloud is Shaping the Oscars

And the Cumulus Goes to…”: How the Cloud is Shaping the Oscars

It’s that time of year again: Oscar season. “Tower Heist” and “Green Goblin” are shipping out of cineplexes, making way for far more prestigious film titles. I’ve always avidly followed the race to the Academy Awards, film buff that I am. Cloud lovers who could care less about cinema should check out flagship blogs on it all, such as Awards Daily or Thompson on Hollywood. But more importantly, they should consider the ways in which the cloud is influencing the pursuit of the little gold man.

For one thing, the cloud can help launch the perfect publicity storm.

Breaking last week was news that the release of Meryl Streep’s new film, “The Iron Lady,” would be pushed back to December 30 — literally a day before the cutoff for Oscar qualification. Famed Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, producing the film, is known for his clever campaigning. He’s obviously not ignorant to the fact that Streep’s receiving a Kennedy Center Honor this year, on December 27.

Releasing the film days after this award squares attention on the legendary actress, building the required hype. Folks will blog about all this, create statuses on Twitter and Facebook inspired by it, instant message their friends on their thoughts. All of these means — blogs, social networks, real-time communication — count as part of the cloud. Oscar voters don’t vote in a vacuum, and they’re not impervious to the Web.

Upping Streep’s presence in the cloud could have a tangible effect on these voters, whose ballots are mailed out on (surprise, surprise) December 27. Weinstein’s as wily as a fox — with its head in the cloud.

Meryl Streep has more Oscar noms than anyone else. With Harvey and the cloud on her side, she might just win yet another gong. Cloud computing can definitely fete Oscar’s best. But it also culls its worst.

Director Brett Ratner, of “Rush Hour” fame, had been tipped to produce the 2012 Oscars. Yet he made a deplorable comment last week. When asked about his preparation plans for the upcoming ceremony, he responded by saying, “rehearsal is for fags.”

Had such a comment been made in the Eighties, Nineties, or even the early 2000s, he may have gotten away with the slur. But after Sean Penn’s Oscar win for playing gay activist Harvey Milk, homophobia no longer flies.

And the cloud’s penchant for speedily airing Internet-borne opinions means that word gets around — fast. Many an outraged member of the film community took to the Web, posting missives that called for Ratner to be sacked as producer.

Days later, Ratner was out. Eddy Murphy, who was to have hosted the Oscars, followed suit.

The cloud has forever changed how, and how fast, we interact online. Now, it’s keeping the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences accountable to the world.

Note to homophobes and other people-haters: don’t show your true colors on camera. By hook or by crook, what you expose will eat away at you, via the cloud.

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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