Fickle social media can boost, or trip up, Oscar hopefuls in an instant

November 13, 2014 6:50 PM

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The lights hadn't even come up yet after Tuesday night's AFI Fest premiere of "Selma" when the tweets started rolling out from the Egyptian Theater, virtually all of them praising Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King biopic and the performance of its star, David Oyelowo, in sound bites that would be the stuff of any publicist's dreams: "A triumph." "Powerhouse." "One of the greatest performances you'll ever see." "Oscar contender across the board. Typing thru tears."

In a matter of minutes, a handful of tweets from a single screening of a movie that won't hit theaters until Christmas had transformed this year's Academy Awards race, providing the latest illustration of the way in which one of Hollywood's oldest and most important rituals - the annual Oscar campai...

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