A man makes preparations along the red carpet on Hollywood Boulevard, ahead of the 85th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, California.

New York - You can simply tune into the Oscars. Or you can watch them with the peanut gallery on Twitter.

While Hollywood parades in tuxedos and gowns, grandly celebrating itself on Sunday night, a freewheeling cacophony of quips and sarcasm will provide a welcome and riotous counter-narrative to the pomp.

The running commentary, in which comedians and others parody the glamorous stars and their sometimes laughable speeches, has become as central to the Academy Awards as the red carpet.

“Following the Oscars on Twitter is like watching the show with one hundred million of your drunkest friends,” says Andy Borowitz, the humorist and author who’s often been a standout tweeter on Oscar night.

Last year, he succinctly summarised the previous two best-picture winners, The King’s Speech and The Artist, as “an English dude who couldn’t speak” and “a French dude no one could hear”.

Live tweeting major TV events has become a virtual water cooler. But the Academy Awards stream is particularly captivating because it provides an antidote to the on-screen, buttoned-down glamour.

Comedians assemble as if by duty.

“You gotta say something,” says comedian Billy Eichner.

“To just stand by and watch it happen is almost too tense. You’ve got to just get it out on Twitter because if not, we’re all going to be bottled up thinking about how awkward Anne Hathaway made it for one billion people in real time. I don’t begrudge her the award; I’m just saying she’s a ridiculous person.

“Ultimately, it’s just fun because the whole thing is so ridiculous,” says Eichner. “It’s like, why not comment on it? What is it even there for other than to be commented on?”

The Oscars has become one of the biggest social media events of the year. Last year’s telecast at one point set a then-record for 18 718 tweets-per-second.

Last year, The Artist may have won best picture, but Martin Scorsese’s Hugo easily bested it with 110 179 tweets to 78 509 for The Artist, according to Twitter metrics analyst TweetReach. – Sapa-AP