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Real-time raters like Berry best

March 25, 2002--Hollywood Reporter

Beyond earning a best actress Oscar, Halle Berry took bestacceptance speech and best dress honors, while Ben Stiller and OwenWilson got the nod for best presenters.

Through the miracle of interactive television -- specifically technologyfrom a company called PeopleSpace -- those who put together Oscar'sbig show can learn exactly which moments, planned or otherwise,impressed viewers and which moments did not.

Topping the list of favorites was Berry's speech, followed, in order, bythe Cirque du Soleil segment, the Sidney Poitier tribute, DenzelWashington's acceptance speech for best actor and WhoopiGoldberg's opening sequence.

PeopleSpace used what it calls its Real-Time Rating Tool, whichallowed, in this case, about 10,000 viewers to rate just about everymoment of the show on a 1-5 scale.

Celebrities chatting it up with Joan Rivers and others on the red carpetmight like to know that, in general, the more celebrities speak, the lessaudiences like them.

Berry and Will Smith scored high on the carpet, and Smith was thebest-dressed male.

"People liked watching Will because he's a real guy, and the tech geeksloved Halle," PeopleSpace president Jack Smith said after analyzingthe comments and other data from the experiment.

Low points of the show came from some winners, in particular JenniferConnelly's acceptance speech for best supporting actress, andpresenters, most notably Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw's presentationof the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Arthur Hiller.

Even the commercials w ere rated, with Yahoo!'s talking dolphin andthe Barry Bonds/Hank Aaron spots -- neither of which is new -- scoringhighest.

Goldberg's turn as master of ceremonies started strong but fizzledsomewhat and was given an average rank overall, Jack Smith said.

Randy Newman (best song) and Ron Howard (best director) were theNos. 2 and 3 acceptance speeches, respectively.

Of those interstitials where celebrities spoke of their favorite movies,Roberto Benigni scored highest with his thoughts on "Ben Hur."

The best-song segment scored high, as did Woody Allen and thetribute to New York, though, interestingly, Allen's comments wereappreciated more than Nora Ephron's film compilation of movies set inNew York.