Fandango is elbowing into the Oscar horse race.
The movie-ticket seller launched its first original digital video series Wednesday, “The Frontrunners,” which will cover the major contenders for the top awards. The show will feature conversations with a star-studded group of Oscar hunters that includes Richard Gere ("Arbitrage"), Amy Adams ("The Master"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Miserables") and Ben Affleck ("Argo").
During the broadcasts, actors and directors will deconstruct key scenes from their movies, explaining how they crafted a moment of domestic conflict, in the case of Gere, or decided to intercut between a Hollywood script reading and the Iranian Hostage Crisis, as with Affleck.
However, commerce will be mixed in along with the art. Fandango will offer ticketing information along with the digital videos, with the hopes that the clips will inspire users to check out the movie being discussed.
The show, shot at Soho House in Los Angeles, will be hosted by Fandango’s Chief Correspondent Dave Karger, the movie guru the company lured over from Entertainment Weekly in September. It's part of a bold bet that Fandango is making on original content.
To that in end, the company tapped former Disney digital executive Paul Yanover to serve in the newly created role of president and tasked him with creating a suite of programming for Fandango and its 41 million unique visitors.
"Our goal with Fandango is to make it the definitive movie-going brand across all platforms," Nick Lehman, the president of digital for NBC Universal Entertainment Networks & Interactive Media, told TheWrap in October. "We want to continue expanding in ways that entertain and inform and video is key to that strategy. Advertisers are clamoring for it because there is a dearth of high quality original video content on the web."
As TheWrap reported exclusively in October, Karger is also planning programs that will center on box office contenders and one program that will boast both A-List actors and below-the-line talent.
New episodes of “The Frontrunners” will air weekly through the Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2013. The first three installments will be available Wednesday.