Oscars telecast scores highest audience in a decade

Sunday's telecast draws 43 million viewers in the US, delivering the biggest audience for the awards in a decade

Eric Kelsey
First Published4 Mar 2014
Nielsen ratings data on Monday showed the audience that watched slavery drama 12 Years a Slave capture the best picture honour grew 6.4% from last year. Photo: AFP<br />
Nielsen ratings data on Monday showed the audience that watched slavery drama 12 Years a Slave capture the best picture honour grew 6.4% from last year. Photo: AFP

Los Angeles: Sunday’s Oscars telecast drew 43 million viewers in the US, delivering the biggest audience for the Academy Awards in a decade, but divided critics, who mostly liked host Ellen DeGeneres but thought the show ran too long.

Nielsen ratings data on Monday showed the audience that watched slavery drama 12 Years a Slave capture the best picture honour grew 6.4% from last year. That is a positive sign for broadcaster ABC, which has signed on to host Hollywood’s biggest night through 2020.

The Oscars attract the biggest non-sports TV audience in the US each year, and the show drew its largest viewership since 2004, when 43.6 million tuned in.

Producers’ middle-of-the-road approach to the show with DeGeneres hosting gave the Walt Disney co-owned network similar results among younger viewers compared with last year, when they gambled with edgier comedian Seth MacFarlane as host.

DeGeneres’ deadpan affability hearkened back to the more genteel hosts of the past such as Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. Brian Lowry, TV columnist for trade publication Variety, said her opening monologue “screamed of a desire to dial the show back to safer terrain.”

The 56-year-old comic and daytime talk show host earned high marks for her opening bits, landing jokes about actress Jennifer Lawrence falling on her way to accept an Oscar last year and teasing Oscar voters as “racists” if 12 Years a Slave did not win best picture.

The three-and-a-half hour telecast, in which 24 awards were handed out, had little in terms of special tributes or performances to impress critics with its production.

“Despite a terrifically loose Ellen DeGeneres, the first half of the Oscars was the type of slog that makes you wonder if your friends who don’t watch TV are onto something,” Entertainment Weekly’s Karen Valby wrote.

New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley added: “It can start to feel like a high school graduation where diplomas are handed out alphabetically, and your child’s last name begins with Z.”

Retweet record

Hollywood Reporter writer Tim Goodman thought DeGeneres was “unpredictably off her game.”

“As a television event, this year’s Oscars was more like an endurance test,” he wrote. “It was a turgid affair, badly directed, poorly produced and featuring an endless string of either tired or wince-inducing moments by DeGeneres, who, by the last 30 or so minutes, seemed to have given up entirely.”

But DeGeneres’ low-key affair paid off after several years of experiments by the show’s producers in an attempt to boost ratings and attract younger viewers.

In a quest to draw new viewers to an old-school awards show, organizers have expanded the best picture category from five to up to 10 to appeal to more people. They also have rotated through hosts rather than settling on the same host or hosts, as the Golden Globes has done successfully with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Ricky Gervais before them.

Early data from Nielsen showed that viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 age group declined by 1% last year, while viewers in the 18-34 audience grew by the same margin.

MacFarlane’s performance last year put off critics with his song-and-dance routines, as well as provocative bits about Jews, gays and female nudity in film.

This year’s show proved to be a smash on social media, with its most talked-about moment DeGeneres’ staged “selfie” with several stars in the audience. It set the record for most retweets on Twitter, so far surpassing 2 million, and also caused a disruption in Twitter service for about 20 minutes.

Twitter Inc. said that some 14.7 million Oscar-related tweets were sent worldwide during the telecast, while Nielsen’s social media data overall social media activity around the ceremony increased by 75% last year. Reuters

Catch all the Industry News, Banking News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.MoreLess
HomeindustryOscars telecast scores highest audience in a decade

Most Active Stocks

Bharat Electronics

300.95
10:29 AM | 13 JUN 2024
10.4 (3.58%)

Tata Steel

182.50
10:29 AM | 13 JUN 2024
0.25 (0.14%)

GAIL India

219.75
10:28 AM | 13 JUN 2024
2.8 (1.29%)

Zee Entertainment Enterprises

164.95
10:22 AM | 13 JUN 2024
-1.9 (-1.14%)
More Active Stocks

Market Snapshot

  • Top Gainers
  • Top Losers
  • 52 Week High

Usha Martin

414.40
10:23 AM | 13 JUN 2024
36.25 (9.59%)

Aegis Logis

839.60
10:26 AM | 13 JUN 2024
73.15 (9.54%)

Elgi Equipments

655.00
09:59 AM | 13 JUN 2024
51.25 (8.49%)

Praj Industries

685.85
10:20 AM | 13 JUN 2024
51.55 (8.13%)
More from Top Gainers

Recommended For You

    More Recommendations

    Gold Prices

    • 24K
    • 22K
    Bangalore
    73,441.00-219.00
    Chennai
    73,370.00139.00
    Delhi
    73,155.00353.00
    Kolkata
    72,797.00-577.00

    Fuel Price

    • Petrol
    • Diesel
    Bangalore
    99.84/L0.00
    Chennai
    100.75/L0.00
    Kolkata
    103.94/L0.00
    New Delhi
    94.72/L0.00
    OPEN IN APP
    HomeMarketsloanPremiumGet App