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Oscars ratings highest in five years

March 8, 2010 |  3:11 pm


The doubling of the best picture nominees revived viewer interest in the Academy Awards, which enjoyed a 14% increase in the overnight Nielsen numbers compared to last year's Oscars. About 41.3 million Americans saw "The Hurt Locker" take home the top prize, an increase of 5 million viewers over 2009 when "Slumdog Millionaire" won and the Oscars hosted by Hugh Jackman earned a rating of 21.68.

This was the one piece of good news Monday for first-time Oscars producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman, who saw their show beset by bad reviews. They benefited from the upward trend in ratings for all awards shows. And the avid interest in "Avatar" no doubt drew new viewers to the Oscars.

Although James Cameron's 3-D epic won only three technical Oscars, it  just topped $700 million at the domestic box office. The film it displaced from the No. 1 spot in box office history -- "Titanic" -- swept the Oscars in 1997, winning a record-tying 11 Oscars.That was the highest-rated Academy Awardstelecast of the last 15 years with viewership topping 57 million, earning a rating of 35.32.

The last time Steve Martin hosted was in 2003 for the 75th Oscars. Despite the hoopla surrounding the diamond anniversary, the show registered a then-record low rating of 20.58. That meant just 33 million tuned in to see "Chicago" win best picture. That record was broken in 2008 as a rating of 18.66 translated into just under 32 million watching "No Country for Old Men" win the best picture award at the end of the Jon Stewart-hosted broadcast.

The first Oscars telecast was of the 25th anniversary show on March 19, 1953. It aired on NBC and was hosted -- no surprise -- by Bob Hope. The big surprise that night was when "The Greatest Show on Earth" won best picture,  besting "High Noon."

Ratings for the Oscars were socko for decades. The highest-rated of the last 30 years was for 1982 ("Gandhi" won best picture but "E.T." was a nominee), which came in at 38.0 with a 59 share while the broadcast for 1977 ("Annie Hall" won best picture but "Star Wars" was a nominee) rated 36.3 but drew a 68 share.


Complete List of Oscar winners

Oscar winners were predicted by guild awards

'The Hurt Locker' wins six Oscars, including history maker for director Kathryn Bigelow

This Oscars show was not a winner

Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

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The comments to this entry are closed.


Some Movie critics have suggested that even though they thought The Hurt Locker deserved to win at the Oscars…it was made in 2008 and should have been up against last year’s movies and Avatar should have won this year… You know we all loved Avatar, I mean Neytiri sure as hell’s sexier than the last Alien James Cameron made up! But you know if you take away all those crazy effects, it’s down to the story …and The Hurt Locker was a seriously cool story…and the Actors said they almost felt as if they were really going through the events…I read about their thoughts here…

So, that means that 14% more people tuned in thinking that they were going to see a good show and instead saw a crappy one. Memo to Academy: When people start watching a live program, they are ANTICIPATING a good show. It's not necessarily because it IS a good show. It's not like millions of people all over the country got on the phone during the show and told their friends, "You've GOT to turn the Oscars on! Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are a riot!" People tuned in because 1) They might have cared whether Avatar won anything (although I'm doubtful about whether young people are going to sit through 3+ hours for that), 2) They heard the previous year's show was good (by some accounts) and regret missing it and/or 3) This year's show and hosts were promoted as being a better than they actually turned out to be.

Just because more people watched doesn't make it a good show.

They blew it. What happened to the montage of previous Oscar-winning movies, the totally messed-up memorial (no dignity and way too short), and the Lifetime Achievement Award winner having to wave to the crowd from the crowd? Lauren Bacall? Are you serious? You make Lauren Bacall stand up in an audience?! Why didn't she get to go up on stage and speak?

You bunch of idiots, I hope you never produce anything ever again. Go back to being bagboys or something.
The camera work was astoundingly bad...oh, my!

Make the history of film one of your priorities and stop with all the irrelevant fluff, including the ridiculously inappropriate interpretive dancing (so, who is sleeping with or has a crush on the dance master?), and the inexperienced teenage presenters who can't even read a teleprompter.
Where are all the great actors? Why did this look like the MTV awards?

The worst Oscars ever. God, I am so sorry Ms. Lauren Bacall. You are so fantastic and wonderful!

Ratings went up...that's nice...but it does not mean the producers put on a good or great show...I hope the Academy hires somebody else next year...PLEASE!

how to win an oscar...
The Three Things It Takes to Win Best Original Song at the Oscars



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