There was lots of controversy, but it looks like it paid off. The ratings are in and the Oscars reached 40.3 million total viewers, the highest number since 2010. The broadcast also saw an increase in the number of people in the all-important 18-to-49 age bracket who tuned in, and a 20 percent increase in viewers ages 18 to 34.
TheWrap gives credit to the host, Seth MacFarlane, who took a lot of flack for the length of the opening number and jokes that were seen by many as chauvinistic. Even an Academy member told The New York Times that he “winced” at some of the jokes. (Jewish viewers and family organizations weren’t too happy with some of the jokes either.) MacFarlane says he has no intentions of a repeat performance.
It also helped that many of the films that were nominated are doing well at the box office, with six of nine earning more than $100 million. The Los Angeles Times breaks down the top films: Lincoln ($176.8 million); Django Unchained ($158.8 million); Les Miserables ($146.7 million) and Best Picture winner Argo ($129.8 million). And the money keeps rolling in. While the comedy Identity Thief might be on top of the box office this week, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook showed staying power. New York magazine’s The Cut says the Best Picture nominees are on the path to $1 billion.