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Oscar ratings slip 7% as critics scorn hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco

Many critics dissed the hosting combo of James Franco and Anne Hathaway, but considering that the ceremony lacked a huge crowd-pleasing nominee such as last year's "Avatar," Sunday's 83rd Academy Awards telecast on ABC held up pretty well in the ratings.

The three-hour-plus show scored a 24.6 household rating in the top 56 TV markets, according to early results from the Nielsen Co. That was down 7% compared with last year's broadcast.

Red-carpet But the ceremony, which awarded the best picture prize to "The King's Speech," slipped just 2% among viewers ages 18 to 49. That may have been thanks to Hathaway and Franco, the youngest cohosts in Oscar history and an effort by the academy, as Hathaway alluded to in an early joke, to be "appealing" to a youthful demographic.

But the critics were mostly less than kind. The Hollywood Reporter said the awards show "could go down as one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history." Los Angeles Times critic Mary McNamara said the pair "played it safe" but nevertheless delivered what was expected of them.

More detailed ratings, including a total-viewer count, will be released later Monday.

What did you think of the show?

-- Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)


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The British are coming? Decoding the 'King's Speech' win

Big Picture: The triumph of Hollywood conservative values

Photo: James Franco and Anne Hathaway during Sunday's Oscar telecast. Credit: Michael Yada / European Pressphoto Agency


Comments () | Archives (119)

Franco and Hathaway were terrible. The Acadamy should spend big bucks and get someone like Jack Nicholson to host.

The problem with the Academy Awards is this--
Put a bunch of creative, communicative, artistic people in a room and then tell them all not to actually say anything of any importance beyond thanking God, or their wife, or their manager. Everyone looked hokey, like a cardboard cut out of a person and so controlled so as to not be criticized for actually saying anything. I am not sure if it is the publicists, the media, the machine, or just PC politics that ruined the Oscars, but perhaps they should just cancel the whole thing. Or timewarp back to the 70s when people actually had opinions and personalities.

more at semioticiantothestars.blogspot.com

The Academy needs to move up it's date to mid January, BEFORE the SAGS, BEFORE the BAFTAS, and BEFORE the empty, pointless Golden Globes. After all, what a shocker it would have been if "The King's Speech" would have won when we hadn't known how all the Guilds had voted and Critic's Group favorite "The Social Network" was the presumed winner.
As is, everyone knows who will win and the show is a boring clunker. It feels more like a punishment than an enjoyment.

Can't they choose a female host who is a positive roll model for women, Anne Hathaway nearly married a dirty rotten scoundrel, who swindled millions, I guess at least we didn't have a porn star like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, although I didn't watch the oscars it would be nice to see more positive roll models for women.

I thought Hathaway was splendid, not to mention looking great in the twenty or so dresses she wore; Franco was nervous and uptight, probably from his lack of rehearsal time, and with a touch of ennui knowing he wasn't going to win.

(Screw the PhD and get with the, uh, program, James.)

The into clip was hilarious and original.

But the start of the show was soooooo slooooowwwww.
Until Melissa Leo came out, half-drunk and totally out of control.

And why was Billy Christal there?
I was afraid Letterman might come out.

All things considered, a fun show with a satisfying ending.

It could have been worse: there could have been dance numbers, Paltrow could have sung longer, and there could have been even more film clips of Portman scrunching up her face.

Appealing to a younger demographic means omitting a tribute to Bob Hope--how many people under 40 even know who that is? How many people under 25 know who Francis Ford Coppola is? Hathaway would have been just fine in one dress for the entire evening--or was this supposed to be "Project Runway" with better models?

Does "appealing to a younger audience" automatically necessitate a dumbing down? I remember watching 'older' hosts when I was younger, and while I may not have got a lot of the humor and nuance, I did manage to learn more adult humor and vocabulary. Is it so horrible for Hollywood to showcase an older person with wrinkles on TV?
Franco was an absolute stiff. Makes me wonder how bad the other potential hosts were. He just stood there . . . . deer-in-the-headlights. Hathaway was great, though!

We never watch the Oscars anymore ... haven't for severala years . . . just too irrelevant and boring. However, I accidentally viewed the opening lines uttered by Franco and Hathaway and was absolutely amazed by how awful these two were! Immediately turned the dial to a rerun on the National Geo channel. Whoever is producing the Oscar broadcast should be fired for utter incompetence.

film is the dominant art form of our time....and the Oscars are a celebration of the work done in that field....to ask that this celebration also be an entertaining television show has always been a stretch....every year, this overblown spectacle lumbers through three or four hours of awkward and oftentimes heartfelt ritual.....if this doesn't adequately entertain you, then go and make faces at yourself in the mirror...

horrible, pandering, undignified

2012 host: Charlie Sheen. Count me in.

Loved the Graumen's Chinese Theatre set.

I thought James Franco was wooden. Hated the broadcast

Franco seemed uninvolved but wasn't as annoying as the overeager, giggling Hathaway. 2012? Russell Brand!

Franco and Hathaway did a wonderful job. They are both beautiful and funny. And we all found out Anne can really sing! Being the host is like walking a tightrope. You can't please everyone. Especially jaded, rich and entitled people.
But for common folk like me: Franco & Hathaway were a breath of fresh air.
If you don't like the awards turn them off.

As a long-time fan of the Oscars, I have to admit that last night's telecast never reached hip and went straight to boredom. Anne Hathaway tried hard, too hard in fact, which only made it more apparent that James Franco's tux (and at one point dress) showed up, but he was MIA. Wise up ABC (especially since we have to endure your hold on the show until 2020). Know why comedians usually host the Oscars? Because they're funny and know how to manage a live show. Comedians know how to pick up the pace or steer the lumbering ship in a different direction if needed. All Franco and Hathaway had to guide them was a droll, humorless, emotionless script. One more tip -- if you want to make the Oscars hip and fresh, look up the meaning for hip and fresh before you begin. Clips of old (really old) movies and stars is not hip. And disjointed bits and montages is never fresh. It's confusing. With nine more years to go, you have time to get it right. And today's a good day to start.

I thought it was great! I think the two of them did a great job and brought lots of laughs for what is normally pretty boring. I watched it at Bubsy's in Santa Monica with a meetup group that probably brought in at least 100 people. TV's and great food everywhere. Ages 22-62 all joined in laughter.

Probably the most idiotic critique I have ever read. "Roll models"?

Very lame host combo. No chemistry between Hathaway and Franco. Franco stood around with a frozen semi-grin while Hathaway tried to hold the whole thing up herself by slowly reading the teleprompter. The Academy is totally out of touch with the majority of the movie-going, ticket-buying public. "The King's Speech"? Some lesbian ballerina movie? Inception and Toy Story 3 were the only real movies in the bunch!

I didn't even know the stupid thing was on. Aw gee.... I missed a chance to see the Hollywood crowd stand around and pat themselves on the back. Let's see...what was I doing? Oh yes....watching a rerun on Discovery Channel.

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