Ellen DeGeneres Garners Best Oscar Ratings in a Decade
According to early ratings, viewership of this year’s Academy Awards was at a 10-year high. Thanks to host Ellen DeGeneres’s social media–friendly antics – such as taking a number of selfies with celebrities, including one especially star-studded one that has so far gotten over 2.8 million retweets – the show attracted 43 million people to tune in, according to Vulture. The last time the Oscars cracked 43 million viewers was in 2004, when Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won Best Picture and its host was Billy Crystal.
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Last year’s Oscars, which Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane hosted and turned into a variety hour with a song regrettably called “We Saw Your Boobs,” was watched by 40.3 million people. DeGeneres’ sexism-free hosting garnered a six percent increase in viewers over MacFarlane’s. Although DeGeneres’ show drew a slightly lower rating among people under 50 – 12.9, compared to the Family Guy guy’s 13.0 – the show registered better with viewers under 35, earning an 11.4 rating over 2013’s 11.3.
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Despite the higher numbers overall, the show did not dominate viewers the way it did in decades past. According to Vulture, the 2014 Oscars represented only 37 percent of what people watched Sunday night. In the Seventies, the Academy Awards was seen by more than 70 percent of homes with TVs. Even in the Nineties, the show would earn a percentage in the upper 40s.
The Oscars with the highest ratings recorded was in 1998, when Titanic won and Billy Crystal hosted. That year, it garnered 55.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen.