Praise for Kodak, low numbers for ABC
Almost everything was “Beautiful” at the 74th annual Academy Awards Sunday. The winning film survived the mudslinging, and Oscar’s new home is getting rave reviews. But the ratings are another matter.The longest Academy Awards show in history posted its lowest household ratings ever (25.4/42), according to preliminary Nielsen ratings. That’s down 3% from last year (26.2/40), the previous lowest. The show pulled its smallest rating among adults 18-49 (16.1, down 10% from last year’s 17.8) since people meters were introduced in 1987. As for total viewers — a number that has generally held steady through the years thanks to population increases — the event averaged an aud of 41.8 million. That’s its lowest number since 1997 (40.1 million), down 3% from last year (42.9 million). Still, the Academy Awards will clock in as the season’s fourth-highest rated telecast of the season (not counting Super Bowl postgame coverage). Only the Super Bowl (86.8 million), the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics (45.6 million) and the Games’ women’s figure-skating long program (43.3 million) snared more viewers. Final ratings will be released today by Nielsen. Meanwhile, the Kodak Theatre is getting thumbs-up from the attendees who spoke to Daily Variety. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences exec administrator Ric Robertson said on Monday, “We’re extremely pleased. We’re getting a lot of phone calls from members and board members. The response is overwhelmingly positive. I haven’t heard anything negative.” Most attendees concur. “It’s a pretty great theater,” said one Acad member. “The entryway was the best I’ve ever seen. From where I was sitting, in the first mezzanine, the sound was great. And getting there was great because they had so many goddamn checkpoints and barricades.” Those who attended the Oscar ceremony and its ancillary parties also volunteered the following observations:
- A record number of winners opted to read acceptance speeches rather than risking a spontaneous (and perhaps overemotional) response;
- And the exemplary turnout of superstars as presenters, participants and audience members effectively refuted contentions that the Golden Globes were increasingly impinging on the importance of the Oscars.
- There were a healthy number of parties — but an unhealthy number of partygoers. At fetes held Friday and Saturday and post-awards, many people complained about the crush of people.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more