Seth MacFarlane may have sung about Oscar's losers, but he wasn't among them. Sunday's movie awards ceremony produced its best ratings in years.
An average of 40.3 million viewers tuned in to the Oscar telecast on ABC, according to Nielsen. The ceremony was hosted by MacFarlane, the creator of TV's "Family Guy" and director of the movie comedy "Ted."
The ratings were the best for Oscar since 2010 and were up a modest 2% over last year's show hosted by Billy Crystal.
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The choice of MacFarlane represented an effort by Oscar officials to connect with younger viewers, and the strategy appears to have worked. Ratings were up 11% among viewers ages 18 to 49, the demographic most important to advertisers.
MacFarlane generally won praise for his efforts, which included song-and-dance routines as well as some off-color jokes. He ended the show singing a duet with Kristin Chenoweth dedicated to nominees who had not won an award. But many critics complained as usual about the length of the show (more than 3 1/2 hours) as well as the lack of surprises. Times critic Mary McNamara said the show defined new standards in dullness.
As expected, "Argo" — Ben Affleck's recounting of an effort to rescue American diplomats during the Iranian hostage crisis — won best picture.
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