Oscar host Seth MacFarlane has drawn criticism for his opening song “We saw your boobs” as well as his tasteless jokes about Jews, race and domestic violence.
But in spite of his questionable humour the Family Guy creator drew in a bigger audience than the previous year.
The show was watched on average by 40.3 million viewers this year, up 2 per cent on last year’s 39.3 million when Billy Crystal hosted, according to the Nielsen ratings service.
MacFarlane may have received some scathing reviews, but critics agreed that the 39-year-old had been drafted in to make the ceremony more appealing to a younger audience.
Figures from Nielsen show that the18-34 audience tuning in to this year’s Oscars grew 17 per cent on last year, reaching 11.3 million compared to 9.4 million last year.
The figures do not include international viewers, despite the fact the Oscars have been broadcast globally since 1969 reaching 200 countries at present. Oscars ceremony co-producer Craig Zadan however told nominees that: “You’ll be talking to over one billion people around the world.”
The ratings were also helped by the commercial success of the best picture nominations, which can vary from year to year. Six of the nine films nominated in the category took over $100 million at the US box office.
Despite the increase in home viewers, the show received mixed reviews. The Daily Beast labelled the ceremony “The Juvenile Oscars”, calling the event a “disaster”. Critic Marlow Stern said Seth MacFarlane did an “incredibly awkward Rat Pack-meets-Crank Yankers routine, replete with silly jokes".
The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson said watching the Oscars “meant sitting through a series of crudely sexist antics led by a scrubby, self-satisfied Seth MacFarlane…the evening’s misogyny involved a specific hostility to women in the workplace, which raises broader questions than whether the Academy can possibly get Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host next year [as MacFarlane has quipped]. It was unattractive and sour.”