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Sunday’s Oscars TV ratings rise to 18.7 million

Los Angeles: The Oscars television ratings increased for the second year in a row, with 18.7 million viewers tuning in to see hit sci-fi “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” dominate a well-received ceremony, according to the ABC network on Monday.

With Jimmy Kimmel returning as host and a number of blockbuster films nominated, including “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water,” organizers hoped that the 95th Academy Awards would entice viewers.

The average audience figure represents a 12% increase over the previous year’s telecast, which was mostly remembered for Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage.

The Oscars hit an all-time low in 2021 when a pandemic-era edition of Hollywood’s biggest award show drew around 10 million viewers.

The upward trend is a welcome boost for live award shows, which have been losing viewers as they compete for attention with streamers and social media highlight clips.

Nonetheless, Sunday’s ratings were the third-lowest in Oscar history.

Critics praised the gala, which featured big-name musical performances by Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

Following the previous year’s infamous slap, the Hollywood Reporter said Sunday’s gala was “mercifully low on drama, movingly high on emotion,” citing several tearful winners’ speeches.

The show was described as “familiar” but “tasteful” by Variety.

However, The New York Times described the show as “a shrink-wrapped, anodyne exercise” that “stuck safely to the script” due to the lack of any significant upsets – or on-stage violence.

“Everything, Everywhere,” a word-of-mouth smash hit with a global box office gross of $100 million, won seven awards, including best picture, and its star Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win best actress.

Yeoh plays a tired Chinese laundromat owner who is embroiled in a battle with an interdimensional supervillain who also happens to be her daughter.

ABC released preliminary ratings on Monday, with final figures expected to be released on Tuesday. (AFP)

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