How Oscar Rated

Despite the marathon length and a lack of a blockbuster nominated movie to grab anyone’s attention, the Oscars still drew a crowd. An estimated 46.3 million TV viewers watched the broadcast, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings. That’s a 2% increase over last year’s audience of 45.6 million, but still well below the 55 million who tuned in to see “Titanic” sweep the awards in 1998. As might be expected, TV critics turned thumbs down on the long, long show. Caryn James of The New York Times called this year’s telecast “a zombie, as if some pod creature had sucked the life out of it.” Tom Shales of The Washington Post considered the show “miserably flat, a victim of its own ponderousness and the incredible pomposity of individual winners.” The Times didn’t even care for this year’s Oscar fashions, which the paper found banal. Said the banner headline: “Oscar style? Well, they all wore clothes.”

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