Oscars Get 34.3 Million Viewers, Lowest Rating Since 2008

The 34.3 million viewers who tuned in to the Academy Awards represented that annual ceremony’s smallest audience since 2008.

The Nielsen company said Monday that Oscar viewership was down from the 37.3 million who watched the ABC show in 2015. In 2014 and 2013, the show reached more than 40 million viewers each year.

The ceremony, hosted by Chris Rock, came amid controversy about a lack of diversity among the nominees and calls for a boycott among some minority fans. There was no immediate way to judge whether the controversy affected ratings, or whether other factors held the audience down.

Many years, the Oscars are television’s biggest event after the Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, Oscar night belonged to host Chris Rock, who launched immediately into the uproar over the lack of diversity in this year’s nominees, and he didn’t let up.

Rock called the Oscars, “The White People’s Choice Awards.”

In his much anticipated opening monologue, he asked “Is Hollywood racist? He said “Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like: We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”

Rock had stayed quiet before the ceremony as the controversy raged over the second straight year of all-white acting nominees, leaving Hollywood and viewers eagerly awaiting his one-liners. He confessed that he deliberated over joining the Oscars boycott and bowing out as host, but concluded: “The last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart.”

Outside the Oscars were protests, including one outside the Dolby Theatre by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

List of winners at Sunday’s 88th annual Academy Awards presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Best Picture: “Spotlight.”

Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant.”

Actress: Brie Larson, “Room.”

Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies.”

Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl.”

Directing: Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant.”

Foreign Language Film: “Son of Saul.”

Adapted Screenplay: “The Big Short.”

Original Screenplay: “Spotlight.”

Animated Feature Film: “Inside Out.”

Production Design: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Cinematography: “The Revenant.”

Sound Mixing: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Sound Editing: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Original Score: “The Hateful Eight.”

Original Song: “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre.”

Costume Design: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Documentary Feature: “Amy.”

Documentary (short subject): “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.”

Film Editing: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Animated Short Film: “Bear Story.”

Live Action Short Film: “Stutterer.”

Visual Effects: “Ex Machina.”

(AP)

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Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey Producers Toast More Strong Sales

Producers of Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are toasting another year of strong sales and revenue growth. Leading the way is growing demand for high-priced, super-premium brands.

The Distilled Spirits Council said Tuesday that combined U.S. revenues for bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey shot up 7.8% to $2.9 billion in 2015. Domestic volume rose 5.2%.

The council’s annual report says bourbon and Tennessee whiskey revenues and volumes outpaced the overall distilled spirits sector.

Meanwhile, it says bourbon and Tennessee whiskey exports topped $1 billion for the third straight year, despite challenges caused by a strong dollar. A strong dollar makes U.S. goods less competitive. (AP)