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Oscars Scorecard: Ratings Down, Critical Pans

Sunday's Oscar telecast drew fairly universal critical pans and lower ratings than last year's show, according to preliminary numbers from Nielsen showing viewing in the 56 largest markets was down 7% from 2010.

Meanwhile, reviewers cited such gaffes as bad writing and a lack of chemistry between the hosts, a trying-so-hard-it-was-embarrassing Anne Hathaway and a laid-back-enough-to-be-taken-for-dead (or at least stoned) James Franco. Even the audience seemed to long for a seasoned comic pro to take charge again, as they gave former host Billy Crystal a standing ovation.  One solution, suggested by commenters on TV critic Alan Sepinwall's HitFix post: next year, try a comic from a younger demo -- or at least have Tina Fey and Steve Carell write and perform the whole thing.

One bright spot last night: the "montage of made-up songs, using auto-tuned dialogue" from the likes of "The Social Network" and "Twilight: Eclipse," lauded by Kim Potts as "one of the few times when producers made good on their promise to make this a younger, hipper Oscars."



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