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EDITIONS
Oscars 2002 Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 20:14 GMT
'Disappointing' US Oscars ratings
Berry and her husband watched Washington win his award
Berry and her husband saw Washington win his award
Initial US TV viewing figures for this year's Oscars - the longest ceremony so far - have revealed the show got its lowest audience since 1997 with 41 million, according to trade newspaper Variety.

The ceremony, which was hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, lasted four hours and 16 minutes.

Jim Broadbent
Broadbent was surprised with his victory
The highlights of the show were the dramatic victories for Halle Berry and Denzel Washington in the acting categories, Jim Broadbent's surprise win for Iris and Sidney Poitier's honorary Oscar.

Despite the disappointing figures ABC's coverage is still the fourth most-watched event on US TV this year.

The Super Bowl heads the list, attracting 86.8 million viewers - the Winter Olympics opening ceremony (45.6m) and the Winter Olympics' women's figure-skating long programme (43.3m viewers) round out the top three.


Poitier's tribute was dignified, but it was buried in a bunch of other self-congratulatory fillers

Matt Roush, TV Guide
In the UK, the live broadcast on BBC Two saw an average 600,000 people watching.

The unofficial viewing figures are impressive as the 0100GMT broadcast represented nearly 27% of the TV audience.

Monday evening's highlights package on BBC One, hosted by Jonathan Ross, pulled in an average audience of three million.

Critical reaction to the broadcast in the US has been mixed.

TV Guide's chief critic Matt Roush called the ceremony "punishingly long".

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg's presentation received a mixed critical reaction
He added: "Poitier's tribute was dignified, but it was buried in a bunch of other self-congratulatory fillers that diminished the impact of the moments that counted."

Washington Post critic Tom Shales opined that the show "was rife with highlights and powerful emotional moments", but said there was "something leaden about the whole seemingly endless ordeal".

Reviews in the entertainment trade papers were generally more forgiving, with the Hollywood Reporter saying the show was "full of surprises and brilliantly conceived".

Thriller

Meanwhile the producers of Monster's Ball, the movie for which Berry won her Oscar, are hoping to cash in on her success.

The number of screens showing the crime thriller have been increased from 550 to 700.

The low-budget movie, which cost a reported $4m (2.8m) to make, has taken more than $17m (11.9m) at the US box office so far.

It is due to open in the UK on 7 June.

 VOTE RESULTS
Did Halle Berry go over the top in her Oscars speech?

Yes
 60.98% 

No
 39.02% 

20240 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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24 Jan 02 | Entertainment
20 Mar 02 | Oscars 2002
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