NEW YORK (AP) - The Oscars were a big deal on the small screen this year. An estimated 43 million people watched the Academy Awards. That gives the Oscars broadcast its biggest audience in a decade. And it's the most popular entertainment event on television since the "Friends" finale in 2004. It's part of an upward swing for Oscar. Viewership is up for the third straight year - and it appears social media is helping to drive up the ratings. The Oscars are usually the second most-watched television program of the year in the United States, after the Super Bowl.
NEW YORK (AP) - Philip Seymour Hoffman died from taking a combination of heroin, cocaine and other drugs. That's the word from the New York City medical examiner - who released results of drug tests on Friday. Addictions specialists say the toxic mix of drugs in Hoffman's system is not uncommon in tens of thousands of overdose deaths in the U.S. each year. Hoffman was 46. He was found early last month with a needle in his arm on the floor of his Manhattan apartment. Aside from the heroin he had taken, the actor also had amphetamines and benzodiazepines in his system. His death was ruled accidental. Hoffman was among the late Hollywood stars featured in last night's "In Memoriam" segment on the Oscar telecast.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ellen DeGeneres didn't have people falling out of their seats laughing at her jokes - but didn't have them reaching for their remotes to escape crude jokes - like many did when Seth MacFarlane hosted the Oscars last year. So, it safe to say her second go-round at hosting the Oscars may not be her last. In her opening monologue, she summed up the dilemma faced by the Academy, saying either "12 Years a Slave" would win best picture, or that the members of the Academy are "all racists." In her opening, DeGeneres gently mocked Hollywood's obsession with its good weather. She deadpanned: "It has been raining. We're fine. Thank you for your prayers." In other jokes, she had pizza delivered - and got a group of stars to do a selfie with her. It ended up being re-tweeted more than 2 million times and momentarily crashed Twitter.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - It seems to happen to one film each Oscar year - lots of nominations going in, but no hardware going home. This year's heartbreak belongs to those involved in "American Hustle." It went up with no wins, despite tying with "Gravity" for most nominations. Best actor went to Matthew McConaughey, for his work in "Dallas Buyers Club" and Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine. The best supporting actor win goes to Jared Leto for "Dallas Buyers Club," Lupita Nyong'o takes the supporting actress award for "12 Years a Slave."
LOS ANGELES (AP) - There was no denying the power of "Gravity" at the Oscars. It ended up with seven trophies on the night - including a big prize: best director, which went to Alfonso Cuaron. The Mexican-born filmmaker becomes the first Latino winner to win best director. Cuaron spent years making the film and crafting the visual effects for the lost-in-space drama. Praising his star Sandra Bullock, Cuaron said of her: "You ARE Gravity." The film won for a bunch of technical categories like cinematography and visual effects as well as sound mixing, sound editing and film editing.
NEW YORK (AP) - Ratings for the Academy Awards telecast in the nation's biggest television markets are up 7 percent over last year. The Nielsen company said Monday that New York, Kansas City, Mo., and Chicago were the strongest markets for Sunday's telecast, where "12 Years a Slave" won the Academy Award for best picture. Nielsen's estimate for how many people actually watched the show was expected later Monday. The Oscars are frequently the second most-watched television program of the year after the Super Bowl, with viewership topping 40 million people last year. Overnight ratings in the nation's 56 biggest markets are only a partial picture, however, and sometimes not reflective of the country as a whole.