He also brings an anticipatory edge to this year’s Oscarcast that may help goose its ratings, which seemed destined to rank poorly when the nominees were announced, with nary a box-office blockbuster in the best-picture race.
Oscar ratings have everything to do with that year’s best-picture contenders and not very much to do with the host, Nielsen numbers demonstrate every year.
The most-watched Oscar show on record remains the 1998 ceremony, when “Titanic” was in the running for best picture and more than 55 million fans tuned in to see it win.
That year’s host, Billy Crystal, also hosted the ceremony one year earlier but logged 20 million fewer viewers because there was no “Titanic” in the best-picture race. That year’s winner: art-housey “The English Patient,” besting “Fargo,” “Secrets & Lies,” “Shine” and “Jerry Maguire.”
Meanwhile, the most-savaged Oscar host (before Franco) was Letterman, but his 1995 ceremony clocked nearly 49 million viewers — the Oscars’ third-biggest crowd ever. “Forrest Gump” was crowned best picture that year.