Oscars telecast ratings hit a 10-year high, preliminary data showed Monday, as Ellen DeGeneres won plaudits for slick hosting of Hollywood's biggest night -- and breaking a Twitter record, AFP reports.
The 86th Academy Awards were seen by 43 million Americans, drawing the biggest audience of any entertainment program since the finale of hit sitcom "Friends" in May 2004, according to estimates by ratings service Nielsen.
The three-and-a-half-hour show averaged a 12.9 rating for adults aged 18-48, according to the preliminary figures cited by ABC, the Oscars broadcaster. Only NFL playoff games had had bigger ratings in recent years, industry journal Variety reported.
The figures were up some 6 percent from last year's show, which was hosted by comic Seth MacFarlane who was accused of bad taste in some of his jokes.
The most-watched Oscars show ever was in 1998, when 55.3 million people watched "Titanic" win 11 Academy Awards including best picture, according to the Los Angeles Times.
DeGeneres, hosting the Oscars for the second time -- seven years after her first turn -- ordered pizza, took a star-studded selfie and poked fun at her audience in a well-received performance on Hollywood's biggest night of the year.
The 56-year-old comic followed confidently in the footsteps of celebrated Oscars hosts such as Billy Crystal and Bob Hope, mixing wry, deadpan humor and cracking jokes at the expense of her A-list audience at the Dolby Theatre.
Her celebrity selfie with stars including Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence had nearly 100,000 retweets within five minutes, and over 2.8 million by Monday morning.
"Ellen DeGeneres did not sing a song about seeing actresses' boobs on screen, which, after last year's Seth MacFarlane skit, represents some sort of progress," Variety wrote in a snap review of DeGeneres's efforts.