Oscars see a viewing figure boost for Seth MacFarlane's 'controversial' hosting

Across the United States, around 40 million viewers tuned in to watch the Seth MacFarlane hosted Academy Awards show, viewing figures have confirmed.

It amounted to the best ratings in three years, but the last decade and a half has still struggled to stop the decline - by point of reference, 1998's show that saw 'Titanic' scoop 11 awards was watched by 57.25 million.

First time host (and 'Family Guy' creator) MacFarlane has received mixed reviews from critics, with some slamming his off-colour jokes about female nudity (a song called 'We Saw Your Boobs' was one of the show's openers) and Jews in Hollywood while others praised his "edgy" style that saw a 20% boost among viewers aged between 18 and 34 - a key audience.

MacFarlane's presence is also seen as appealing the male demographic, who were up 18% in what is usually seen as a more female-friendly show.

But his antics were not without their controversy, with US Jewish group the Anti-Defamation League taking issue with a skit in which MacFarlane's film creation Ted urges Mark Wahlberg to act Jewish "if you want to work in this town".

National director Abraham Foxman said: "It only reinforces stereotypes which legitimise antisemitism. It is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs."

While no official viewing figures have been made available for international audiences, it's estimated that up to a billion people watched at least some of the gala across the 200 countries that broadcast it.

The ceremy saw 'Argo' crowned Best Picture, with 'Life of Pi' director Ang Lee walking off with Best Director while Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence took the leading acting awards for 'Lincoln' and 'Silver Linings Playbook'.

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