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UK Oscars Coverage Makes ITV Bow With Peak Of 1M Viewers But Show Criticized For Insensitivity & A Lack Of Critical Expertise

Oscars coverage in the UK was free-to-air last night for the first time in two decades but ITV’s coverage was slammed on social media for insensitivity and a lack of critical expertise.

The L.A. ceremony was watched by a peak of almost 1M UK viewers and a 630,000 average from its 10.15 p.m. GMT start time until the early hours of the morning but audiences took to X to make their complaints heard.

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Deadline revealed ITV had scooped Oscars rights from Sky last year and the coverage was helmed by British broadcaster Jonathan Ross, who was joined by a panel made up of The Hobbit actor Richard Armitage, radio and documentary presenter Yinka Bokinni, actress Fay Ripley and comedian/critic Ben Bailey Smith.

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The verdict from multiple critics and movie fans who took to X was that the panel plus Ross lacked sensitivity and there was little critical knowhow.

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Multiple X users pointed to the absurdity of the panel comparing Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon – a movie that included the murder and torture of Native Americans – to ITV soap Emmerdale.

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Others cited examples of the panel failing to correctly pronounce some of the nominee’s names including The Holdovers winner Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who took home Best Supporting Actress.

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“The ITV #Oscars panel is in desperate need of a film critic or someone who has at the very least watched all the nominated films & knows who all the nominees are!,” said one X user. “Discussing how to pronounce Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s name is a real low point…”

“Worst Oscars panel I’ve ever seen,” was the brutal verdict of another.

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Many said they had turned over after spending small amounts of time with the coverage, citing a lack of critical expertise and somewhat belittling attitude towards the ceremony from the panelists. Check out a cross section of X posts below.

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Winning the Oscars rights was a coup for ITV and the coverage had been heavily trailed for the past few weeks. The Oscars were last on British free-to-air TV in 2004 on the BBC before Sky won the rights from the national broadcaster. Mirroring U.S. ratings, UK audiences for the Oscars had been dwindling in recent years, with around 35,000 tuning in live on the main Sky Cinema channel last year compared with nearly 60,000 in 2022.

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In the U.S., coverage was hosted once again by Jimmy Kimmel, with highlights including Ryan Gosling’s rendition of Barbie track “I’m Just Ken” with guitarist Slash. Oppenheimer was the big winner on the night, sweeping up with wins including Best Picture, Best Director for Brit auteur Christopher Nolan and Best Actor Cillian Murphy.

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