Kathyrn Bigelow‘s The Hurt Locker may have been the big winner at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, but the Oscars show itself also claimed a major victory for the night. Sunday night’s Oscars event was the most watched in five years according to Nielsen estimates, drawing in over 41 million viewers for the evening.

Jeff Bridges accepting Oscar for Best Actor (ABC)

Jeff Bridges accepting Oscar for Best Actor (ABC)

ABC’s Red-Carpet Pre-Show also scored a win for the night, pulling in its largest audience since 2007 with over 25 million viewers. Some of the increase in ratings is attributed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decision to nominate 10 films for Best Picture this year, instead of the usual five. The contentious battle between James Cameron‘s blockbuster film Avatar and Kathyrn Bigelow’s Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker for the top prize also proved a major audience draw.

Luckily for the Academy’s ratings, more than 3 million customers of New York’s Cablevision were able to tune in to the awards show at the last minute. A fee dispute between Cablevision and ABC parent company Walt Disney kept many televisions in the New York area dark until just after the Academy Awards started.

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