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OSCARS RATINGS

NEW YORK (AP) — The Oscars were a big deal on the small screen this year. An estimated 43 million people watched the Academy Awards. That gives the Oscars broadcast its biggest audience in a decade. And it's the most popular entertainment event on television since the "Friends" finale in 2004. It's part of an upward swing for Oscar. Viewership is up for the third straight year — and it appears social media is helping to drive up the ratings. The Oscars are usually the second most-watched television program of the year in the United States, after the Super Bowl.

DIVERSITY THE BIG WINNER AT OSCARS?

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Officially Oscar night will go into the books as a big win for "12 Years a Slave" and for "Gravity" — which took the bulk of the major awards. But to many Oscar watchers, the big winner of the night was diversity. There were a couple of milestones achieved. For the first time, a film directed by a black filmmaker — Steve McQueen of "12 Years a Slave" — won best picture. And for the first time, a Latino — Alfonso Cuaron of "Gravity" — took home best director. The ceremony was overseen by the Motion Picture Academy's first black president and was hosted by a lesbian, Ellen DeGeneres. And "Dallas Buyers Club" — the best picture-nominated drama about AIDS in 1980s Texas — got some love from the Oscar people. After it took two decades to get made, the two Americans in the top six awards — Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto — won best actor and best supporting actor titles for their roles in the film.

LUPITA NYONG'O GETTING LOVE FROM KENYA

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Not only did Sunday night bring actress Lupita Nyong'o an Oscar — it also got her a tweet from her country's president. Kenya's president boasted on Twitter that Nyong'o was "the pride of Africa" after she won the Oscar for best supporting actress in "12 Years a Slave." It's the first major Oscar win from someone hailing from the African nation. At a conference at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi, more than 300 people broke out into applause during the broadcast. At the end of her Oscar speech, Nyong'o asked that her win remind "every little child that no matter where you're from your dreams are valid."

CHELSEA HANDLER ACCUSED OF RACISM FOR OSCAR TWEETS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — What should have been a feel-good moment for everyone was turned into one of those uneasy feelings some get when an accomplishment by a black person makes them the target for racial posts. Comedian Chelsea Handler has drawn accusations of racism for comments she made while on The Huffington Post's Twitter account during the Oscar's telecast. When Lupita Nyong'o won for best supporting actress, Handler tweeted that "Angelina Jolie just filed adoption papers." She also touted her upcoming book whenever "12 Years a Slave" won an award. The title of her book? "Uganda Be Kidding Me." People responded to Handler's Twitter posts with words like "disgraceful," ''offensive" and "racist."

ELLEN'S SELFIE STILL CAUSING STIR

NEW YORK (AP) — In these days of product placement and commercial tie-ins, even a simple stunt ends up as the focus of attention. Take Ellen DeGeneres' celebrity selfie from the Oscars. It was done with a Samsung phone. And Samsung just happened to be a commercial sponsor of the Academy Awards. What caused some to question the use of the Samsung for the on-camera stunt is that DeGeneres' backstage Twitter posts included shots from an iPhone. ABC says Samsung didn't pay specifically for use of the camera in the DeGeneres selfie segment. But Samsung said yesterday it was donating $1.5 million each to DeGeneres' favorite charities, St. Jude's and the Humane Society. In its statement about the donations, Samsung didn't directly address how its camera ended up in the starring role.

''THE VOICE"

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Usher is playing mind games -- with his foot. He's trying to psych-out his fellow coaches on "The Voice" by waiting until the last second to hit his button. Last night, Usher took it to a new level by using his foot on the button. Team Blake lands soulful singer Sisaundra (sihs-UHN'-druh) Lewis after all four coaches turned their chairs. Blake Shelton was impressed by her big voice and even bigger earrings. Michigan garbage man Ryan Whyte Maloney got four turns and goes with Team Blake. Clarissa Serna also had four turns. She chooses her "Latina sister," Shakira. More blind auditions on tonight's show.

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Sound:

<<CUT *001 (03/04/14)>> 00:26 "''

Ryan Whyte Maloney, performing "Lights"

Ryan Whyte Maloney, performing "Lights." COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT *002 (03/04/14)>> 00:17 "this show, OK"

Usher and Ryan Whyte Maloney

Usher explains why he was the last to turn his chair. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT *003 (03/04/14)>> 00:14 "a stud man"

Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton says he loves Ryan's high-pitched singing voice. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT *004 (03/04/14)>> 00:29 "''

Clarissa Serna, performing "Zombie"

Clarissa Serna, performing "Zombie." COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT *005 (03/04/14)>> 00:10 "sister, Miss Sharkira"

Clarissa Serna

All four coaches want Clarissa. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT *006 (03/04/14)>> 00:25 "''

Sisaundra (sihs-UHN'-druh) Lewis, performing "Ain't No Way"

Sisaundra Lewis, performing "Ain't No Way." COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

<<CUT *007 (03/04/14)>> 00:11 "that much weight (laughs)"

Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton is impressed by Sisaundra's voice and giant earrings. ((Sisaundra is pronounced sihs-UHN'-druh)) COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))

LIAM NEESON - "NON-STOP"

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Liam Neeson made sure he played a regular guy instead of an action hero in his new movie, "Non-Stop." Neeson portrays an air marshal, and he says he didn't want his character to be a martial arts expert because that would be "so corny." Neeson rehearsed with a special forces expert who trains air marshals and he felt it was important for the physical altercations to look real. The fight in the bathroom is based in reality. Neeson says the special forces expert helped him come up with that scene based on what a real air marshal would know how to do.

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Sound:

<<CUT *008 (03/04/14)>> 00:10 "film you know"

Liam Neeson, actor

Liam Neeson says he's not trained in any one particular style of fighting.

<<CUT *009 (03/04/14)>> 00:12 "make them real"

Liam Neeson, actor

Liam Neeson says he felt his character in "Non-Stop" should be a regular guy, not a superhero.

<<CUT *010 (03/04/14)>> 00:14 "to disarm someone"

Liam Neeson, actor

Liam Neeson says for "Non-Stop," he worked with a special forces expert who trains air marshals.

<<CUT *011 (03/04/14)>> 00:19 "to handle that (laughs)"

Liam Neeson, actor

Liam Neeson says he will learn fighting techniques for a film but he won't retain any of that knowledge. ((note length of cut))

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II

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