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Oscar Ratings Up 60% From Last Year—But Still Second-Worst Ever, Final Numbers Show

Oscar Ratings Up 60% From Last Year—But Still Second-Worst Ever, Final Numbers Show

Viewership of Sunday’s Oscars ceremony improved significantly from last year’s least-watched-ever broadcast—but still remained near record lows—according to Nielsen data released Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter reported, despite producers’ decision to change the show in an effort to attract a wider audience.

(L-R) Co-hosts Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall speak onstage during the 94th Annual … [+] Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

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Key Facts

ABC’s Oscars broadcast averaged a viewership of 16.62 million viewers, in a final count that included streaming and digital audiences.

That’s an increase of over 6 million viewers from last year, or roughly 60%, when the pared-down ceremony had a record-low viewership of 10.4 million.

The 2022 ratings are the second-lowest Oscars viewership since Nielsen began tracking the show, according to the New York Times.

In 2020, before the pandemic started, the Oscars had a then-record low viewership of 23.6 million, according to Bloomberg and the Los Angeles Times.

Big Number
55.3 million. That’s how many people watched the 1998 Oscars, the most-watched ceremony ever, according to Deadline.

Key Background
Most major award shows faced large audience dips in 2021, as they had to present partially or totally virtually, and many have seen their viewership increase this year as they returned to in-person celebrations. And as streaming and on-demand viewing becomes more commonplace, live TV events have taken a hit. ABC’s Oscars broadcast was hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes and was the first time in three years the show was led by a host. Eight behind-the-scenes and short film awards were given out one hour before the live broadcast started, and clips of the winners were added into the live show, a move that was criticized by many in the film industry. Academy president David Rubin said the move was made in part because “it’s a live event television show and we must prioritize the television audience to increase viewer engagement and keep the show vital, kinetic, and relevant.” The ceremony also marked two fan-favorite honors—called the Fan Favorite and the Cheer Moment—which recognized fan-voted, mainstream movies that were not included in the ceremony, like Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Army Of The Dead. Several presenters garnered double takes for their lack of connection to the film industry, including DJ Khaled, Tony Hawk, Shaun White and Kelly Slater. During a presentation of the hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s Encanto, rapper Megan Thee Stallion and singers Becky G and Luis Fonsi joined the performance, overtaking the second verse of the song from the cast.

Further Reading
Oscars 2022: ‘CODA,’ Takes Best Picture—But Will Smith’s Slap Overshadows Academy Awards (Forbes)

Largest Hollywood Union Is Latest Group To Criticize Oscars For Sidelining Some Awards (Forbes)

Hollywood A-Listers Push Academy To Reverse Decision To Not Televise All Oscar Awards (Forbes)

Shocking Oscars Moment: Will Smith Smacks Chris Rock In The Face After Joke About Wife Jada Pinkett Smith (Forbes)

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