Last night turned out to be a historic evening for Hollywood and the Academy, as “Parasite” shocked the world and took home the most Oscars of any film, including the coveted Best Picture trophy. But even with surprises and a show that seemingly went off without a hitch (minus whatever that Eminem thing was), it appears that viewers just weren’t that interested in what the 2020 Oscars had to offer.
According to early numbers (via Variety), last night’s ceremony drew 23.6 million viewers, which seems like a great number, but that viewership sets a new record-low for the Oscars. That number is off by 20% (6 million viewers) from last year’s telecast, which was already low but was also the Academy’s first show without a host in the modern era. This year, the Oscars continued the hostless trend.
The previous record-low for the awards telecast was 2018, when “Moonlight” took home the Best Picture award, which earned a viewership of 26.5 million. However, last year, the awards actually jumped 12% from the previous year in viewership, signaling to some that the hostless Oscars was the way to go, moving forward. But perhaps, instead, 2019 was just an anomaly.
As for what this might mean moving forward, there’s not much of an answer. Awards shows, in general, have been seeing ratings declines in recent years. This could be chalked up to a general disinterest in awards shows or perhaps a sign that many more people are watching via other online methods. Or perhaps a bit of both.
Regardless, the 2020 Oscars are still the most-watched awards show, by a healthy margin, beating this year’s Golden Globes by more than 5 million viewers and the Grammys by a little under 5 million viewers. So, it’s not all terrible news.