Oscars ratings plummet to record low

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Fewer people tuned in to see “Nomadland” crowned best picture than any other Oscars ceremony to date. 

The show, which saw numerous celebrities take the stage to comment on or reference former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction and police brutality in general, earned record-low ratings as the show adjusted its venue and schedule in order to accommodate safety concerns due to the coronavirus. 

According to Variety, citing early Nielsen numbers, an average of 9.85 million viewers watched the show Sunday evening, which is a 58.3%, 13.75 million viewer drop-off from last year. In addition, the show earned a mere 1.9 rating among the key demographic of adults age 18-49.

For comparison, that’s a big drop-off from last year’s 23.64 million viewers and a 5.3 in the key demographic — both of those numbers were already previous all-time lows. 

Although the Oscars ratings have been declining in past years, the pandemic impacted both this year’s show as well as the movie industry at large. After the pandemic, Hollywood — and the Oscars — may not ever be quite the same. Or as WarnerMedia’s new chief executive Jason Kilar said when announcing plans to shift the studio’s movies to streaming: “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

The 94rd Academy Awards were the lowest rated yet.
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

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For the first time, Hollywood’s most prestigious awards will overwhelming belong to films that barely played on the big screen. The biggest ticket-seller of the best picture nominees is “Promising Young Woman,” with $6.3 million in box office.

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The low numbers come despite certain actors and actresses in certain categories being poised to make Oscars’ history with a win. For example, Chloe Zhao became the first woman of color (and the second woman ever) to win an Academy Award for best director while Steven Yeun and Riz Ahmed missed out on making diversity history in the best actor category. However, that ultimately went to Anthony Hopkins for his role in “The Father” in a massive upset to fellow best actor, nominee Chadwick Boseman, who was largely favored to win a posthumous award in the category.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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