Last night’s Oscars ceremony was pretty good, if only because Parasite won Best Picture and Rian Johnson wore Porg cuff links, but apparently those of us who watched it live are members of a small and exclusive club with only about 23.6 million members. Now, that number may sound really high, but almost 30 million people watched last year’s Oscars (which didn’t have Porgs or Parasite), so that’s a pretty sizable decline. So sizable, in fact, that the ratings are among the worst the Academy Awards has ever had, falling short of even 2018's seemingly crummy average of 26.5 million viewers.
This comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which notes that the Oscars are still the most-watched awards show, partially thanks to the fact that all of them are facing steep dclines in viewership. The Grammys did a little better in the key ratings demographic (18-49), but the Oscars seemingly prepared for that scenario by having Grammy-favorite Billie Eilish do the “In Memoriam” song (people between 18 and 49 probably loved it).
2020 was the Oscars’ second year in a row without a host, a decision that could shoulder some of the blame for the ratings decline. After all, when you can’t put Billy Crystal in the commercials, it’s harder to convince people to watch the show. Of course, some brilliant genius at a pop culture website predicted this would happen when the Oscars announced they’d be going without a host again, cleverly and charmingly pointing out that one of the reasons the 2019 Oscars got good ratings was because people wanted to see how the Academy would pull off a show with no host. Since last year’s show went smoothly, there was no reason to assume this year would be any different, and therefore no reason to really watch at all.