When the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences decided to end the relentless parade of host-related Oscars drama by simply doing the show without one, there were concerns as to whether or not the choice would negatively impact the ratings. As it turns out, the absence of a central person to spout toothless jokes and bother the audience actually might have played a part in this year’s ratings boost. The 91st Annual Academy Awards garnered a 7.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 29.6 million viewers this past Sunday. To compare: Last year’s show only saw a 6.8 rating and 26.5 million viewers.
That’s reason enough to call this year’s event a smashing success, right? Well, not necessarily. Though they may have topped their previous year’s audience size, Sunday’s telecast was still the second lowest rated ceremony in the show’s history.
This is the second time the Oscars carried on without a host, joined only by the historically catastrophic effort in 1989. There is a possibility that the slight swell in this year’s viewership could be attributed to a morbid curiosity as to whether or not the horror could be duplicated in any way. If you counter that with a vague disinterest in a somewhat predictable slate of winners (because some of us may not have wanted to purposely tune in to see Green Book win anything, believe it or not), then you get a technical victory with so much room for improvement.
The night came with a few gems, like a highly deserved Best Animated Feature win for Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse and a trio of golden statues for Black Panther’s original score, costumes, and production design. In addition, we witnessed the ultimate lesson in fashion courtesy of Billy Porter’s tuxedo gown, so there’s still a lot to applaud.