Oscar Telecast Rebounds 56% to 15.4 Million Viewers in Early Ratings

For the first time in three years, the ceremony’s viewership grew

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

For the first time in three years, the Oscars can say it didn’t hit a record low in viewership.

Sunday night’s telecast managed to rebound from last year’s all-time ratings low, earning around 15.4 million total viewers and a 3.2 rating among the key 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen’s fast national ratings reported by ABC.

The early number only includes broadcast numbers. Viewership is likely to increase once out-of-home viewership and streaming are accounted for, with those figures expected on Tuesday.

This means that viewership is up 56% from early viewership numbers last year, which placed the 2020 broadcast at 9.85 million viewers — marking the lowest viewership ever for the Oscars. According to official numbers, the telecast actually drew 10.4 million people.

But 2022 still marks the second least-watched telecast ever, and viewership hasn’t been able to touch pre-pandemic numbers. In 2020, ABC managed a 5.3 rating and 23.6 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. At the time, those were both record lows.

The most shocking moment of Sunday night’s show was definitely Will Smith’s violent outburst at Chris Rock, which has dominated much of the Oscars conversation since it happened. The rest of the evening played out basically as expected and even included some heartwarming moments.

“Dune” won six categories, the most of any of the nominated films. Best Supporting Actress Ariana DeBose made history as the first Afro-Latina and openly queer woman to take home an acting prize, while Best Supporting Actor Troy Kotsur became the first deaf male actor to win.

Eight-time nominee Kenneth Branagh finally won an Oscar, for his original screenplay for the semi-autobiographical “Belfast.” In her acceptance speech for Best Actress, fellow first-time winner Jessica Chastain paid tribute to Tammy Faye Bakker and her “radical acts of love” towards the LGBTQ community.

Click here for the evening’s complete list of trophy winners.