Oscar Viewership Climbs to 16.6 Million, 58% Above Last Year’s Record Low

Ratings climbed in the key 18-49 demo by 73%

The Oscars appears to have bounced back, at least slightly.

The telecast scored 16.6 million total viewers and a 3.8 rating among the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, according to final time-zone adjusted Live + Same Day Nielsen numbers (which includes out-of-home viewing data). 

That puts Sunday night’s ceremony at a 58% increase in total viewers, up from just 10.4 million total viewers last year. Ratings also climbed by 73% among the 18-49 demographic, from 2.2 in 2021.

Sure, it was still the second least-watched Oscars telecast ever, but the numbers still show a significant bounce back.

The 94th annual show, which was back at the Dolby Theatre after taking place at Union Station in 2021, is now the strongest awards telecast in two years, and it managed to drive a ton of social engagement (likely due, at least in part, to Slapgate). According to ABC, the show drove about 22.7 million social interactions, making it the “most social” Oscars telecast on record.

It’s unlikely that the Oscars (or any live awards shows) will ever make it back to 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.

Besides Will Smith’s outburst, the night went on basically as expected. “Dune” won six categories. 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.

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