Oscars Lose 6 Million Viewers From Last Year, Set New All-Time Lows in Ratings

Audience for 92nd Academy Awards declines 20%, demo does even worse

Jane Fonda - Oscars

The 2020 Oscars drew 23.6 million total viewers on ABC, down a whopping 6 million TV viewers, or minus 20% from last year. Like 2019, Sunday’s Academy Awards went host-less.

That move didn’t work out this time around, but the mix of movies may have been an even bigger problem.

In the key demographic, adults 18-49, the year to year drop-off was even steeper than the all-in decline. Last night’s show received a 5.3 rating in the demo, according to Nielsen, down 31% from the prior Oscars and to a new record low.

The previous Oscars low among adults 18-49 was a 6.8 rating. In terms of total viewers, the prior low was 26.5 million viewers. Both of those numbers came in 2018.

Doing a little more math, this new viewer low is another 11% lower than the old one. In the demo, the decline from the previous record low is double that, -22%.

Last year’s Oscars earned 29.6 million viewers, which was up 12% from the previous year. Among adults 18-49, the 2018-to-2019 growth was +13% from 2018 to a 7.7 rating.

If you need to find some sort of silver lining, the 92nd Academy Awards were still television’s most-watched entertainment special since the 91st Oscars. Of course, that was also totally expected.

This year’s celebration of the best in cinema had 4.9 million more viewers than the Grammy Awards (18.7 million viewers on Jan. 26, 2020) and 5.3 million more viewers than the Golden Globes (18.3 million viewers on Jan. 5, 2020).

Not doing it for you? This probably won’t either, but social activity was up from last year. Sunday’s show garnered 20.6 million total social interactions, up 16% from last year.

Sadly, the 2020 Grammys actually topped the 2020 Oscars in the key demo, with a 5.4 edging last night’s 5.3. This is only the second time that’s ever happened, and the first since 2012.

The 2020 Academy Awards’ gap with the 2020 Golden Globes wasn’t very impressive, with a 5.3 vs. a 4.7. That’s way closer than it ever has been before.

Find Sunday’s Oscars winners here. It was a big night for “Parasite” and director Bong Joon Ho. “1917,” “Joker,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and “Ford v. Ferrari” were the other films with multiple wins.

Some of the high-level winners included Brad Pitt, who took home his first acting Oscar with a supporting role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Laura Dern was named Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Marriage Story.”

Renée Zellweger won Best Actress for her playing Judy Garland in “Judy.” Joaquin Phoenix was named Best Actor for playing the title role in “Joker.”