Oscars Ratings Climb to 4-Year High With Diverse Films, ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ Wins

(L-R) Robert Downey, Jr., Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Emma Stone, and Cillian Murphy pose backstage with the Oscar® at Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (Credit: Mark Von Holden/A.M.P.A.S.)

The 2024 Oscars brought poignant speeches, a show-stopping “I’m Just Ken” performance, and a ratings win.

The telecast was watched by 19.5 million total viewers based on same-day ratings data, ABC reported Monday. That was a 4 percent increase from a year ago. This year’s telecast also scored a 3.81 rating in the advertiser coveted 18-49 demo.

The viewership total climbed to 21.9 million in the final half-hour of the show, which saw Oppenheimer win the best picture trophy after picking up six other awards, including best director.

The March 10 broadcast delivered the largest Oscars viewership total since the 2020 telecast, which aired just days before the pandemic shut down Hollywood and much of the nation.

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ABC credited Sunday night’s ratings surge to the show starting an hour early at 4pm PT/7pm ET.

The network also made sure to mention the Oscars brought in a bigger audience than this year’s Grammys, which averaged 17.1 million viewers on Feb. 4; The Golden Globes with 9.5 million viewers on Jan. 7; and the Emmy Awards with 4.5 million viewers on Jan. 15.

The Jimmy Kimmel-hosted Oscars were held at the Dolby Theatre in the Ovation Hollywood entertainment complex.

The evening saw Barbie actor Ryan Gosling belt out best original song nominee “I’m Just Ken.” Gosling got the loudest applause of the nominated song performers, although the Oscar went to Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell for their single “What Was I Made For?” from the Barbie soundtrack.

The Holdovers star Da’Vine Joy Randolph won the best supporting actress Oscar. Robert Downey Jr. picked up the best supporting actor trophy for his role in Oppenheimer. Emma Stone won the best actress award for her performance in Poor Things, and Cillian Murphy picked up the best actor trophy for his role in Oppenheimer.

Randolph brought many in the audience to tears with her speech about having doubts she’d ever find success in Hollywood.

“I thank you for seeing me,” she said through tears.

American Fiction writer-director Cord Jefferson won the best adapted screenplay Oscar. After receiving a standing ovation, the first-time filmmaker urged the audience of Hollywood insiders to produce more lower-budget, character-driven films.

“I understand that this is a risk-averse industry, I get it, but $200 million movies are also a risk… it doesn’t always work out, but you take the risk anyway. Instead of making one $200 million movie, try making twenty $10 million movies or fifty $4 million dollar movies,” Jefferson said.

He added that he wants other up-and-coming artists to get opportunities in the industry.

“The next Martin Scorsese is out there, the next Greta [Gerwig] is out there,” he said, “they just want a shot and we can give them one.”