Perhaps it was the slate of nominated high-brow films few people saw during the pandemic, whatever the reason, the ratings for Sunday night’s Oscars fell to an all-time low.
Early Nielsen numbers show an average of 9.85 million viewers watched the host-less 93rd Academy Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That’s down 58 percent from the 23.6 million who watched last year’s telecast — and that was a previous low.
Final figures will be released Tuesday, but are not expected to drastically change. Back in 2014, more than 40 million viewers watched the Oscars, but that seems like a lifetime ago.
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Sunday night’s telecast saw Nomadland, a hard-luck story about a woman living in her van and working temporary jobs, win best picture, best actress and best director. Filmmaker Chloé Zhao, who helmed the Searchlight Pictures release, became just the second woman in Oscars history to be named best director.
In another sign of progress, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson were the first Black winners in the makeup and hairstyling category. They shared the award with Sergio Lopez-Rivera for their work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
While the Oscars are being praised for taking steps forward in diversity and inclusion, some viewers bashed the show on social media when the best actor Oscar went to Anthony Hopkins for his work in The Father, instead of the late Chadwick Boseman, who won the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Critics Choice honor this season for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
The Oscars took place in a new location, Union Station in downtown L.A., in adherence with Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 safety protocols for the in-person show.
The telecast’s three-producer team of Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins decided to ditch musical performances within the show and they did away with clips introducing the nominees, instead opting for a series of tedious introductions. Overall, it was a very long and slow night.
Still, the Oscars are not alone in shedding viewers. The Grammys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards all saw their ratings plummet over the past year.
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