Oscars Ratings Rise Amid Drama, Tears and Onstage Slap

Oscars 2022 Hosts (Credit: YouTube)

With a trio of hosts and a slap seen around the world, the ratings rose for Sunday’s Oscars.

Final Nielsen numbers released Tuesday show the ceremony brought in 16.62 million viewers and a 3.76 rating among adults 18-49, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That’s a 60 percent improvement in viewers and a 77 percent increase in the coveted adults 18-49 demo over last year’s telecast, which saw an all-time low of 10.4 million viewers and a 2.12 rating for the scaled down show from Union Station in Los Angeles.

Despite this year’s ratings gains, the 94th Academy Awards are still the second-lowest rated Oscars ever. Although it should be noted, ratings continue to plummet for most award shows.

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Hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes, this year’s Oscars included several historic moments. CODA, which features a predominantly deaf cast, won the best picture prize. The film was released by Apple, which became the first streaming service to ever win the best picture award.

West Side Story actress Ariana DeBose picked up the best supporting actress award, making her the first Afro-Latina to win an Oscar. Summer of Soul director Questlove won the best documentary award.

Hall, Schumer and Sykes were the first women to host the ceremony together as a group, and they delivered a biting opening monologue.

The show was produced by Will Packer (Girls Trip) and Shayla Cowan. Packer employed the first all-Black production team in Oscars history.

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But those achievements were overshadowed by a shocking physical assault on stage by Will Smith. The King Richard star walked up and slapped presenter Chris Rock after the Tamborine comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head.

Will Smith later apologized to the film Academy and fellow Oscar nominees during his tearful acceptance speech for the best actor award. On Monday he posted a formal apology to Rock on Instagram.

In recent years, the highest-rated Oscars were in 2014, when Ellen DeGeneres hosted and 43.7 viewers watched, and in 2016 a total of 34.4 million viewers tuned in to see the show hosted by Chris Rock.

This year marked the first time the Oscars had a host since Jimmy Kimmel emceed the show in 2018.