Some 9.85 million viewers in the United States tuned in on Sunday night, a drop of more than 58% from a year earlier and an all-time low.
Viewership for the latest Oscars slumped to 9.85 million viewers in the United States, a drop of more than 58% from the previous year and an all-time low, according to figures communicated by the ABC channel which broadcast the ceremony.
At the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic that upended Hollywood and the cinema industry, the Oscars presentation evening had attracted 23.6 million American spectators, which was already at the time the worst audience score recorded by the ‘event. This very poor result was expected by the experts and is in line with the lower figures achieved this season by other film awards, such as the Golden Globes (6.9 million spectators in the USA) and the Grammy Awards (8.8 million) .
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This drop in Oscar viewership has been regularly observed in recent years. In 2014 again, the gala evening attracted more than 43 million spectators in front of the small screen. Usually the Oscars are the most watched non-sporting event of the year, but this time they pale in comparison to the broadcast of the first episode of a remake of the series The Equalizer, which attracted 20 million Americans, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey last month, with more than 17 million.
With movie theaters closed for much of 2020, studios have pushed back big productions, like West Side Story by Steven Spielberg or the new version of Dunes. The candidates in the running for the Oscars this year were obviously not familiar to part of the public, like the big winner of the evening, Nomadland, an independent film with a modest budget and with a large part of amateur actors playing themselves. To date, the three-Oscar-winning film has barely made two million dollars at the US box office.
Among the failures noted this year by many experts, the absence of Anthony Hopkins, crowned best actor for The Father. However, exceptionally, the organizers had changed the order of presentation of the statuettes, which traditionally ends with the best feature film, to finish with the Oscar for best actor. “At 83, I did not expect to receive this award, really not”, apologized from Wales Anthony Hopkins in a video posted on Instagram. He also paid tribute to the memory of Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer last year after filming his last film “The Blues of Ma Rainey”. The star was considered the big favorite in the category of best actor.
The Hollywood flagship ceremony was held exceptionally in a historic station in the center of Los Angeles, where stars in the running and technical teams could work while respecting health instructions and physical distance. Critics’ reviews of the ceremony were mixed on Monday, with many lamenting the lack of humor and musical numbers that are a hallmark of such great American-style shows.
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Oscars audience plummets