The 2019 Academy Awards brought in 29.6 million viewers, which means that this year’s ratings dropped by 20%. The previous low was 2018’s televised ceremony with an average of 26.5 million viewers. Last year’s Oscars scored a 7.7 rating in adults from ages 18-49 in fast national ratings, but this year, the score dropped to 5.3. The numbers for the most anticipated American awards show are still high compared to other programs, but the stark contrast is there as 40-52 million viewers were the norm more than six years ago.
Numbers of factors may contribute to the low viewership, which were also observed this year at the Grammys and Emmys. One of them is that the 2020 Oscars had no host, just like in 2019. Although the ceremony seemed to flow well without a host, critics still remained outspoken about these recent changes.
In addition, Carolin Framke, a TV critic for Variety, wrote that “The 92nd annual Academy Awards quickly lost its own plot amid a million distractions courtesy of ABC’s frenetic, often baffling production decisions. For about half the broadcast, the Oscars felt like a train that got jogged off its tracks.” The show was 33 minutes longer than the allotted time for a total of 3 long hours. It wouldn’t be surprising if viewers tuned in and out of the show, causing viewership to fluctuate.
Though the ratings may have been disappointing, the 92nd Academy Awards still stands as a historical one, with Bong Joon-Ho’s South Korean thriller Parasite taking Best Picture, along with Best Director, International Foreign Film, and Original Screenplay. The ceremony marked the momentous day in history where Parasite was the first non-English and first South Korean film to win Best Picture.