The Academy Awards plummeted to an all-time ratings low with the 2020 telecast, drawing 3 million fewer viewers than the previous bottom in 2018.
Sunday’s broadcast on ABC, according to Nielsen figures, earned 23.6 million viewers — a sharp 20 percent decline from the 2019 ceremony. The show also dropped 31 percent in the ad sales demographic of adults age 18 to 49, Deadline reports. That ratings slide follows an uptick in 2019, when the Oscars expanded its reach for the first time since 2014.
The drop in viewership also hit other award shows this season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox’s Emmys broadcast in September dropped by 32 percent overall; though not as steep, January’s Golden Globes and Grammy Awards broadcasts fell by four percent and six percent, respectively.
The 2020 Academy Awards, which stretched out to over three-and-a-half hours, was the second-straight ceremony to not feature a traditional host. The show featured an opening musical number from Janelle Monáe, a surprise performance from Eminem and a monologue featuring Steve Martin and Chris Rock. In a viral moment from his Best Actor acceptance speech for Joker, Joaquin Phoenix rallied viewers to “fight against injustice.”
One major winner from the event was Bong Joon Ho, whose black-comedy thriller Parasite became the first non-English-language film to earn Best Picture; the filmmaker also took home Best Director and shared Best Original Screenplay with Jin Won Han. Other recipients included Renee Zellweger for Best Actress (Judy), Brad Pitt for Best Supporting Actor (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood), Laura Dern for Best Supporting Actress (Marriage Story) and Taika Waititi for Best Adapted Screenplay (Jojo Rabbit).