Oscar Viewership Up 12% To 18.7 Million But Still Among Least-Watched Academy Awards Ceremonies

Oscar Viewership Up 12% To 18.7 Million But Still Among Least-Watched Academy Awards Ceremonies

March 13, 2023

After a surprisingly eventful ceremony last year, the 2023 Oscars went on without a hitch. Everything Everywhere All At Once completed its awards season sweep with a whopping seven trophies, including for Best Picture as well as three of the four acting categories. It was the Oscars’ most-awarded film in a decade.

And audiences seemed to respond, if only slightly. The 95th annual ceremony brought in 18.7M viewers, which is a 12% increase from last year when the telecast captured 16.6M viewers. The telecast was also up to a 4.0 demo rating, compared to last year’s 3.8.

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Both ceremonies are still among the least-watched and lowest-rated in Oscars history, although the ratings have gone up nearly quite significantly from the hostless 2021 Oscars (which had an audience of only 10.4M).

Apparently, this was a very social Oscars affair, with the ceremony grabbing about 27.4M total social interactions over the course of the night across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. That’s up about 5M compared to last year, which is a bit of a surprise considering how buzzy the slap was.

There was the possibility that the Academy nominating the two highest-grossing films of the year (Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water) for the top prize might be enough to stoke some additional interest in this year’s show. It was the first time in a long time that any of the nods for the top prizes reflected films that worldwide audiences are actually watching.

That has certainly worked in the past, to an extent — and it could be one of a myriad of reasons that this year’s ceremony saw an uptick in viewers. The most-watched Oscars telecast in history, which brought in about 57M viewers, was the year Titanic was nominated in 1998. It went on to win Best Picture. 

But even before the pandemic, the Oscars were on a steady decline when it came to viewers. 2020’s 23.6M was nothing to bat an eye at when just a few years earlier the viewership had been nearly double.

Bringing back a tried and true host like Jimmy Kimmel could also have positively impacted ratings. The last time Kimmel hosted was 2017 and 2018. About 33M people watched in 2017, and that dropped to about 27M in 2018. (2017 was also the year of the infamous envelope snafu that awarded La La Land the Best Picture trophy when it should have gone to Moonlight.)

The following year, in 2019, Oscars viewership was back up to nearly 30M. That was also the year that Black Panther, which was a historic film that came in at No. 2 at the worldwide box office grossing $1.3B, was also nominated for Best Picture. This year, the film’s sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was shut out of the Best Picture race.

It’s potentially worth nothing the star power behind both Top Gun and Avatar, Tom Cruise and James Cameron, didn’t attend this year’s ceremony either.

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