Speed Reads

2020 Oscars

The Oscars just drew its smallest audience ever

The Oscars received some rare good news last year ratings-wise, but this year? Not so much.

The 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday drew an estimated 23.6 million viewers, the smallest audience in the show's history, Variety reports. This is down from the 29.6 million people who tuned into the 2019 Oscars, which was the first time the ratings for the show had improved in five years. The previous low for the Oscars was 26.5 million viewers in 2018.

This continues the trend of awards show ratings slipping after the most recent Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys all shed viewership. The 2019 Emmys, in fact, was a total ratings disaster, plunging to just 6.9 million viewers.

Sunday's Academy Awards saw Parasite, which grossed $165 million at the worldwide box office, surprisingly take Best Picture in a history-making upset over 1917. Other films to win Oscars included the $1 billion-grossing DC hit Joker and Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, the Quentin Tarantino movie that was also a box office success story. An unusual number of musical performances made up the telecast, including one from Grammy-sweeping Billie Eilish, which was heavily advertised beforehand. None of this, though, could stave off the ratings decline.

This year's Oscars was also the second in a row with no host. That format was originally a complete accident, having come about after comedian Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the 2019 show due to old offensive tweets. But when the 2019 Oscars improved in the ratings, the idea of going host-less stuck around. After not achieving the same success for round two, might a host be brought back in 2021? Could it finally be time for Dwayne Johnson to host and give us what he promised would be the "most fun and entertaining Oscars ever"? Help us, The Rock. You're our only hope.