A new low for Hollywood’s biggest night – ABC’s telecast of the Academy Awards on Sunday reached its smallest audience ever of 23.6 million viewers.
According to Associated Press, “The Nielsen company said Sunday night’s audience was down 20 percent from a year ago. The previous low-water mark for the Oscars was the 26.5 million people who watched in 2018.” The Oscars’ low ratings follows the trend with other award shows like the Grammys and the Emmys, which have taken viewership hits recently.
A film in a foreign language won best picture when Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite, a comedy-drama-thriller took the big prize. Bong also won the awards for best director and best original screenplay. He gave most of his speeches in Korean with interpreter Sharon Choi, when he won the first one, he stopped and noted in English: “This is very first Oscar to South Korea.”
The Oscars were held sooner in the year than usual, and that may have prevented the show from building buzz.
“It was too predictable, too white and too boring,” said Tom O’Neil, founder of Goldderby.com, an awards show news website.
The actors who took the four biggest prizes — Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern — had also swept previous awards, so there were few surprises and few indelible moments, he said on Monday.
“The only suspense of the evening was for best picture, and the average viewer hadn’t seen ‘Parasite’ or ‘1917,’ so they weren’t emotionally invested,” O’Neil said.
For the second straight year, the Oscars went hostless, a handful of critics felt the lack of host was a handicap this year.
Dominic Patten of Deadline said the show “bellowed out for a ringmaster to harness what soon became a lackluster circus.”
The Oscars may have been host-free but that didn’t stop the previous five-time Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais, taking to Twitter with his own acid-tongued monologue throughout the broadcast. The comedian reading the situation and celebrity bubble correctly, tweeted a day after the 92nd Academy Awards;
“I have nothing against the most famous people in the world using their privileged, global platform to tell the world what they believe,” the comedian and five-time Golden Globes host tweeted the day after the 92nd annual Academy Awards.
“I even agree with most of it,” Gervais said to his more than 14 million followers. “I just tried to warn them that when they lecture everyday, hard working people, it has the opposite effect.”