Oscar Viewership Up 13% To 18.8 Million
UPDATED WITH FINAL NUMBERS: After a surprisingly eventful ceremony last year, the 2023 Oscars went on without a hitch Sunday. Everything Everywhere All at Once completed its awards-season sweep with a whopping seven trophies, including 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 18.8 million viewers, a 13% increase from last year when the telecast captured 16.6M viewers. The telecast also was up to a 4.0 demo rating, compared with last year’s 3.8.
Both ceremonies still are among the least-watched and lowest-rated in Oscars history, though the ratings have gone up significantly from the hostless 2021 Oscars, which drew an audience of 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 by about 5 million compared with last year, which is a bit of a surprise considering how buzzy The Slap was.
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It was possible that the Academy nominating the two highest-grossing films of the year — Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick — for Best Picture might be enough to stoke additional interest in this year’s show. That certainly has worked in the past, to an extent — and it could be one of the myriad reasons 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 and 10 others.
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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 also might have positively impacted ratings. The last time Kimmel hosted was 2017 and 2018. About 33M people watched in 2017 — the year of the infamous envelope snafu that awarded La La Land the Best Picture trophy when it should have gone to Moonlight — and the number dropped to about 27M in 2018.
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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 $1.3 billion, 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 that the respective star power behind both Top Gun and Avatar, Tom Cruise and James Cameron, didn’t attend this year’s ceremony.
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Check out the list of telecasts over the past two decades to get a wider context of the Oscar audience over the 21st century:
2022: 16.6 million, CODA (Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall)
2021: 10.4 million, Nomandland (No host)
2020: 23.6 million, Parasite (No host)
2019: 29.6 million, Green Book (No host)
2018: 26.5 million, The Shape of Water (Jimmy Kimmel)
2017: 32.9 million, Moonlight (Jimmy Kimmel)
2016: 34.4 million, Spotlight (Chris Rock)
2015: 37.3 million, Birdman (Neil Patrick Harris)
2014: 43.7 million, 12 Years a Slave (Ellen DeGeneres)
2013: 40.3 million, Argo (Seth MacFarlane)
2012: 39.3 million, The Artist (Billy Crystal)
2011: 37.9 million, The King’s Speech (Anne Hathaway/James Franco)
2010: 41.3 million, The Hurt Locker (Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin)
2009: 36.3 million, Slumdog Millionaire (Hugh Jackman)
2008: 32.0 million, No Country For Old Men (Jon Stewart)
2007: 40. 2 million, The Departed (Ellen DeGeneres)
2006: 38.9 million, Crash (Jon Stewart)
2005 42.1 million, Million Dollar Baby (Chris Rock)
2004: 43.5 million, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (Billy Crystal)
2003: 33.0 million, Chicago (Steve Martin)
2002: 41.8 million, A Beautiful Mind (Whoopi Goldberg)
2001: 42.9 million, Gladiator (Steve Martin)