Oscar Ratings Fall 4%, But People Loved The Show

Moonlight’s Best Picture win, following an unprecedented mix-up, garnered more Tweets than any other Oscar moment. Here, La La Land ‘producer Jordan Horowitz hands over the Best Picture award to Moonlight’s writer/director Barry Jenkins. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Viewership for the film industry’s biggest night–and TV’s second most expensive–fell yet again this year. Ratings for the Sunday’s Oscars broadcast hit a nine-year low and viewership dropped about 4% from last year.

An average of 32.9 million viewers watched this year’s 89th Academy Awards, and the telecast garnered a 9.1 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, which marks a 13% drop. Last year’s show boasted 34.2 million viewers–an 8% drop from 2015–and a 10.5 rating in the demo.

The viewership decline comes despite predictions that ratings would increase for the ceremony, as they did for this year’s Grammys and Golden Globes. Audiences have tuned in for award shows more than they did last year, likely hoping to catch the fiery political moments they promise. The well-reviewed host Jimmy Kimmel–who opened the show with “Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?” and blamed Donald Trump for the “225 countries that now hate us”– delivered on that promise, as did presenters and winners. Best Makeup and Hairstyling winner Alessandro Bertolazzi dedicated his award to immigrants and presenter Gael García Bernal condemned Trump’s proposed wall. Yet those political statements, John Legend’s lauded performance and Viola Davis’ tear-jerking speech weren’t enough to draw top viewership in today’s fragmented TV market.

In fact, the political moments may have caused the drop in…