While Film Twitter was ablaze last night discussing the minute details of the 93rd Oscars ceremony over the course of the three and a half hour show, the general public was alarmingly quiet – because they weren’t watching.
The Nielsen ratings are in, and the 2021 Oscars were an all-time low for the event described as “Hollywood’s biggest night”.
It wasn’t just an all-time low, however. The 2020 Oscars were also, at the time, the lowest ever recorded, and the 2021 ceremony managed to drop 58% from that. Yes, that’s 58% percent lower than the least watched Oscars ever.
9.85 million people watched last night’s ceremony, with an absolutely brutal 1.9 million among the key 18-49 demo (a 64.2% drop in this demo from last year).
While the number on paper is staggeringly low, it was also to be expected. With the state of the industry this year, people had been complaining loud and often about how few of the year’s nominees they had seen. There was no Black Panther up for awards last night, no Joker or Get Out that had ignited a spark across demographics where many people were tuning in to see if their favorites would win. There hadn’t been months of televised awards shows with celebrities giving speeches that had people at the office talking the next day.
While the ceremony’s producers tried any number of techniques to spice up the evening, people by and large didn’t seem to care.
The question of how much this ratings drop will loom over next year’s ceremony – what changes might be made, what might go back to normal – will be one discussed all year long undoubtedly. Is this a fluke caused by the pandemic year we’ve had? Is this a sign of what to expect in the future? We shall see.