Praise Abounds for Oscar Telecast Despite Fourth Lowest Ratings Ever

The latest Academy Awards on Sunday garnered the fourth-lowest viewership in Oscar history, with only 19.5 million viewers tuning in. Despite this, several mainstream outlets, as pointed out by John Nolte of Breitbart, chose not to report the awards negatively, opting instead to spin the low viewership in a more positive manner.

Nolte highlighted the spin by noting that the Oscar telecast attracted 43.7 million viewers in 2014 and 30 million in 2019.

For instance, The Hollywood Reporter touted “TV Ratings: Oscars Achieve Post-Pandemic Highs.”

Meanwhile, The Wrap’s headline read, “Oscars 2024 Achieve Four-Year Viewership High With 19.5 Million.”

The Academy Awards “reached a four-year peak in total viewers,” the publication stated, “reflecting a 4% rise compared to the 18.8 million viewers who watched the Sunday night broadcast in 2023.”

In response to The Wrap’s focus on a four-year high, Nolte wrote “ask yourself what’s missing.”

“You will notice we get all the ‘good news’ about how Sunday’s telecast improved in total viewers over the 2022 and 2023 telecasts,” he continued. “But-but-but where’s the 18-49 comparison to last year? Why is that left out? And why does that last sentence make that 3.81 rating sound like a triumph?”

Over the last decade, the Academy Awards have experienced a consistent decline in viewership. Sunday presented a significant chance for the telecast to garner strong ratings, starting an hour earlier than usual and featuring “Oppenheimer,” a highly acclaimed blockbuster and frontrunner for Best Picture.

“There was a time when the commerce and art planets always aligned, when movies normal people could actually relate to dominated the Oscar conversation,” Nolte shared. “There was a time when the Oscars were so relevant that a Best Picture nomination blew up that title’s box office. No more.” 

Though many skipped the awards on Sunday, Former President Donald Trump apparently tuned in to live react on Truth Social. Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel read a review of the ceremonies Trump had posted online to the audience. 

Kimmel read all the parts where Trump blasted him for being the worst host, but then notably skipped over the biggest, and perhaps most relatable, critique of the broadcast: “why don’t they just give the Oscars to those who deserve them? Maybe that way their audience and TV ratings will come back from the depths.”