Oscars viewership hits four-year high on ABC

March 12, 2024 - 11:05 AM
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John Cena performs on stage during the presentation of the award for Costume Design during the Oscars show at the 96th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 10, 2024. (Reuters/Mike Blake)

Sunday’s Oscars telecast that honored atomic bomb drama “Oppenheimer” reached a four-year high in viewership with an average audience of roughly 19.5 million on ABC, the Walt Disney-owned DIS.N network said on Monday.

READ: Full list of Oscar winners at the 96th Academy Awards

The audience grew 4% from last year, when 18.8 million people watched the film industry’s highest honors.

“Oppenheimer,” the blockbuster biopic about the race to build the first atomic bomb, won seven awards on Sunday, including best picture.

READ: ‘Oppenheimer’ crowned best picture at the Oscars | Universal Pictures dominates the Academy Awards with “Oppenheimer’

On social media, the Oscars ranked as the No. 1 program on Sunday night, generating 28.5 million interactions, also roughly 4% above last year, ABC said.

The #Oscars hashtag was the top trending topic in the United States on X throughout the telecast, and the most-used hashtag on X worldwide on Sunday, the network added.

Jimmy Kimmel returned to host the ceremony, and the show earned generally positive reviews. The festivities started an hour earlier than usual, a move designed to capture more viewers.

“It turns out that great wins, emotional speeches, Ryan Gosling singing, and John Cena getting naked are all you need to produce a great Academy Awards ceremony,” wrote Kevin Fallon of The Daily Beast.

The show celebrated two of last year’s highest-grossing films, “Oppenheimer” and feminist doll adventure “Barbie.” It featured memorable musical numbers, including Gosling dressed in hot pink to perform “I’m Just Ken,” and comedy bits such as John Cena’s appearing naked to present best costume design.

Viewership of many awards ceremonies has dropped in recent years as audiences have ditched traditional television for streaming and social media.

The highest-rated Academy Awards telecast was in 1998, when megahit “Titanic” swept the honors. More than 57 million people tuned in that year.

In 2021, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oscar ratings hit their low point with 10.5 million viewers.

— Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler

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