Oscars 2021 TV Ratings: Academy Awards at New Lows

Yuh-Jung Youn 2021 Oscars Win

The Oscars went low in 2021 — and that’s after a significant loss last year.

According to the fast-affiliate-based numbers from Nielsen, just 9.85 million viewers tuned in on April 25 for the award show recognizing talent in film. The Academy Awards also received a 1.9 rating in the key demo among adults 18-49. Those are record lows.

In 2020, 23.6 million people tuned in, and the ceremony had a 5.3 rating. (That, too, was a big dip from the previous award show in 2019, when it had 29.56 million viewers and a 7.7 rating.)

The Academy Awards once again went without a host (as it has since 2018 when Jimmy Kimmel was at the helm). Regina King kicked off the night, which ran just over three hours, by walking into Union Station and up onto the stage and delivering what otherwise would have been an opening monologue the likes of which we’d get with a host.

The format itself was a bit different, with the musical performances airing as a special before the awards were handed out beginning at 8/7c. That may have contributed to its low ratings. There also weren’t any clips played for nominees; instead, the presenters shared details about each that could have also turned people away from watching.

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As usually happens against the Oscars, the rest of the primetime lineup was in reruns. There were, however, new episodes of shows like Fear the Walking Dead and Mare of Easttown.