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New York (CNN Business) – The most important night in Hollywood, the delivery of the Oscars, was also the one with the lowest audience.
The 93rd Academy Awards tried to cover a lost year in film with a load of intrigue. The ceremony included a venue change that allowed for a maskless audience, a film-style production directed by director Steven Soderbergh, and a format change with a surprise ending. But none of that could save the Oscars from having the lowest audience ratings in their history, by a considerable margin.
The prestigious awards show drew an average of 9.8 million viewers to ABC on Sunday, according to early Nielsen figures. This figure is 58% lower than last year, which at the time was the edition of the Oscars with the lowest audience, in which 23.6 million viewers were registered.
The show remains one of the most watched television events. However, its number of viewers represents a sharp drop from what it used to be. Just seven years ago, the Oscars had more than 40 million viewers.
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So why have they lost so much audience? For countless reasons.
Audience ratings for awards ceremonies in general have suffered during the pandemic. The number of people who tuned in to the Emmys, Grammys and Golden Globes has recently plummeted.
In addition, the Oscars also faced the challenge that many of the films nominated for major awards were not well known to the general public. Hollywood retained many of the major films, with the hope that audiences would return to theaters later this year and in 2022. The Oscars are a kind of announcement to go to the movies, and many people have not been able to. do it in more than a year due to the pandemic.
As for the show itself, the reviews were very mixed.
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Some critics acknowledged the uniqueness of the event and that they did the best job possible, considering the circumstances. Others felt that it was too strange for their own good.
The decision to move the award for best picture from the end of the event to an earlier segment was the most notable change. The consensus was that the show tweaked the categories in the hopes that Chadwick Boseman, the clear favorite for the best actor award and who tragically passed away last year, would win. This would give the show and Boseman, who was nominated for his work on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a huge and emotional farewell.
Instead, the Oscars came to a disappointing end when the award went to Anthony Hopkins for his performance in “The Father.” Hopkins did not even attend to accept the Oscar.
“It is true that simply organizing these awards during the pandemic allowed experimentation, while easing the usual pressure to maximize viewership,” wrote Brian Lowry, media critic for CNN, in his review. “That is the only reasonable explanation for changing the traditional order of awards and awarding the best picture before the major acting categories, setting the stage for the awkward end of the night.”
Although the number of viewers dropped considerably, Lowry added: ‘It will be difficult to determine to what extent this goes beyond the hands of the producers and to what extent it is due, at least in part, to a broadcast that has too often given the impression of being a fundraising campaign on public television. ‘