It was an Oscar do-over last night for host Jimmy Kimmel, producers Mike De Luca and Jennifer Todd and Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Following last year’s Envelopegate, which led to Beatty and Dunaway inadvertently announcing a wrong Best Picture winner, the quartet’s second go-around went without a hitch.
The good news did not carry over to ratings for the 90th Academy Awards, which (correctly) crowned The Shape of Water as Best Picture. Last night’s ceremony, which aired live from 8 PM – 11:54 PM EST, drew a 18.9 Live+Same Day rating in the metered market households. That was off 16% from last year’s 22.4 rating, which was a nine-year low. The 18.9 appears to be an all-time low for the Oscars, well below the previous low ratings point, logged with the 2008 telecast (21.9), hosted by Jon Stewart, when No Country For Old Men won Best Picture.
That, despite the fast that The Shape of Water was the the highest-grossing Best Picture winner in five years.
Last year, the 22.4 metered market rating translated to 32.9 million viewers — also a nine-year low — and a 9.1 rating among adults 18-49. We will update with viewership and demo numbers when they become available later today. (Last night’s metered-market total does not include ratings for the Boston TV market, which was hit by severe weather.)
The best that Hollywood’s big night has done in the first round of ratings over the past decade-plus was back in 2005. That show, hosted by Chris Rock, got a 30.1 metered market households. Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby won Best Picture that year, and the broadcast went on to score 42.1 million viewers in the final number. With 12 Years a Slave winning Best Picture, the 2014 Oscars fronted by Ellen DeGeneres (27.9 metered market HH rating) drew the biggest overall audience of the 21st century, with 43.7 million tuning in.