Oscars witnesses record-low TV ratings, ceremony termed as 'driverless and inconsistent'

WION Web Team New Delhi Feb 11, 2020, 01.31 PM(IST)

Joaquin Phoenix Best Actor Oscars Photograph:( AFP )

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Oscar awards on Sunday may have been a historic one Korean film 'Parasite' swept the awards ceremony, but the event saw the lowest TV ratings of all time.

Oscar awards on Sunday may have been a historic one Korean film 'Parasite' swept the awards ceremony, but the event saw the lowest TV ratings of all time. ABC- the channel which airs the ceremony every year- recorded 23.6 million viewership- touching an all-time low for Hollywood's biggest night. 

The numbers are even lower than in 2018 when it had recorded  29.6 million viewership. The numbers may seem big for TV standards- but for Oscars, it certainly is a small number considering the ceremony attracted over 40 million viewers till 6 years back. 

Critics point out at several reasons for the show low ratings. The year's biggest blockbuster 'Avengers: Endgame' did not win a single award which was a dampener for many fans. There were also multiple other options available on TV in terms of entertainment and critics felt there were fewer takers for the traditional ceremony. In Pics: Meet the winners of Oscars 2020

On Sunday night, 'Parasite' made history by becoming the first non-English language film to win the best picture, beating box office favourites like 'Joker' and 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.' Joaquin Phoenix and Brad Pitt were among the acting winners.
The show, which ran 3-1/2 hours, was held without a host for a second year and was slammed by reviewers for random moments, inconsistencies and a surprise but puzzling performance by rapper Eminem of a 17-year-old song.

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"The 2020 Oscars bellowed out for a ringmaster to harness what soon became a lacklustre circus," wrote Dominic Patten at entertainment website Deadline.

The New York Times` James Poniewozik called it a "driverless" ceremony, while Variety`s Caroline Framke said it was "frantic" but ultimately saved by the genuine emotion and joy over the 'Parasite' win.

The Los Angeles Times bemoaned the inclusion of music and television stars, saying the telecast "struggled to entertain let alone find relevance in the art form it was honouring."

There has been a decline in viewership for live events in recent years. Both Emmys and Grammys witnessed a record low viewership this year, but the Oscars ceremony was still the biggest draw of Sunday night on television. Nielsen said the Academy Awards also dominated conversations on social media, producing 20.6 million social interactions on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms, up 16 % from 2019.

The ceremony saw performances by Elton John, Billie Eilish and Jannelle Monae. Steve Martin and Chris Rock opened the show with a monologue and actors like Mark Ruffalo, Rebel Wilson and Rami Malek were presenters at the awards. 

(With inputs from Reuters)

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