Viewership declines for Oscars, which featured an unexpected ending

Anna Winslow, Staff writer

Although the Academy Awards are one of the biggest nights in Hollywood, hardly anyone outside the attendees turned into the 93rd annual Oscars into the event,  which featured an unexpected ending.

The viewership for the Oscars plunged to a new low, with only 10.4 million people watching to find out which film took home the best picture prize, according to That’s a drop of 56 percent from the 23.6 million viewers who watched the program last year. 

The drop in viewership is not surprising because award shows, in general, have faced declining viewership in recent years, according to Viewership during the 2010s plummeted to nearly half of what it had been at the start of the decade. The show in 2010 had accumulated 42 million viewers, but by 2020, only 24 million Americans tuned in, according to 

This change in viewership leads to the question of whether the Oscars can still bring Americans together, as it has for many years. Observers fear that the slip of viewership this year is not a result of COVID-19 but part of a larger trend, according to 

Although the viewership declined, a wide range of advertisers, including Google, General Motors, and Adidas, still paid an estimated $2 million for a 30-second spot on the show, according to 

As for awards, there was a major upset in the Best Actor category. The Best Actor category was not only set to be the last category, which in a typical ceremony would be the Best Picture category, but also a sentimental one, according to

Chadwick Boseman, who passed away from cancer in August, was expected to be named Best Actor for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The Academy Awards producers were going to dedicate the last moments of the ceremony to honoring Boseman’s legacy but, instead, Anthony Hopkins captured Best Actor honors for his work in The Father, according to Hopkins did not attend the ceremony in person or virtually but he did pay tribute to Boseman the day after the Oscars.