Categorized | 4-Featured, Broadcast TV

Academy Awards Averages 41.3 Million Viewers; Most Since 2005

Posted on 08 March 2010 by Bill Gorman


ABC is now reporting that the 82nd Annual Academy Awards averaged 41.3 million viewers, up almost 14% from last year’s 36.3 million, and making it the most viewed Academy Awards since 2005’s show.

Here are the historical Academy Awards ratings and viewership for comparison.

Academy Awards TV Ratings Data, 1953-2009:

Year Net HH Rating HH Share Homes (million) Viewers (million)
Best Picture $/ 30 sec. ad
2009 ABC 20.6 31.0 23.567 36.310 Slumdog Millionaire $993,400
2008 ABC 18.7 29.0 21.073 32.006 No Country For Old Men $1,820,000
2007 ABC 23.6 37.0 26.317 40.172 The Departed $1,665,800
2006 ABC 23.1 35.0 25.405 38.939 Crash $1,646,800
2005 ABC 25.4 38.0 27.876 42.139 Million Dollar Baby $1,503,000
2004 ABC 26.0 40.0 28.212 43.531 Lord of the Rings: Return of the King $1,503,100
2003 ABC 20.4 32.0 21.769 33.043 Chicago $1,345,800
2002 ABC 25.4 42.0 26.832 41.782 A Beautiful Mind $1,290,000
2001 ABC 26.2 40.0 26.800 42.944 Gladiator $1,450,000
2000 ABC 29.2 48.0 29.437 46.333 American Beauty $1,305,000
1999 ABC 28.6 46.0 28.466 45.615 Shakespeare in Love $1,000,000
1998 ABC 34.9 55.0 34.160 55.249 Titanic $950,000
1997 ABC 27.4 46.0 26.531 40.075 The English Patient $850,000
1996 ABC 30.3 50.0 29.016 44.867 Braveheart $795,000
1995 ABC 32.5 53.0 31.005 48.279 Forrest Gump $700,000
1994 ABC 31.1 49.0 29.296 45.083 Schindler’s List $643,500
1993 ABC 31.2 51.0 29.047 45.735 Unforgiven $607,800
1992 ABC 29.8 50.0 27.446 44.406 The Silence ofthe Lambs
1991 ABC 28.4 48.0 26.440 42.727 Dances With Wolves
1990 ABC 27.9 48.0 25.700 40.375 Driving Ms. Daisy $450,000
1989 ABC 29.8 50.0 26.940 42.619 Rain Main $375,000
1988 ABC 29.4 49.0 26.050 42.227 Last Emperor $360,000
1987 ABC 27.5 43.0 24.040 37.190 Platoon $335,000
1986 ABC 27.3 43.0 23.450 37.757 Out of Africa $320,000
1985 ABC 27.7 45.0 23.520 38.855 Amadeus $315,000
1984 ABC 30.3 50.0 25.390 42.051 Terms of Endearment $275,000
1983 ABC 38.0 59.0 31.654 53.235 Gandhi $245,000
1982 ABC 33.6 53.0 27.384 46.245 Chariots of Fire
1981 ABC 31.0 58.0 24.120 39.919 Ordinary People
1980 ABC 33.7 55.0 25.713 48.978 Kramer vs. Kramer
1979 ABC 34.6 63.0 25.770 46.301 Deer Hunter
1978 ABC 36.3 68.0 26.460 48.501 Annie Hall
1977 ABC 31.1 63.0 22.140 39.719 Rocky
1976 ABC 35.5 64.0 24.710 46.751 One… Coockoo’s Nest
1975 NBC 35.0 62.0 23.980 48.127 GodfatherPart II
1974 NBC 36.7 68.0 24.300 44.712 The Sting
1973 NBC 37.8 68.0 24.490 The Godfather
1972 NBC 38.7 70.0 24.030 The French Connection
1971 NBC 38.2 70.0 22.960 Patton
1970 ABC 43.4 78.0 25.390 Midnight Cowboy
1969 ABC 31.8 56.0 18.130 Oliver!
1968 ABC 34.4 67.3 19.260 In the Heat of the Night
1967 ABC 41.2 74.9 22.620 A Man for All Seasons
1966 ABC The Sound of Music
1965 ABC 37.4 69.3 19.670 My Fair Lady
1964 ABC 37.0 71.3 18.980 Tom Jones
1963 ABC 37.2 71.0 18.526 Lawrence of Arabia
1962 ABC 37.1 75.4 18.179 West Side Story
1961 ABC The Apartment
1960 NBC 45.8 82.4 20.430 Ben-Hur
1959 NBC 46.7 82.0 20.284 Gigi
1958 NBC 46.3 78.2 19.210 The Bridge on the River Kwai
1957 NBC 37.3 69.2 14.187 Around The World In 80 Days
1956 NBC 48.0 70.0 16.251 Marty
1955 NBC 45.0 57.0 18.785 On the Waterfront
1954 NBC 55.0 82.0 14.953 From Here To Eternity
1953 NBC 49.7 82.0 10.912 The Greatest Show On Earth

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*2006-2009 results are Live+SD, all previous years are Live viewing.

Nielsen Ratings Data: ©2010 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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21 Responses to “Academy Awards Averages 41.3 Million Viewers; Most Since 2005”

  1. Water1111 says:

    probably becuase of avater.

  2. nkinsey says:

    well, THAT and just the general fact of (pretend) pandering to the masses, even though the same type of movies won the awards – the indies

  3. MapleLeafer says:

    ABC been airing it all these years but NBC did have them in the early years but since 1976 ABC’s had. ABC was one hell of a network back in the late 70s it sucks now.

    The thing about the Oscars back then is that you knew about almost every movie that was released b/c they were popular theatrical hits. Now in days you always have a whole bunch of films that you don’t know about. It was refreshing to see The Blind Side, Precious, Invictus, and Avatar all get nominated. I guess the Oscars have really stopped the over exposure of independent card since No Country for Old Men won.

  4. Jared says:

    is there anything wrong with independent movies winning awards? if they’re the better movie, they deserve to win.

  5. Brandon says:

    Jared is right on the money. The BEST picture should win…not the most popular.

  6. Aj says:

    It was without a doubt the best Academy Awards I’ve seen in years. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were great and there was just about zero political correctness in their jokes. The dance routine was bit artsy for the overall feel of the show but everything else was great. I still feel that Precious should never have been nominated, I’ve seen the movie and I know others who have and personally I think there’s very little about it that’s awards worthy. Overall though the night had a great feel and I hope they can do as well next year.

  7. J says:

    “is there anything wrong with independent movies winning awards? if they’re the better movie, they deserve to win.”

    Exactly, the grammy’s are a joke because they are essentially a popularity contest. I’m very glad that the Oscar’s actually award based on quality and not popularity. If you want to see popular movies win awards, that’s what the people’s choice are for.

  8. Dingo says:

    If the Academy wants average people to watch the Oscar telecast, it will have to nominate movies average people have seen. Some years, the Academy doesn’t seem to care as much and those years tend to result in a smaller audience. The film buffs will always be there. The question is how to get casual viewers. Avatar is a better draw than The Hurt Locker.

  9. William Hughes says:

    Lets get more Viewers!

    Lets expand the Nominees so we put in a Couple of Mainstream Films so Viewers can have something to root for! (It doesn’t matter because we’re voting for the “Artsy” Movies anyways, since we care less about who watches them besides ourselves!)

    I saw this coming, needless to say it was “Business as usual” for my DVD Player last night!

  10. Caio says:

    Well, the results were a huge ( and great ) surprise for me. Sure, there are great popular movies that should’ve been nominated to the Oscars ( Some even won ) in previous years. Avatar isn’t one of them. It was probably the worst movie of the 10 ( Next to The Blind Side ). Sure, it deserved every single technical Oscar, perhaps even directing, but never Best Picture ( And everyone was sure it was gonna take it! ).

    I just wonder how much the adds costed, assuming the telecast would follow last years trend, but ending up being the biggest one in 5 years.

  11. Erik says:

    Yes but Jared for the past few years the independent films have NOT been the best. Slumdog while good was nowhere near the quality of Benjamin Button, or Dark Knight and WALL-E for that matter.

  12. Capnbob says:

    http://boxofficemojo.com/oscar/
    shows that the Hurt Locker is by far the smallest domestic grossing Oscar winning film. Even NCFOM did $162M worldwide ($74M US) (HL = $19M total)
    Most best pictures are amongst the more popular films of the year – certainly typically the biggest independent films of the year (which is not that small any more) plus most acclaimed studio pics. Since most big grossing popcorn flicks are never in contention it is rare that anyone should care about them being nominated (LOTR, DK and Avatar being recent exceptions).

    A big change will come when an animated film (undoubtedly from Pixar) wins best picture. I don’t know what more they can do given how amazing UP and WALL-E were. I saw all but 2 of the best picture films and UP was my favorite (then An Education, then Hurt Locker).

    BTW – Benjamin Button sucked the proverbial… but Dark Knight FTW!

  13. Capnbob says:

    @Caio – the smart money was always on Hurt Locker. No-one in the know ever thought Avatar had a chance with Academy members. Not that they wouldn’t pick such a big movie (they picked Titanic, which was bigger than Avatar) but Avatar wasn’t good enough in the ways the Academy values. BTW – I loved Avatar but I wouldn’t have chosen it for best picture either – UP FTW!

  14. forg says:

    Inglorious Basterds would have been a good alternative if the voters want a box office hit and widely praised movie, oh well.

    And you also can discount the draw of Sandra Bullock and Jeff “The Dude” Bridges in the ratings, they are loved by the masses and people want to see them win their Oscars

  15. forg says:

    ^ correction: “can’t discount”

  16. Frank says:

    Looks like Whoopie Goldberg has hosted three of the highest rated Oscars in the last 20 years (‘93,’95 and ‘98), also the years with 3 big movies in contention and winning (Unforgiven, Forrest Gump and Titanic). Seems like the fans tune in for the movies nominated, with a little nod maybe going to the host.

  17. forg says:

    And well since AVATAR will have sequels, it will have a chance to win anyway in the future and the Academy Awards are probably happy with that :D

  18. AtCat says:

    forg, you gotta realize that sequels are often not as good as the original, look at Transformers.

  19. forg says:

    ^ well let’s give Avatar the benefit of the doubt and since the story of Avatar 1 is mediocre there is a wide room for improvement

  20. Schmoker says:

    My hope is that they expand they Oscars to 20 pic candidates, so that the show could then be just 2 solid hours of people standing on an awkwardly placed podium and introducing clip montages, while the other hour would consist of several ungainly, pretentious and demeaning dance numbers. At the end of the show, they could run a scrawl telling you who won. Or you could go to the Oscar web site to find out.

    Man, that was one of the most boring Oscars of all time. I know people say that all awards shows are ungainly, boring beasts, but that is not always true. Occasionally they can be very funny and spontaneous. It was obvious this time, however, both of those things were verboten.

    But at least Adam Shankman got some red carpet time, so I bet his mom is happy.


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