The 90th Academy Awards on Sunday was the least-watched Oscars ceremony on American television in history, according to data from media research company Nielsen. The 2018 Oscars had an all-time-low viewership of 26.5 million in the United States of America, a 20% drop from the 33 million viewers recorded last year.
Viewership for the Oscars is driven by the box-office success of nominated films. For instance, the most-watched Oscars of all time (since Nielsen started tallying the numbers in 1974) was the 70th awards in 1998, when James Cameron’s blockbuster Titanic won 11 Oscars of 14 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.
This year, only two of the nine Best Picture nominees, Dunkirk and Get Out, made more than $100 million at the American box office. The Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, has so far grossed $57.4 million in America.
The low viewership of the Academy Awards parallels the dwindling television ratings of other top ceremonies such as the Golden Globes, the Grammys and the Super Bowl.
However, the data does not include those who streamed the Academy Awards online or on their mobile phones.