While the 87th Academy Awards turned out to be a big night for movies like Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which tied for the most Oscar wins with four apiece, the telecast was the lowest-rated Academy Awards ceremony since 2009. 36.6 million viewers tuned in last night, which marks a 18% drop-off from last year's 86th Academy Awards. The show, which ran nearly a half-hour past its scheduled three-hour time slot, averaged a 10.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic, a 17% drop from last year's ceremony and the worst since 2008.
These are not the final numbers, however, since tomorrow's final figures are expected to increase. Last year's telecast hosted by Ellen DeGeneres was the most-watched ceremony since 2000. The show ran from 8:30 PM ET to 11:48 PM ET, with the 3-hour-18-minute ceremony still nowhere close to the all-time longest ceremony, the 2002 Oscars that ran a whopping 4 hours and 22 minutes. Still, the extended run time and the fact that most of the major awards weren't handed out until after 11 PM ET may have contributed to the lower ratings.
Another possible factor is that this year's crop of Best Picture contenders are largely smaller, independent films, which only got limited theatrical releases. The only Best Picture contender to earn more than $100 million at the box office is American Sniper. Last year, four of the Best Picture nominees had earned over $100 million, but eventual winner 12 Years a Slave, only took in $57 million at the box office. This year's winner Birdman only earned $37 million in theaters last year. Do you think The Academy Awards need to be reworked to draw a bigger audience? Chime in with your thoughts below.