The U.S. television audience for the Academy Awards fell 25 percent from a year ago, according to Walt Disney-owned ABC, citing data from Nielsen.
The audience of 23.6 million total TV viewers was an all-time low for the ceremony.
ABC broadcast the ceremony, which did not have a host for the second year in a row and included performances by Janelle Monáe and Eminem. The show’s presenters included Steve Martin and Chris Rock, Mindy Kaling and Salma Hayek.
Ratings for live TV events like the Academy Awards are trending downward as part of an industry-wide decline in linear TV viewership.
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The ceremony drew negative reviews from the Hollywood press. Dominic Patten described it as a “lackluster circus” in Deadline Hollywood.
“Maybe every award show doesn’t need a host? This one sure did,” wrote Daniel Fienberg in the Hollywood Reporter.
“The structure and fluidity that an emcee can help provide was exactly what this telecast was missing, which doesn’t mean that a Billy Crystal or Ricky Gervais would have solved everything that was weird about what was a telecast without a clear theme, message, agenda or cohering purpose,” Fienberg said.
Conservative Americans in particular have long criticized the awards show for its purported glorification of liberal pieties.
The 2020 Oscars were chock full of moments that laid bare Hollywood’s alignment with progressive ideals.
Brad Pitt capped a Hollywood comeback by winning his first Oscar for acting and taking a dig at Senate Republicans.
“They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week. I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it. In the end, the adults do the right thing,” he said.
Advocates of the LGBT community celebrated “Pose” star Billy Porter for his daring grand entrance at Sunday’s Oscars red carpet.
Porter, who has shown up at red carpets in the past year with headline-grabbing, gender-fluid outfits, kicked off the 92nd Academy Awards celebrations in a Giles Deacon custom couture outfit, donning a gold-feathered top and a voluminous printed gown paired with custom Jimmy Choo shoes – also golden.
Meanwhile, actress and singer Janelle Monae delivered a racially conscious message during a pre-show interview with Porter.
“I think the important takeaway is to listen to black women,” Monae said when asked about her role in “Harriet,” a movie about the life of slavery-era hero Harriet Tubman. “When we are in positions of leadership, when we have your support we can do the unthinkable.”
Julia Reichert, the co-director of “American Factory,” appeared to invoke a communist slogan while accepting the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
“Working people have it harder and harder these days — and we believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite,” Reichert said, echoing the last lines of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ Communist Manifesto, in which the German philosophers declare: “Workers of the World, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!”
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(Reuters contributed to this report.)