Updated Ratings: Oscars Hit a 6-Year Low in Audience

Oscars 2015 Ratings

OK, so maybe not everything is awesome.

ABC’s Neil Patrick Harris-hosted broadcast of the 2015 Academy Awards on Sunday night drew 36.6 million total viewers and a 10.8 rating (per updated fast nationals), down 16 and 18 percent from last year’s finals.

That makes it the least watched Oscars since 2009, when 36.3 million people watched as Hugh Jackman emceed and Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture.

All that said, marvel at the LEGO Oscar I worked all night (or at least 90 seconds) on:
MWM-Lego_Oscar

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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88 Comments
  1. ABG. says:

    Ratings we always going to drop, most of the films weren’t box office hits. And Ellen has a bigger fanbase as well.

    That said, I think aside from the opening number, NPH wasn’t great and I don’t think he’ll come back.

    • ABG. says:

      were always*

    • A fan of TV says:

      I have to agree. Nearly every joke fell flat and he was apologizing for them as he went. The opening number was what NPH does best and it was excellent, but please, please, never get him to do a long-gag like that Octavia Spencer-with-the-box bit ever again. Painfully unfunny save for Octavia’s classic face when NPH said ‘no snacks.’

  2. Ellinas1978 says:

    Worse host in recent memory, going as far back as Dave, who was pretty bad.

    • ABG. says:

      I thought he was better than the Dave Franco/Anne Hathaway and Alec Baldwin/Steve Martin combos, but he certainly wasn’t great.

    • Znachki says:

      I didn’t think Neil was that awful, but his writers – they get an F

      • The Beach says:

        So true. His writers sucked. So many jokes either fell flat or were just plain awkward (Steve Carell, Oprah, because your rich, etc). NPH is a lot better suited for the Tonys than the Oscars.
        Plus, as overly long as this show was running, I didn’t understand why they did such a long tribute to Sound of Music and then have Gaga come out and sing all the same songs.

        • A fan of TV says:

          Somebody in a suit somewhere is working very hard to re-package Gaga as a singer, not a pop star. And Gaga always could sing; she had to cultivate an insane image because no one wanted to sign her when she was unknown and unattractive. But yeah, someone paid someone big bucks to showcase her like that.

    • dan says:

      He was better than Franco/Hathaway, Martin/Baldwin, and Seth McFarlane.

      • Luke says:

        Yep, NPH was better than Franco and McFarlane, but that’s not saying much, he just appeared lost, and it only got worse as the night wore on – having a nearly four hour show was inexcusable, you’d think a room full of film makers would know a bit about pacing.

  3. Lizo says:

    Had less to do with the host than the dirge of boring nominees. It was more of the same old same old, dull depressing artsy films that no one actually wants to watch. Plus, I was super turned off by the lack of diversity in the nominations. So I didn’t care to watch. The technical awards were more interesting

    • MiaB says:

      ^^Co-sign

    • Sally McLinn says:

      Totally agree. I didn’t know half the nominees. Most of them were Brits. I had seen them here or there, but never considered them “big” stars. I wasn’t interested in seeing any of the movies based on subject — a comeback actor? alzheimer’s patient?

      • Tracy says:

        I haven’t seen any of the movies nominated – I rent, stream or buy movies rather than going to the movie theatre but I did read “Still Alice” and the book was incredible! If the movie is even half as good it will be worth seeing!

    • Sia says:

      I agree boring nominees but those weren’t the same old nominees ! Yes they could of added Selma in a couple of categories but why ? To appease people like you who look at race in everything ?

      • Lucifer says:

        The only people who should be blamed for Selma not receiving more nominations is everyone involved with the movie, especially the studio. They began their Oscar campaign far too late, when most of the academy members were on vacation for the holidays.

  4. atxnole says:

    Neil was terrible — effectively every bit bombed and the comedy frankly just wasn’t very good. Guardians of the Galaxy and some other worthy crowd-pleasers probably would have helped bring in a few more viewers.

    • cuius says:

      Agreed – afraid NPH has spent too much time publicising himself around the talk shows and not enough on script writing and rehearsal – now erring on “a legend in his own mind” syndrome.

  5. Tran says:

    One of the worst Oscar telecasts in years. Ellen did way better last year.

  6. Liz says:

    It was boring. Not much about it was funny, and most of it just made me roll my eyes because it was the same old social commentary that feels more like lip service than anything else. I’ll admit I’d tuned out long before the apparently moving acceptance speech by the writer of The Imitation Game (I think?). One other thing, they seemed to spend a lot of time pitching why you should love/go to the movies while trashing the movies a lot of mainstream movie goers enjoy.

    • Lizo says:

      Right!! They talk about how movies are fun and reflect who we are and are about bonding yadda yadda yadda. But then poo on the movies that people actually love. Like I’m sorry, but the films I connected with this past year were Captain America Winter Soldier and Selma (Mockingjay is for 2015 I believe but that one too). It’s just super irritating and patronizing when they talk about those films and heck even put them in a montage, but then refuse to acknowledge them.

      • Sally McLinn says:

        I saw about 5 movies that year: Get on Up (why wasn’t Chadwick nominated?), The Drop (good movie!), A Most Violent Year (engaging), Wild (engaging), and Edge of Tomorrow (better than I thought it would be).
        That was it for me. Rented some movies online.

      • veniascott says:

        I agree the disrespect movies the public really likes I to enjoyed Captian America and Guardian of the Galaxy , the latter was great, I had a great time at the movies, I don’t want to see the same old depressing movies every year.

  7. Robin says:

    The show was incredibly boring. I actually turned it off at 11. I’ve never done that with an Oscar’s telecast.

  8. Harold Wells says:

    I noticed the lack of Joan Rivers name. Too Bad. High School. Glad Harris works out. He looks good. Never thought I would say this but bring back Franko.

  9. Iakovos says:

    Bigger factor: Though we had a BIRDMAN/BOYHOOD/ dark horse AMERICAN SNIPER thing going on, most of the awards were predetermined. The increased coverage and chin music that goes on for months ruins the suspense. That is the core, and until we have an evening of genuine surprises and more focus on motion pictures (and I love me musical theatre too!), the show seems increasingly irrelevant. Would it have been bad to see more of the year in movies good and bad? I thought NPH did fine. When a show is so bloated bits like his predictions do get stale fast. The celebration of THE SOUND OF MUSIC was wonderful but superfluous. Maybe the Academy and TCM can work closer on some of those elements for separate broadcast and leave the show for awards.

  10. Boiler says:

    Just too many award shows. Take away from the importance, if you think it is, of this one

    • Znachki says:

      This is true. Award show overload, plus once you start seeing the trends, all the excitement is gone. The acting categories, for example, were no surprise at all.

  11. Lisa says:

    Do have to admit I did watch Walking Dead & Talking Dead. From what I did see of the Oscars I thought Neil Patrick Harris did an amazing job.

  12. Ann says:

    NPH did a great job. It wasn’t his fault that the movies nominated stunk this year. The magic trick went over everyone’s heads though and fell flat. If he’s given another chance to host, I think he’ll do an even better job.

  13. cr says:

    I was disappointed in the lack of diversity of nominees so didn’t even give a thought to watching this year.

  14. j says:

    the reason that the awards shows are low ratings is that no one pays attention because of the internet. by the time it shows over here in Hawaii, we already know who won and don’t really want to watch it. they should air the Oscars like they would any sporting events – live regardless of what time zone you are in

    • Kendall says:

      Tell that to your local ABC affiliate. It was live on the west coast, so there is an effort being made to get most of the country watching it live. The problem with Hawaii is that it’s so far west that the local station would have to air it in the early afternoon and there’s no way the academy would start the show any later since it ended around midnight EST.

  15. NON FAN says:

    AFTER ALL THE OTHER AWARD SHOWS THESE PEOPLE HAVE,WHO REALLY CARES!

  16. Mary says:

    The show was terribly boring and frankly so was the fashion

  17. MiaB says:

    The Golden Globes may not be as prestigious, but they’re definitely more fun and they hold my attention better. I thought the show was too long, had very little diversity, and no awards went to popular movies. Plus, I think they really bombed on the nominations and that took a lot of the interest.

  18. seawing says:

    I think people are tried of self-indulgent spoiled brats praising themselves. And then, taking their $160,000 gift bags while lecturing us on how racist and unfair the country is. Enough. The people who didn’t watch, made that decision before the show went on.

    • Sally McLinn says:

      Yeh, that’s what I thought about Patricia Arquette’s speech about “equal pay”. There you had Streep who makes 10 movies a year, and Jlo who’s paid $5 Mill from American Idol, and produces and stars in her movies and paid $400,000 a night in Vegas and I thought – “what??”

      • Bekcy says:

        To seewing and Sally McLinn – I think you must be a self-centered individual to think that everyone who supports a cause does so only because it helps themselves. Patricia Arquette wasn’t talking about how much money she makes (though the recent emails leaked from Sony do show that female actors are not getting paid as much as males). She was talking about women in general in this country not getting paid for the same work. She is not self-centered, unlike you when you don’t understand this. Stop thinking of just yourselves, think of other people like Patricia is doing.

        • Gern Blanston says:

          Then she probably should have made that more clear. I didn’t watch the Oscars but, read about the Arquette speech so I was aware of what was going on. This morning when I came into work my boss, who did watch it, was complaining about spoiled movie stars wanting even more money. Twenty minutes later one of my coworkers comes up to me and almost verbatim says the exact same thing. Apparently she did a poor job of expressing her views. Either that or I work with idiots.

          • Bekcy says:

            Maybe you work with idiots. Or perhaps it’s just that they lack a compassion gene. They don’t see compassion in other people (only greedy self-interest) because they don’t have compassion themselves. Very sad.

      • jinx2014 says:

        I wonder how much Arquette will be making on her new TV program??? I wonder if the presenters get paid or they just get the $160,000 gift bag.

      • robin says:

        I think it was the writing. He did look pained by some of what he was given to say. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellen adlibbed most of her stuff. Or she goes for the less obvious joke. Nph writers were slogging along. The only part that seemed real other than the opening was the predictions bit.

  19. Lisa says:

    turned it off w/in the first 30 minutes. right after his “He will F… you. He will kill you…” comment while introducing someone (can’t even remember who). Since when is it OK to use language like that on network TV? Guess I’m behind the times but didn’t appreciate hearing it while sitting in my living room watching TV w/ my daughter at 8:30pm!!

    • Clearly you weren’t listening well enough because he said, “He will find you, and he will kill you”. A joke about the movie ‘Taken’ that Liam Neeson stars in.

      • Lisa says:

        Well, clearly, what he said was NOT clear. We were both watching the program – it was not just on for background noise. We just looked at each other and said “Did he say what I think he said?” and BOTH agreed it sounded like that. However, I DO appreciate you cleaning this up for me. It makes me feel better that they would have probably bleeped out the other then. Thank you.

    • DYS says:

      You’re mad about something that wasn’t even said. Oops to you.

      • Lisa says:

        well, i would like to hear it again because we both thought that was what he said. I really hope you are right.

        • Seriously? says:

          Nice try for recovery–that’s EXACTLY what he said, “He will find you, and he will kill you”. Before heading right for outraged indignation and massive pearl clutching, try getting your facts right! SMDH

          • Lisa says:

            I am not outraged or mad. I just turned it off. I really have hope still that I was wrong. BOTH of us that were here thought that is what was said and we were both sitting here watching it – didn’t just have it on for background. And for the record, I did try to find out exactly what was said and I have not been able to find it replayed anywhere.

    • Smh says:

      Nph said find you kill you. Part of taken series that revived Liam’s career.

  20. Luke says:

    Maybe if they nominated more films that people actually got to see, more people would tune in, when American Sniper made more than all the other nominees combined, it’s not hard to see why people didn’t tune in, I find it interesting that the Academy increased the number of Best Picture nominees to ten the year after The Dark Knight was snubbed, but they still don’t nominate mass appeal movies anyway, so why did they bother? – just go back to 5 films again.

  21. Sally McLinn says:

    You gotta tie in the Awards with movie attendance. No one’s interested in movies anymore. Everyone seems to be watching streaming services, TV and movies, Netflix and AMZ (I know I am).

    the last time I went to the movies, I saw The most violent year, and paid $11! Yipes. It wasn’t a bad movie, in fact, it was quite engaging,but I would have waited for it to go online.
    Another factor: The Brits have taken over. Many Americans aren’t as familiar with them (like they do Hugh Jackman, an Aussie).
    Another factor: Most of those movies had un-interesting or sad storylines. Who wants to see a woman with Alzheimer’s? That’s why animation wins at the boxo every time.

    Also, more Hollywood top stars/actors are on TV. Have you noticed? So we don’t have to go to the movies to see the biggest names. I suspect Tom Cruise will be on HBO shortly.

  22. Little Scarf Girl says:

    I liked the opening number and the box of predictions, but I thought the whole thing was long, boring, and people REALLY need to rehearse their acceptance speeches. Keep them short, sweet, and to the point. These rambling speeches thanking everyone from the director to their dog, and adding in long bits about social issues … some of the speeches were just awkward. And I didn’t get the whole scene where NPH was missing his suit. I kept waiting for a punchline that never came. I liked Lady Gaga’s tribute when it finally aired, but the show was going until after midnight! Some of us have to work in the morning. :(

  23. Lerbert says:

    I agree with pretty much everything here including that too many awards shows are being televised in a compressed time frame so that biggest award is basically just an end point. The role of host is basically thankless. I doubt anyone can do it now without being panned in some way. Also the level of wealth and consumption on show at these awards is also out-of-step with the times. I think the approach to go bigger because we can is also a detriment. Focus should be back on the craft of movie making.

  24. venia says:

    NPH was not the problem . The probelm is they do ot nominated film people really go see. I did not see any of the films nominated and frankly the show was boring and the same people and same type of movies when every year. Also the show was very boring and to series and full of politics and no fun at all in a celabration of movies. I am sick and tired of all the popular movies being put into the special effects slot. I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy it was a well done movie and deserve some kind of attention. It was fun and refresing , adn this ok. The Oscars voters do not respect the public and us a movie goers, they feel we know nothing and they no everything and it’s funny we make those people , but hay that does not matter.

  25. S says:

    The only exciting awards were honestly Best Actor and Best Picture. I’m glad I saw Lady Gaga, because she was EVERYTHING in the show last night. And seeing Graham Moore’s speech was particularly touching. NHonestly, I only needed to watch a few moments live and rest I can catch up on at my leisure.

  26. cjeffery7 says:

    NPH was the least of Oscars problems this year (and i think he did an admirable job, i’m not one to judge a host harshly, i actually liked seth mcfarlane’s job). as other people have already stated there was a severe lack of diversity in the nominees and most of the nominated films most people haven’t ever heard of, nor will they afterward. i consider myself a medium to low level cinephile and most of the nominated features i would never have heard of, and i still didn’t see, if i didn’t read entertainment weekly.

  27. BrianR says:

    Recorded it and watched the thing in 10 minutes. Haven’t seen any of the nominated films and probably never will. I don’t need any more depressing stuff.

  28. Heathers says:

    Neil Harris is a pompous jackass. The show was boring, and so were the fashions. Michael Keaton got screwed. And Patricia Arquette needs to shut her Piehole. I wonder how much she pays her assistants? Most likely minimum wage. I don’t know of any woman, including me, who was paid less for being a woman. Total BS!

  29. Mary Morris says:

    The telecast was Ok it made me gag when I learned how much the “Gift Bags”were worth. The people receiving them make plenty of money. The show biz people scream for the rest of us to give give give but then they accept high price things most of us could not begin to afford. How about donating what the cost of the “gifts” to the people who can barely afford housing , clothing or food.

    • Liz says:

      I don’t totally disagree with you, but I will say everyone in that theatre who received a gift bag probably doesn’t make that much. The big names, sure. But you have the little people like the documentarians, short film, animation and effects, etc who aren’t necessarily earning the big bucks that we imagine. I personally don’t have an issue with the bag; if the academy thinks it needs to bribe people to get butts in the seat so be it. However, if Hollywood was even a little but less hypocritical maybe they’d change up the system so that the bags reward the “99%” rather than the “1%” going through another round of patting themselves on the back.

  30. Geo says:

    Look, it’s not the nominees– the Oscars have never been known for nominating action movies or comedies or science fiction, so it’s not that people aren’t watching these days because the nominees don’t match what makes the most money.

    The reason the show’s ratings have declined is because the Oscars used to be a much more weird and unpredictable show– you might see Cher show up in feathers and a gigantic headress, you might get a streaker, you might have Marlon Brando send a Native American to reject his award, you might get an insanely tacky dance number with Rob Lowe and Snow White, you might get Bjork in a swan dress, you might get someone making a genuinely controversial statement (rather than tepid statements about things it’s hard to disagree with like “racism is bad,” “don’t commit suicide,” “let’s fight disease,” or “women should get equal treatment”). What you used to get in the past were things that everybody wanted to talk about the next day: they were crazy, ridiculous, or controversial enough they were worth talking about.

    What do we get now? Well, Neil Patrick Harris told us everyone would be talking about Lady GaGa’s performance, but it was kind of symptomatic of the exact problem with the Oscar ceremony: GaGa came out, and instead of doing anything kooky or crazy or controversial, she showed up in a white dress and sang very tastefully. Her voice is beautiful and good for GaGa, but is tasteful and nice really what made people tune into the Oscars in the past?

    In the last decade or so, the show has become so sanitized, it’s usually a gigantic bore. The Golden Globes has mostly stolen the Oscars rep as being more fun. With the Oscars, the ceremony feels homogenized and pre-packaged. Dance and musical numbers seem fine, but they’re just like the same kind of numbers people can see on countless other award shows or tributes. Most people now dress to be on the “best dressed” list, which these days is often judged on how non-offensive or simple someone’s outfit is. Rarely does anybody truly go for something shocking, outrageous, or funny. Political or social statements, if they happen at all, often feel like they’re either obvious or way too scared they might say something that could truly upset anyone.

    If the Oscars wants better ratings, it needs to get back to letting its freak frag fly, and stop worrying so much about being a really expensive, trying-way-too-hard-to-be-polite, dinner theater show.

  31. bj says:

    The show was so political last year, and I assumed it would be worse this year, so I didn’t watch. I figured I’d just read the results and same myself some agitation. Also I hadn’t seen most of the movies.

    If they want to have people tune in they need to keep the politics out of the show. And once the show is airing the votes are cast. It’s too late to change anything and making snide remarks and snipping about things that you don’t like, only turns people off the show. It doesn’t change anything.

    Can you imagine how much lower the ratings would have been if the other networks had put new episodes up against it?

  32. John NYC says:

    Hadn’t seen even one of the films up for the main prizes, so I didn’t care, I expect that was true for many others.

  33. AnnieM says:

    Maybe they should get Jimmy Fallon to host next year….?

  34. David4 says:

    It was even more boring than normal, and that’s saying something.

  35. Jessica Holt says:

    I have watched every year, but I finally had enough with this “secret” club the Oscars have with movies that the general public have never seen nor heard of. Its like the weirder and more unheard of your movie is the better. I haven’t seen one movie that was nominated and I go to the movies like 4-5 times a month. When they didn’t recognize Angelina Jolie’s Unbreakable I knew I was not going to watch. That movie was by far one of the best this year and the lead actor was phenomenal. I did the same with the Emmys. Its the same 5 shows and the same actors nominated and the winners are so predictable. I am just done..

  36. Tracy says:

    I used to love the Oscars but then I started renting, streaming or buying my movies; now I don’t bother with the Oscars because I haven’t seen any of the movies that are nominated when the Oscars air! Plus, the new hosts are no Johnny Carson, Bob Hope or even Billy Crystal!

  37. Shu says:

    NPH was just plain awful. I expected him to be good, he wasn’t even close. I watch less & less of this show each year. Tired of the uppity celebs and to top it all off those silly insecure ‘stars’ get gift bags that are worth $160,000!! That is insane.

  38. robin says:

    The whole gifting thing is stupid. Pa was talking about the equal pay bill that has yet to be passed in congress, not about herself.

  39. Nikki says:

    The ratings were going to go down after last year. Also, if you want more viewers then quit nominating movies that the mass majority of people never heard of. When you have 8 movies nominated and 1 of them grossed more than half of what the other 7 earned, that’s a problem. You’re not going to get great viewership no matter who is hosting. If you want bigger ratings than start voting for movies that people attend. I’m not saying the academy should vote for those horrible blow-em up comic book movies but if you keep nominating pretentious movies, you’re never going to the get viewership you want or hope.

  40. klylieblu says:

    the rating will continue to drop, it’s only for the fantasy elites…. not many Americans can remotely relate to these fake it ’til ya make it types, period. The best movie is snubbed, and no mention of Joan Rivers…. this show which once was entertainment is merely a bunch of political correctness babble, no thanks!

  41. klylieblu says:

    nothing more than a babbling political show for elite folks who are completely out of touch with REALITY…. why no mention of Joan Rivers? Guessing that too would not have been PC … no entertainment here…. out of touch babbling, that’s all.

  42. RITK says:

    I wasn’t home on Sunday night so I watched it first thing Monday morning and thought it was one of the best Oscars I’ve seen in a long time. NPH was hilarious & I was impressed with just about everything except the memorial part, and it had nothing to do with Joan Rivers being left out and everything to do with the strange watercolor paintings and Jennifer Hudson.

  43. I wasn’t home on Sunday night so I watched it first thing Monday morning and thought it was one of the best Oscars I’ve seen in a long time. I thought NPH was hilarious and did a great job. The only part I wasn’t a fan of was the Memorial portion. And for me personally, my complaint about that segment had nothing to do with Joan Rivers not being there (which I think just goes to show that if you spend years tearing people down and burning bridges…it might come back to bite you in the ass) and everything to do with the funky watercolor portraits and Jennifer Hudson being kinda boring.

  44. Terry says:

    I don’t really blame Harris, because it’s a thankless job anyway and with social media hanging on every joke and crowd response, it’s gonna be tough for anybody. Steve Martin was the last really funny host to me. I think the reason people aren’t watching as much as before has to do with the glut of award shows and there is no suspense anymore as to who will win. All the big winners were predicted except for Best Actor weeks ago. Plus they are in such a hurry to get the show over with, that there isn’t time for anything much other than one liners.

  45. taramaeland says:

    of course it sucked, the oscars sucked, it’s not NPH fault that the writers of his lines are amateurs