The scaled-down show honored movies that most folks still haven't seen, including Best Picture winner Nomadland.

By Lynette Rice
April 26, 2021 at 02:20 PM EDT
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UPDATED 4/27: Ratings results from Sunday's Oscar telecast look a little better but not by much: ABC reports the show attracted an average audience of 10.4 million viewers --- besting this year's Grammys telecast by 13% (9.2 million on 3/14) and the Golden Globes by 51% (6.9 million on 2/28). But the 93rd Academy Awards remain the least-watched in the show's storied history.

PREVIOUS: Da Butt wasn't da nuff to interest you? ABC's telecast of the 93rd Academy Awards Sunday followed up last year's all-time low in viewership by attracting even fewer eyeballs than ever before.

Nielsen reports that only 9.85 million viewers tuned in for the awards show (and Glenn Close's showstopping dance move). It was down more than 13 million from last year's second, host-less telecast that featured Parasite as the night's big winner (23.6 million viewers).

Glenn Close doing 'Da Butt'
Glenn Close does 'Da Butt' at the Oscars
| Credit: ABC

ABC first went with an emcee-free Oscars in 2019, which at that time seemed like a novel approach: close to 30 million people tuned in to see Green Book win Best Picture that year.

But it may be time to bring back Chris Rock or even Billy Crystal. Last night's telecast was achingly laugh-free — save for Close's booty bop and Daniel Kaluuya's public appreciation for his parents doing the hibidy-dibity. Given how the pandemic has made it challenging for studios to distribute their movies (THR reports that Nomadland hasn't even grossed $3 million at the box office and no one knows how it's done on Hulu), viewers needed more of a reason to care about this crop of nominees. But no movie clips aired during last night's show, which was one of the chief complaints in EW critic Darren Franich's review, which gave the telecast a B- score.

Here's how last night's show ranks versus previous years:

2021: 9.85 million (Best Picture winner: Nomadland)

2020: 23.6 million (Parasite)

2019: 29.6 million (Green Book)

2018: 26.5 million (The Shape of Water)

2017: 32.9 million (Moonlight)

2016: 34.4 million (Spotlight)

2015: 37.2 million (Birdman)

2014: 43.7 million (12 Years a Slave)

2013: 40.3 million (Argo)

2012: 39.3 million (The Artist)

2011: 37.9 million (The King's Speech)

2010: 41.7 million (The Hurt Locker)

2009: 36.3 million (Slumdog Millionaire)

2008: 32.0 million (No Country for Old Men)

2007: 40.1 million (The Departed)

2006: 38.9 million (Crash)

2005: 42.1 million (Million Dollar Baby)

2004: 43.5 million (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

2003: 33.0 million (Chicago)

2002: 41.7 million (A Beautiful Mind)

2001: 42.9 million (Gladiator)

2000: 46.3 million (American Beauty)

1999: 45.6 million (Shakespeare in Love)

1998: 55.2 million (Titanic)

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