Following a tumultuous lead-up that included Kevin Hart stepping down as host amid controversy over old tweets, a popular movies category that was added and then quickly yanked due to widespread criticism, and outcry over a quickly-reversed decision to hand out less popular awards during commercial breaks; somehow the 2019 Academy Awards finally were able to pull out of a years-long ratings slump.
Preliminary numbers reportedly show that the 200-minute-long ABC telecast scored a 21.6 rating in the metered market households, up 14 percent from last year’s all time ratings low at 18.9, which will make it the highest rated in five years, according to TV Line.
There could be any number of reasons for this. After years of Oscar fatigue that helped make it impossible to replace Hart as a host — not to mention what a thankless job it is — it’s quite possible that people tuned in out of curiosity. Not to mention that the youth appeal of nominated films such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, and A Star is Born (in addition to nominees Lady Gaga, Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, and Bradley Cooper) more than likely contributed to the spike.
The final numbers will likely be released sometime later Monday afternoon, but in the meantime you can compare the rating of the past 10 years below, courtesy of TV Line:
2018: 26.5 million (host Jimmy Kimmel)
2017: 32.9 million (host Jimmy Kimmel)
2016: 34.3 million (host Chris Rock)
2015: 37.3 million (host Neil Patrick Harris)
2014: 43.7 million (host Ellen DeGeneres)
2013: 40.3 million (host Seth MacFarlane)
2012: 39.3 million (host Billy Crystal)
2011: 37.9 million (hosts Anne Hathaway/James Franco, ugh)
2010: 41.3 million (hosts Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin)
2009: 36.9 million (host Hugh Jackman)
(Via TV Line)