Sunday night’s Academy Awards drew a larger audience than last year, when viewership fell to an all-time low, but interest remained low due to disruptions in television and movie-watching habits.
The 94th edition of the awards garnered 15.4 million viewers on ABC and 3.2 points among adults ages 18 to 49, according to a preliminary national report Nielsen released to ABC on Monday. Initial results showed a 56 percent improvement in the 9.6 million people who followed last year’s eventThe Sunday night show is still the second least-watched Oscar ever, according to ABC.
Initial viewership numbers evolve in the days after the show to account for West Coast audiences as well as out-of-home and live broadcast viewing.
The broadcast took an odd turn in over two hours. Will Smith took the stage and slapped Chris Rock to his face to tell a joke about his wife. Mr. Smith then returned to his seat and won the best actor award less than an hour later.
Initial numbers did not show whether there was an increase in viewers immediately after the slap, which circulated around the internet.
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Organizers were desperate to reverse a years-long ratings slide for the Oscars, which saw viewers drop 58 percent last year. With raise interestThey hired comics Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes to host a show that has been unbeatable since 2019; remitted some rewards to a pre-recorded episode to speed things up; and invited fans to vote on Twitter for their favorite movie (“Army of the Dead” by Zack Snyder).
Broadcasting reached its peak in 1998When 55.2 million viewers watched it to watch the awards-swept “Titanic,” and it has struggled to maintain its cultural relevance ever since. The awards ceremonies have taken an additional hit during the pandemic, but have already faced criticism for being too white, too long, too politicized, and too boring.
Mr. Smith’s attack came after Mr. Rock, who handed out the award for best documentary, joked about Mr. Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her short-cropped hair.
“Jada, I love you – ‘GI Jane 2,’ I can’t wait to see it, okay?
The joke caused Ms. Pinkett Smith, who was raising her voice about her struggle with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss, to roll her eyes. Mr. Smith then walked onto the stage, slapped Mr. Rock, turned around and went back to his front row seat. He then obscenely shouted at the comedian to stop talking about Miss Pinkett Smith.
The attack appeared on the screen, but many viewers in the United States did not hear Mr Smith yell at Mr Rock, as ABC cut the audio. This caused many viewers to initially wonder if the attack was real or a skit. The uncensored clips were soon filmed online, leaving no doubt as to their authenticity.
Forty minutes later, Mr. Smith won Best Actor for his role in “King Richard.”
He returned to the stage to receive his first prize, the award, and gave an emotional speech, apologizing to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other nominees, but not Mr.
“I hope the Academy invites me again,” he said at the end of his speech.
explosion split Hollywood. The Academy said in a statement on Twitter that “it does not condone any form of violence” without naming Mr Smith or Mr Rock. Actor Mark Hamill called it the ugliest moment at the Oscars, while comedian Kathy Griffin said it was “very bad practice”.
Comedian Tiffany Haddish, who co-starred with Ms. Smith in “Girls Trip”, described Mr. Smith’s protective appearance as “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”.
The conflict rattled a broadcast. the most exciting moments Ariana DeBose’s historic acting achievements in “West Side Story” and Troy Kotsur from “CODA” and a surprise appearance in a performance of rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the best animated feature film “Encanto.”
“CODA,” which featured Mr. Kotsur as a deaf fisherman trying to have a relationship with his overhearing daughter, was snatched by Apple TV+ for $25 million after it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year, making it the first movie to win from a streaming service. Best Picture Oscar. Jane Campion beat Steven Spielberg to win the directorial award for “Power of the Dog” on Netflix.
Despite airing on a broadcast network, the night underscored the turmoil in theater and traditional television. from streaming services and online platforms. Many people on social media caught important moments from the program.