A Look At The Oscars – How Does It Rate In The U.S.? Can We Learn Anything?


Year Viewers Winner % Diff Year On Year
2001        42,900,000 Gladiator
2002        41,800,000 A Beautiful Mind -2.56%
2003        33,000,000 Chicago -21.05%
2004        43,500,000 LOTR: The Return Of The King 31.82%
2005        42,100,000 Million Dollar Baby -3.22%
2006        38,900,000 Crash -7.60%
2007        40,200,000 The Departed 3.34%
2008        32,000,000 No Country For Old Men -20.40%
2009        36,300,000 Slumdog Millionaire 13.44%
2010        41,300,000 The Hurt Locker 13.77%
2011        37,900,000 The King’s Speech -8.23%
2012        39,300,000 The Artist


My thanks to Deadline for the figures and Yay a pretty picture graph thingy (woo hoo a first for the Lowdown – are we getting smart or something?)

So what can we glean from all this? Don’t ask me man I only work here!

  • Whenever there were wide release in the Best Picture Category the numbers were up.
  • 2004, being the highest watched of the past 11 years, belonged to LORD OF THE RINGS.
  • 2010 is so high as it was the year AVATAR was up (and should’ve won), this was also the year that 10 Best Picture nominations came into play.
  • 2008 was the lowest year for viewers with all 5 Best Picture nominations being limited or skewed releases: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, ATONEMENT, MICHAEL CLAYTON, JUNO
  • 2009 was the year of the breakout hit SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and saw an increase in ratings, but again the Best Picture category featured limited release titles heavily in the nomination field: SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, FROST/NIXON, MILK, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, THE READER
  • The Oscars are in critical need to assess the cultural relevance of the event – if they want to telecast it you need a wider audience and to get them you need to start including films that have been commercial juggernauts so that punters can identify with your line up – they don’t have to win – they just need to be included.
  • The SUPERBOWL did 3 times the viewers when it aired last month.
  • HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO should’ve been nominated in nearly every category and even if it lost the ratings would’ve been the highest in the past decade. To honour that $7b franchise would’ve been a ratings killer and DANIEL RADCLIFFE, EMMA WATSON & RUPERT GRINT should’ve hosted with the cast give out the awards. Ok rant over!
Anyways there’s just some thoughts from little old me… But if we want to keep this relevant, if we want the next generation to love film as much as we do we need to start identifying with them and involving them… simple answer really.