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Heading into the Oscars, Award Show Viewing is Up

1 minute read | March 2010

Heading into the Academy Awards telecast on Sunday March 7, viewership is rising for several notable award shows. If this trend continues, this could mean good news for the Academy Awards, especially given overall movie ticket sales in 2009 and the Academy’s expansion of the best movie category from five to 10 films.


Historical Ratings for the Academy Awards
YEAR Best Picture Winner Viewers
2009 Slumdog Millionaire 36,310,000
2008 No Country For Old men 32,006,000
2007 The Departed 40,172,000
2006 Crash 38,939,000
2005 Million Dollar Baby 42,139,000
2004 Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King 43,531,000
2003 Chicago 33,043,000
2002 A Beautiful Mind 41,782,000
2001 Gladiator 42,944,000
2000 American Beauty 46,333,000
Source: The Nielsen Company

The films and the nominees certainly play a role in the size and demographic makeup of the Oscar viewer. In years where a minority was nominated in a major category, viewership among that ethnic group grew, most notably with African American viewership. Precious, which is nominated for best film also boasts nominees for best actress in a leading (Gabourey Sidibe) and supporting (Mo’Nique) role as well as director Lee Daniels. Past winner Morgan Freeman (Invictus) is also nominated this year.

Recent African American Viewership of Academy Awards
Year Nominees Film African American Viewers
2009 Viola Davis

Taraji P. Henson


The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

2008 Ruby Dee American Gangster 2,151,000
2007 Forest Whitaker^

Will Smith

Eddie Murphy

Djimon Hounsou

Jennifer Hudson^

The Last King Of Scotland

The Pursuit Of Happyness


Blood Diamond


2006 Terrence Howard Hustle & Flow 3,369,000
2005 Jamie Foxx^

Don Cheadle

Morgan Freeman^

Jamie Foxx

Sophie Okenedo


Hotel Rwanda

Million Dollar Baby


Hotel Rwanda

Source: The Nielsen Company

^ = award winner

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