By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Academy Awards telecast on Sunday attracted roughly 18.7 million U.S. television viewers to the film industry’s highest honors, according to data released by Walt Disney Co broadcaster ABC on Monday.
The audience rose 12% from last year, when 16.7 million people tuned in, ABC said. At that show, Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock before winning best actor.
This year’s ceremony celebrated a rebound in moviegoing as several of the nominees, including “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” were blockbuster hits at cinemas. Multiverse adventure “Everything Everywhere All at Once” took home best picture and dominated the awards.
While the Oscars audience increased compared with last year, it ranked as the third-lowest on record for the ceremony. Viewership of many awards ceremonies has dropped in recent years as audiences have ditched traditional television for streaming and social media.
ABC said Sunday’s awards were the subject of 27.4 million interactions on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The Oscars also ranked as the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter worldwide throughout the broadcast.
The highest-rated Academy Awards telecast took place 25 years ago, when megahit “Titanic” swept the honors. More than 57 million people tuned in that year.
In 2021, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oscar ratings hit their low point with 10.5 million viewers.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Jonathan Oatis)