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Oscars 2020 makes more history: Record-low TV ratings

The Oscars made history Sunday night, awarding the best picture trophy  to a foreign-language film, South Korea’s “Parasite,” for the first time.

But the most prestigious awards show also made unwanted history for ABC, with the smallest audience on record. The 92nd annual Academy Awards notched just 23.6 million viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen estimates. That’s down 20% (or 6 million) from last year, and about 3 million less than 2018’s previous record low.  

The declines mirror trends for other awards shows in recent years, though none faced as big a drop in a single year: NBC’s Golden Globes fell slightly, to 18.3 million from 18.6 million in 2019, while CBS’ Grammy Awards dropped to 18.7 million – its own record low – on Jan. 26, from 19.9 million last year.

Oscars 2020:South Korean film ‘Parasite’ wins four Academy Awards, including best picture

Bong Joon-ho made history by winning best picture for

Why? The prominence of a film not widely seen that won four top awards can’t fully explain it, because the “Parasite” wins came late in the show. Neither can the lack of a host: The Oscars went without one last year, too, after Kevin Hart pulled out over an earlier controversy.  And there were other contenders for top awards that proved popular at the box office, from Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” to World War I film “1917,” a late-arriving favorite for the top award. 

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