The host-free 2019 Oscars got a ratings bump following last year's all-time low

  • The 91st Academy Awards on Sunday was seen by 29.6 million viewers on ABC.
  • That’s a 12% increase from last year, which was the lowest rated in history.

Thanks to no host, a few surprise wins, and a much-anticipated duet by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday had a strong rebound in the ratings following last year’s all-time low.

The show was seen by 29.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen (via The Wrap). That’s a 12% increase from last year.

Read more: “Green Book” wins the best picture Oscar, and here’s why many people aren’t happy about it

It’s a positive sign that the way the show was done this year – with no host, limiting the length of speeches, and shaving down the length of the musical performances – was the right move.

“If you book presenters properly and they are big enough stars, you don’t need a host,” Jeff Margolis, who directed the Oscars telecast eight times, told Business Insider.

And that turned out to be true, as presenters from the trio of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph at the start of the show to the “Wayne’s World” reunion of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to introduce best picture nominee “Bohemian Rhapsody” were big hits.

The show also had elements that made the casual Oscar fan tune in: the nominations for “Black Panther” (it won three Oscars), the first-ever win for Spike Lee (who won for best original screenplay), many of the big categories not having a huge frontrunner to win, and the duet of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga singing the best original song nominee “Shallow” from their movie “A Star Is Born” (which won the award).

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