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Quick Viewership and Advertising Insights for the Oscars

Even though we’ve all grown accustomed to strange, Zoom-ified awards shows in the era of COVID, this year’s Oscars ceremony was still a bit weird, even with the in-person setting. The opening was undeniably fitting for Hollywood, with a Steadicam following Regina King as she strutted through Los Angeles Union Station. And who doesn’t love a shot of Glenn Close shaking her booty (details on that below) — but to announce Best Picture in the middle of the show, and save Best Actor for the very end? Like I said, a bit weird. 

Weirdness aside, tune-in for the broadcast was mostly stable over the course of the evening, according to minute-by-minute data from VIZIO’s Inscape. And, as you may expect, the Oscars was the No. 1 show by watch-time for the day, capturing 2.93% of all the live, linear minutes watched on Sunday, per Inscape. 

Via VIZIO’s Inscape

Top alternative programming during the Oscars, also according to Inscape, included The Equalizer, MLB baseball, Home Town, 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Fate of the Furious, NCIS: New Orleans and SportsCenter

During the 3+ hours of the broadcast, there were 39.75 minutes of ad time — a slight uptick from the 2020 show (39.25 minutes), per iSpot. Cadillac had the most ad time, 3.5 minutes, followed by Hulu, Google, Verizon (with three minutes each) and Rolex, with 2 minutes. Notably, 26 advertisers that did not air ads in last year’s Oscars telecast appeared in this year’s. 

Of course, the action wasn’t just on the TV screen: Brands and viewers activated around the Oscars on social media, especially Twitter. According to Tubular Labs, there were 17.9 million Twitter views for Oscars-related videos on Sunday alone. Verizon had three of the top Oscar-related Twitter videos by views, such as this one promoting its 5G Portal Experience, with 8.2 million all-time views (it was posted on April 22), 1.7 million of which occurred on April 25. 

Glenn Close, who missed out yet again on an Oscars win (and is now tied with Peter O’Toole for the most nominations without a win), did take home a sorta-prize on social, at least. One big moment from the broadcast that showed up all over social video was her aforementioned “Da Butt” dance (which has been reported by some outlets as scripted, though her publicist told NBC News that the dance itself was spur of the moment). 

This video of Close posted by EW reporter Joey Nolfi has nearly 500K views as of this writing. MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid shared a version that has over 222K views. Even GMA posted the clip (126.3K views), calling Close a national treasure.

And, according to analytics firm Canvs, Close was the second highest driver of Emotional Reactions (ERs) on Twitter during the evening, just behind Daniel Kaluuya. Chadwick Boseman, who many thought would posthumously take home Best Actor but was beaten by Anthony Hopkins, was the third highest driver of ERs.