This year, however, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics last month saw almost 28 million people while the film awards had only 26 and a half million viewers.
The Oscars, hosted for the second consecutive year by ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, is not the only perennial program being hit by the changes in viewing habits.
Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, host for the past two years, skewered industry-roiling sexual misconduct allegations and reports of gender-based pay disparities, while best actress victor Frances McDormand called for "inclusion riders" to boost Hollywood diversity.
Jimmy Kimmel Fires Back After President Trump Calls Out Poor Oscars Ratings
"The Shape of Water" emerged as the big victor with four honours at the event, where stars mostly stayed away from the industry's concerns over Trump's administration - a contrast from a politics-heavy Golden Globes and Emmys.
Referring to the ceremony's low viewing figures, Trump tweeted: "Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY". "Problem is, we don't have Stars anymore - except your President (just kidding, of course)!" It seemed to the average viewer that the awards ceremony had no new content and stuck to last year's controversial scene when presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty mistakenly gave away the Best Picture award to the wrong film. Oscar viewership is often tied to the box office muscle of the big nominees, and best picture victor "The Shape of Water" only grossed $57.4 million in the United States.
Sunday's broadcast included a few barbs that host Jimmy Kimmel directed at the White House.
Kimmel took some shots at Trump during the 2018 Oscars.
However, this is the fourth year in a row the show's ratings have declined, so it's hard to gauge how much political tone played into the show's 20% decrease in viewership. "We make them to upset Mike Pence".