The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ goal heading into the 91st annual Academy Awards last week was to boost telecast railings after the numbers fell to a historic low last year. Well, it looks like the Academy succeeded, if only slightly.

Variety is reporting that the Oscars telecast this year enjoyed an approximate 12% increase in total viewers from last year and finished with 29.6 million viewers. The awards ceremony easily topped the viewership charts last week (click here for the complete breakdown of this year’s Academy Awards winners in every category).

If you’re looking for an explanation for the ratings bump, at least partially, look no further than this year’s Best Picture nominees. Seven out of the eight films nominated (Netflix doesn’t release the numbers for their films, including Roma) grossed a combined $1.26 billion domestically. That’s the highest combined cume for the category since 2011, when the ten films which were nominated totaled $1.36 billion. However, if you divide the total haul of the category by the number of films nominated, 2019’s Best Picture nominees boast the highest average gross in Oscars history. The report also points out that there is still time for this year’s bunch to top 2011’s total since many of this year’s Best Picture nominees are still in theaters.

What does this all mean? Essentially, more eyeballs were on more of the films nominated for Best Picture this year and some of those people tuned into the awards show to find out which film would walk away with the night’s top honor. Regardless of the success, Variety also notes that this year still saw the second-smallest audience ever for an Oscars telecast. Expect more changes in the coming years and the Academy tries to boost those numbers even more.

What do you make of these numbers? Are you surprised that the Oscars pulled in more viewers this year? Hit me up with your thoughts in the comments below!

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