Despite surprise ending, Oscars went long and ratings were low

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If you felt like Sunday's Oscar telecast was long, you were right. The show clocked in at a whopping three hours and 49 minutes, positioning it as the longest in 10 years.

Super-model Chrissy Teigen seemed to have trouble staying awake through the whole ceremony, and many on Twitter were complaining throughout the telecast. The show ran past midnight on the east coast.

Jokes aside, many Hollywood insiders were predicting the 89th Academy Awards would be long this year, suspecting that political commentary would put the show past its already historically bloated three and half hours.


At least this year’s show wasn’t the longest in history. The 74th Oscars show in 2002 was the longest at 4 hours and 23 minutes.

Unfortunately for ABC, the length of the show didn’t add up to high ratings.

This year's Oscars averaged 32.9 million viewers -- a drop of more than a million viewers from last year's telecast. It was the smallest Academy Awards audience since 2008.

Audience erosion has been Oscar's trend for three years straight. In both 2014 and 2013, the awards show reached more than 40 million viewers, but in 2015 only 37.3 million tuned in.

The ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, did have a decidedly political tone with plenty of jokes, and the shtick with the unsuspecting tourists walking through the theater to greet some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, was a time sucks. Plus, the final moment twist when Faye Dunaway mistakenly declared "La La Land" as best picture when "Moonlight" was the true winner took up time. But, when all is said and done, it’s generally the acceptance speeches that add the most time to the show.

In 2016, producers of the show attempted to introduce a “thank you scroll” at the bottom of the screen. Nominees were asked to submit the names of the people they wanted to thank ahead of time in order to chop down the length of the speeches. That idea flopped and winners went rogue with their often very long-winded acceptance speeches.


The shortest Oscar telecast was the 31st Academy Awards in 1959, at 1 hour and 40 minutes.

But for the serious Oscar fans, the length of the show is irrelevant.

"You either buy into the experience or you don’t," Joe Saltzman, Professor of Journalism and Communications at University Southern California told Fox News.

The Associated Press contributed to this report