The 95th Academy Awards were watched by an average of 18.7 million people in the US, a 12% increase over 2022, overnight figures show.
Market measuring firm Nielsen said preliminary ratings for this year’s Oscars were the highest for any show since 2020.
But the ceremony was the third-least watched since Nielsen began tracking.
The Oscars were viewed by 10.4 million people in 2021 and 16.6 million in 2022.
Sunday’s show, which aired on US network ABC, was dominated by Everything Everywhere All at Once, which took home seven awards.
It was hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel who has a late-night chat show on ABC and also hosted the Academy Awards in 2018.
The scaled-back ceremony in 2021 was the least-watched Oscars of all time.
Viewers may have returned to see how Hollywood would respond to last year’s slapping incident involving Will Smith and host Chris Rock.
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Or the figures may have been boosted by interest in blockbusters such as Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water, and Everything Everywhere.
Organisers were buoyed by viewers on social media, which are not included in the early time-zone adjusted Nielsen numbers.
According to showbiz bible Variety, the 1998 Oscars ceremony (when Titanic won best picture) was the most watched in history, drawing over 55 million viewers.
The last time the show had over 30 million viewers was in 2017, when Moonlight won best picture, drawing the attention of 33 million.