This year's Oscars ceremony had the lowest TV ratings in the US since 1974, early figures show.
The three-hour broadcast was watched by an average of just 32 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research said.
The 2007 ceremony had an average TV audience of nearly 40 million people.
The previous record low was set in 2003 when the awards were presented just days after the controversial US-led invasion of Iraq had begun.
Musical Chicago, starring Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones, was the big winner in 2003, scooping six awards.
Film buffs attribute this year's low viewing figures to the fact that best film winner No Country For Old Men has performed modestly at the US box office.
The Coen brothers' thriller, featuring Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson, has generated just $62m in ticket sales so far.
The biggest US box-office hit among the five best film nominees was teenage comedy Juno, which had made just over $100m before Sunday's show.
The 1998 show, which saw Titanic win 11 prizes, remains the highest-rated ceremony in recent history with 55.2 million viewers.
This year's ceremony, held at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, was hosted by comedian Jon Stewart.
It saw No Country For Old Men scoop four prizes, including best director for Joel and Ethan Coen and best adapted screenplay.
Other notable winners included Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton and Javier Bardem.