According to the Nielsen ratings, Sunday’s 80th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was the least watched telecast of the event in the 30-year history of the rating system.

The early reports say it was down 14% from the least watched show ever in 2003. It averaged only 32 million viewers. Yeah, only 32 million people were watching, that’s terrible.

Which brings me to much next question. Are the Oscars too long? I was pumped about watching them, but I still had to fast forward a few times to keep from being bored. Maybe they should pre-announce the technical awards before-hand like sound, costume, etc. Or cut out the song performances (even though the one from Once was great). Either way they definitely need to stop playing music over the end of the winning speeches.

It probably also doesn’t help that there were few “mainstream” movies nominated last night. There wasn’t a big front runner like last year with The Departed or a potential great moment like Scorsese finally winning. The largest movie (at the box office) nominated in a major category this year was Juno, and even that was only about $160 million worldwide to Spider-Man 3‘s $891 million.

The biggest Oscars ever was in 1998 when Titanic was the biggest movie in box office history and 55 million people watched it win “Best Picture.” So the size of the nominees has to account for something.

Just as a devil’s advocate, the ad sales were the largest they’ve ever been. $1.8 million for each 30-second spot, up 7% from last year. It’s still the highest-rated entertainment special of the year.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some big changes next year. With no writers strike to deal with, there might be a few adjustments to the traditional telecast.

In case you skipped the ceremony because you think it’s too long, there’s a 60 second version of the night after the jump.