Oscars 2015 Neil Patrick Harris pants
Neil Patrick Harris in his tighty-whities. Academy Awards

The Academy Awards have been deemed a flop this year after it received its lowest ever ratings since 2009.

An average of just 36.6 million people tuned into to watch the ceremony compared to 43.7 million the year before, according to Nielsen figures.

On Twitter numbers of people tweeting about the show was also down 47%. There were only 5.9 million tweets compared to 11.2 million in 2014, which was boasted greatly by the never forgotten selfie taken by Ellen Degeneres featuring a host of stars.

The disappointing viewing figures comes as the show's host Neil Patrick Harris failed to impress - despite stripping to his briefs in honour of Birdman – which won Best Film.

Among his jokes, which were poorly received, was when he mocked Dana Perry's outfit after she dedicated her Oscar for Best Documentary to her son who had committed suicide.

He said: "It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that."

Other suggested theories for poor viewing numbers was that the nominees were not box office hits like last year where all four films which were nominated made more than $100m including Gravity's $274m. Birdman only made $37m while Boyhood its main rival took even less with $25m.

The show was also criticised for having too many music acts and flat comedy routines.

In 2009 the viewing figures averaged at 36.3 million. That year the awards were presented by Hugh Jackman and Slumdog Millionaire took best picture.