It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict what will happen when Hollywood’s biggest stars gather later this month.
The upcoming Oscars telecast will be a ratings catastrophe, part of a trend tarring recent awards show galas. When every third celebrity insults half the country, it’s only natural said half will tune out.
Tell that to the media, which routinely ignore that inconvenient truth.
The Academy Awards once drew a massive crowd each year -- think numbers just south of your average Super Bowl. That’s no longer the case. The 2020 Oscars telecast attracted 23.6 viewers, a new record low. Now, the Associated Press suggests a new-new low is looming for the April 25 telecast.
Will the Oscars be a ‘who cares’ moment as ratings dive?
The AP reporter asks several long-time Oscar fans if they’ll be watching this year’s showcase. Many said no, offering a variety of reasons including an unfamiliarity with the titles in question. Some of the most celebrated films include “Nomadland,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Minari.”
Others say the lack of theatrical screenings, due to the pandemic, made the Oscars feel less special.
Guess what the AP left out? Why would any right-leaning soul sit through a bloated production that puts the emphasis on progressive finger wagging, not entertainment?
Awards show jokes often mock conservatives or GOP leaders. The speeches also brim with progressive messaging.
And, worst of all, awards shows just aren’t fun anymore. The Oscars can’t find a host who can survive the woke vetting. Other shows are jammed with virtue signaling wardrobes and other liberal bric-a-brac.
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) April 5, 2021
Is it shocking that fewer and fewer people would sit through them?
Yet the AP cranked out a nearly 1,200-word report on the subject without so much as hinting at that issue. The same held true for a March 12 piece in the far-left Hollywood Reporter. It argues that movies are becoming a niche pursuit, and that’s why the Oscar ratings keep tumbling down.
But there’s also the possibility that movies that pride themselves on being serious, cultural commentary, with only the occasional exception, no longer dominate the culture the way they once did. The best films — the kind that now most often win Oscars — don’t reach a mass market but speak to a smaller, self-selecting cognoscenti. (TV ratings for the ceremony have declined steadily since 2014, except for a spike in 2019.)
Yes, more and more movies resemble lectures instead of stories that speak to our collective interests. Does anyone watch “12 Years a Slave” more than once?
This critic found “Nomadland,” a slight favorite to have a big night April 25, worth most of its critical hype. It’s still the kind of film you watch once and that’s enough.
So, yes, the movies in question are partly to blame for the ratings debacle to come. What about the Emmys, the Grammys and the Golden Globes (which honors TV as well as film)? All three include material that connects with a greater swath of the public. And they’re all hemorrhaging viewers, too.
The AP’s clueless commentary isn’t new. Last year, Vulture pinned part of the blame for another ratings disaster on the culture at large.
Oscar ratings have generally been in free fall in recent years because just about everything on linear TV is losing viewers quickly. Younger audiences in particular have gotten out of the habit of watching TV in real time, save for sports.
A 2020 CNBC report also suggested a number of factors for the ratings decline … without mentioning the shows’ overt political nature.
The New York Times, of all places, got closest to the truth a few years back.
The propaganda outlet shared the following in 2018, a morsel from an anonymous source that many outlets refuse to accept:
Producers who specialize in awards telecasts have said that post-show research, compiled mainly from Nielsen, indicates that most viewers dislike it when celebrities turn a trip to the stage into a political bully pulpit. One recent producer of the Oscars said that minute-by-minute post-show ratings analysis indicated that “vast swaths” of people turned off their televisions when celebrities started to opine on politics.
Media outlets aren’t wrong in speculating on why we just don’t care about awards shows anymore. The reasons are plentiful, and it’s a combination of many factors playing into the ratings decline.
To ignore the political element of the slide, though, is to lean even harder into the current wave of Fake News.