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The Oscars are historic, prestigious, and ceremonial, and they offer the country a glimpse into Hollywood’s most famous. Yet today, exactly one week away from the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, the event has few reasons for optimism.
Saturday, I explained that nearly all television products have dipped over the past 12 months for a bevy of reasons. However, nearly every broadcast that presented their products in woke social-justice wrapping paper hit all-time lows. The Golden Globes and the Grammys most recently tanked 60 percent and 53 percent, respectively. The Oscars haven’t aired yet, but many potential viewers already expect winners and presenters to accuse half the country of racism.
In a Sunday column, the New York Times discussed the flawed approach award shows take when catering to just one side of the political aisle:
“Increasingly, the ceremonies are less about entertainment honors and more about progressive politics, which inevitably annoys those in the audience who disagree,” the Times writes. “One recent producer of the Oscars, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential metrics, said minute-by-minute post-show ratings analysis indicated that ‘vast swaths’ of people turned off their televisions when celebrities started to opine on politics.”
Sadly, the word “entertainment” no longer accurately describes the Oscars. Instead, they have become a vehicle to push progressive politics, and no single group is as loyal to liberal talking points as Hollywood stars.
Those at the 2021 Grammys said police are racist. The Oscars will have to target another group.
According to a new Standard A policy of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, all best picture nominees must demonstrate “diversity in either the lead or significant supporting actors, the general ensemble cast, or the main storyline/subject matter of the film.” In essence, the Academy is admitting that movie quality will now come second to inclusion and diversity.
Before even factoring in the social views the event will inevitably promote, the Oscars already face an uphill battle. COVID battered traditional theater viewing and halted the production of anticipated films. Netflix’s Mank is leading the Oscar race with 10 nominations. Perhaps a good film, yet Guts + Data found that only 18 percent of active film watchers (in theaters or at home) had heard of Mank. There is no Lord of the Rings to draw in new viewers this year.
Year by year, the Oscars have grown more out of touch with casual movie viewers, awarding films most have never heard of. Between 2014 and 2020, ratings for the event crashed 44 percent.
Not exactly a trajectory positioned to weather the negative results of a politicized product.
The New York Times reports that “with ratings expected to tumble for the coming telecast, ABC has been asking for $2 million for 30 seconds of advertising time, down about 13 percent from last year’s starting price. Some loyal advertisers (Verizon) are returning, but others (Ferrero chocolates) are not.”
“We’re really not getting much advertiser interest,” Michelle Chong, planning director at Atlanta-based agency Fitzco, said.
In 1998, 57.2 million people tuned in to see Titanic lap the Oscar field. Should this year’s Oscars plummet like the Globes, they may draw an audience in the single-digit millions, a territory previously unimaginable. In 2021, a fall could inch awfully close to NBA hardwood.
Are you planning to watch the Oscars? Do you care about any of the films nominated? Have you watched any of the films nominated?