The Corner

Film & TV

Oscar Ratings Crater, Hit Another Record Low

An Oscar statue stands in the red carpet arrivals area in preparation for the 92nd Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., February 8, 2020. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Everyone knew this was coming, given how pathetic the ratings were for the Golden Globes and the Grammys, but even so, the viewership numbers are a shocking disaster for the Academy Awards broadcast. After last year’s rock-bottom viewership hit 23.6 million and the top award went to a Korean film, Parasite, the average person hadn’t even heard of, this year’s Oscars went full woke. You never go full woke . . .

Ratings crashed 58 percent off last year’s abysmal viewership, down to 9.85 million Americans. Let that sink in: In a nation of 330 million, not even ten million Americans watched the Oscars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ strategy of embracing diversity as a supposed means to bring in younger viewers has proven a complete failure: Ratings were down even more for young adults. In the 18–49 demographic, ratings crashed 64 percent. The star power is gone. The glamour is gone. The public interest is gone.

The Oscars always had problems but in the last decade they’ve become turgid, sanctimonious, predictable, joyless, and boring, not to mention bitter and negative about the country that has created so much splendor and wealth for the lucky few who get to appear onstage at the ceremony. Every year, its top honor goes to a cinematic op-ed destined in most cases to be quickly forgotten rather than an enduring and meaningful piece of entertainment.

The Academy needs to completely rethink the direction it is going in if it wants to salvage any viewership or cultural relevance whatsoever. Like many other institutions, it has mistaken Twitter mobs for the voice of the people and allowed itself to be guided by the former at the expense of heeding the latter.

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