Get Ready for the Least Watched Oscars in History!

Here it is!  Hollywood’s biggest week, and welcome everyone to the lead up to what could be the all-time, least watched Oscar ceremony in history!

Somewhere there’s a scientific term for when the very act of studying something destroys it.

Never have more people devoted more attention and more thought and more pixels to an evening than this year’s Academy Awards – pundits, activists, producers, stars, marketeers, swag suite promoters –  more camp followers than trailed after Napoleon’s Grande Armee,  and the net result will likely be – audiences scared away by the millions.The importance of this is not nothing.

If ever the movie industry could use a boost of glamour and good will it is now.  To recap: not only is the survival of the movie studios on the line, but along with it the very open question of whether future generations will continue to leave their homes to see movies projected on screens. And there are myriad scandals unfolding questioning whether this industry is able to transform itself into something resembling 1990’s-era basic human decency, corporate style.

The Oscars are Hollywood’s big annual advertisement to the world about the wonder of movies and the dream of the beautiful people who make them. It’s the show that keeps people invested in this idea of the Temple of Movies. But more important, for local tycoon in Shanghai or Stockton with a few hundred million to blow, the image of themselves one day on that stage is what keeps them writing nine-figure checks to bankroll all our lifestyles.

Next Monday morning when the overnight ratings come in, we might see the chickens of our last year of debacles come home to roost as we see the spectacle of audiences abandoning us by the tens of millions.

Consider:

  • Last year ratings were down 4 percent to 34 million people.
  • This year, the same host and team take a second at bat.
  • This year’s films if anything are more obscure, the nominated stars less glamorous and buzzy.
  • If you steal the Spirit Awards’ nominees, sooner or later you’re going to get the Spirit Awards’ ratings along with them.
  • As has been noted as a potential harbinger of doom for the Awards sector, Grammys ratings were down 24 % this year.
  • Also notable: last year’s Emmys were down 36 %.
  • And then there’s: Super Bowl ratings were off 7 %.  Olympics ratings down 8 % since 2014.
  • With a very few exceptions, America appears in a mood to drift away from giant media spectaculars.
  • If you’re keeping score, the lowest Oscar ratings in contemporary history were 32 million people who watched in 2008. So this year would just have to drop about six % to beat that.
  • The wide-open race has been more about no one, traffic stopping, run away with it contender, than about a bounty of great, Oscary films.
  • As a lead in the Globes Times Up takeover,  however worthy, did nothing to build up the race. When you have all the stars themselves saying: “Let’s talk about something more important,” it’s hard to convince anyone else to get into it.
  • The hope of witnessing another night of funereal speechifying may be of limited appeal.
  • The decision by ABC and the Academy to build their promotional campaign around last year’s Envelopgate feels…short-sighted, to say the least.  This is the Dream Factory’s pitch for its biggest night? Watch, you never know how we’ll screw up! Maybe this year, someone went off their meds and they’ll start shouting obscenities at the ushers from the podium!

Maybe, after all, it’s been accused of, Hollywood doesn’t deserve a celebration this year. I’m open to that notion. But asking the world to watch up put ourselves in the penalty box seems to forget who these events are about and for (Hint: Not us).

When the ratings numbers come in, however, and we realize the children are listening, and they are making plans to pack their sleeping bags and iPads and to move into a new WiFi-ready  McMansion up the road, then will we see we have a problem here?

 

ALSO IN THE LATEST EDITION!

  • BOX OFFICE SNAPS!
  • THE LASSETER RETURN CALCULUS!
  • REVIEWING THE ANIMATION NOMINEES!
  • WHAT ABOUT BOB WEINSTEIN?

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