Will the Oscars be a who cares moment as ratings dive? - Associated Press
|Associated Press 07 Apr 2021 at 18:16|
Though he’s now in the right time zone, he’s just not interested, and that’s due primarily to the pandemic.
“The rising dominance of the streaming services has taken the gloss off the Oscars for me,” he said. “You just don’t get the same warm fuzzy feeling from when you recognize a movie from the silver screen.”
For much of this century, the Oscars drew 35 million to 45 million viewers, often just behind the Super Bowl. Last year, just before the pandemic was declared, the hostless telecast on ABC was seen by its smallest audience ever, 23.6 million viewers, down 20 percent from the year before.
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The pandemic-era Golden Globes a little more than a year later plummeted to 6.9 million viewers, down 64% from last year and barely besting 2008, the year a writer’s strike forced NBC to air a news conference announcing winners. Last year, pre-lockdown, the show had 18.4 million viewers, according to the Nielsen company.
In March, Grammy producers avoided the Zoom awkwardness of other awards shows and staged performances by some of the industry’s biggest stars — to no avail. The CBS telecast reached 9.2 million viewers, both television and streaming, the lowest number on record and a 51% drop from 2020, Nielsen said.
John Bennardo, 52, in Boca Raton, Florida, is a film buff, film school graduate and screenwriter, and runs a videography business for mostly corporate clients. This year is a no-go for the Oscars.
For starters, he hasn’t seen a single film nominated in any category.
Like other awards shows, the Oscars telecast was pushed back due to pandemic restrictions and safety concerns. The show had been postponed three times before in history, but never so far in advance. Organizers last June scheduled it for April 25, as opposed to its usual slot in February or early March.
“Definitely the shuttering of the theaters created my lack of interest this year,” she said. “I didn’t get any sense of Oscar buzz.”
Not all diehards have given up their favorite awards show.
Full Coverage: Academy Awards
As real-life hardship has intensified for many viewers, from food insecurity and job disruption to the isolation of lockdowns and parenting struggles, awards shows offer less escapism and razzle-dazzle than in the past, often relying on pre-taped performances and Zoom boxes for nominees. In addition, data shows little interest among younger generations for appointment television in general.
As a Muslim, Middle Eastern immigrant, Subeh also sees little inclusion of his culture in mainstream film, let alone on the Oscars stage.
“We’re only mentioned when Aladdin is brought up. I don’t feel motivated to gather up my family on a Sunday to sit through a four-hour award ceremony that never has any sort of mention about our culture and religion. Yet as Muslims, we make up roughly 25% of the world population,” he said.
Jon Niccum, 55, in Lawrence, Kansas, teaches screenwriting at the University of Kansas. He’s a filmmaker, went to film school and has worked as a film critic. He and his wife host an annual Oscar party, with 30 guests at its heyday, including a betting pool on winners for money and prizes. It will be family-only this year due to the pandemic, but the betting is on.
This year, trying to keep up with nominees from home has stifled her excitement, Madison said.
“I’m a sucker for the red carpet and the gowns and, `Oh my god, I can’t believe she wore that.′ Another thing is, I don’t particularly need to see these actors in their home environments,” she said with a laugh. “This year, if I missed it, it wouldn’t be tragic. Nobody would need to lay cable this year. But I still love the movies.”