Why the 90th Oscars Had Record Low Viewership
It was announced this week that Sunday's 90th Academy Awards show hit record lows in viewership as ratings for the prestigious movie awards ceremony continues a downward spiral over the past few years.
While there are a lot of factors that could be contributing to the general public is abandoning Hollywood's biggest night, there's one that I believe has been the major downfall of the show:
Many lessons can be learned by those that put on this award show from this year's failures. Here's what I think the biggest ones were:
What The 90th Oscars Did Wrong
The Oscars this year ran a total of 3 hours and 50 minutes, and marched to a slow paced, low risk beat. Host Jimmy Kimmel even attempted to offer a free Jet Ski to help winners keep their acceptance speeches short. However, he also spent a segment of the show dragging celebrities from their seats across the street to the Chinese Theater in attempt to shake up the show.
Neither action was effective. Nor was the jokes about last year's botched Best Picture announcement. Or the Original Song performances. And the numerous montages, though well assembled, couldn't have felt longer or more unnecessary.
It doesn't help that this year's list of nominees generally followed the Oscars' trend of being films the general public is not aware of. Without any indication leading into the awards show that any of these well-worn and traditional factors would change or cater to tv-watching audiences, the reasons for said tv-watching audiences to tune in are becoming fewer and fewer.
What the Show Did Right
There were some bright spots in the show. Jokes about the success of Black Panther landed well. Also, Get Out won Best Original Screenplay, officially making Jordan Peele an Oscar winner.
Additionally this year, the same host and same presenters managed to get through the Best Picture announcement with the correct winner.
That's all I got.
What The Oscars Must Do Next Time
I think a safe bet that the way for The Oscars to raise their ratings again is by being more welcoming of mainstream films. If the audiences spending hundreds of millions of dollars at the theaters are able to watch and cheer for movies they actually saw alongside the independent and arthouse films, this could be the ideal way to not only keep people interested in the awards show, but also properly bring awareness to these lesser known movies.
Finding a way to shorten the runtime could also help. Or at the very least, feature more lively performances that reflect the interests of the general public. This may require breaking the traditional format of the show, and finding a more creative way move the show along.
Finally, and perhaps least acknowledged, The Oscars needs to learn how to better appeal to everyone. The show is a prime platform for hosts, presenters, and winners to broadcast their stance on causes and political preferences. While I personally agree with many of the messages regarding social diversity and equality, there's not enough championing among Hollywood influencers for diversity in thought and equal representation of opinions. All different kinds of people go to the movies, and they all have different political perspectives. The most progressive way for Hollywood to insert itself into the political arena is fairly.
In any case, the challenge in front of The Oscars is to make a show that recognizes the celebrities and filmmaking talent present while keeping the at-home viewer entertained and engaged. It's time for the Oscars to garner mainstream appeal, because there's nothing more unfortunate than an entertainment awards show that is not entertaining.