Oscars Audience plummets — Kimmel? Lack of surprises? Bestiality-boosting Best Pic?

oscThe past decade or so, the Academy Awards have felt like pre-ordained train arrivals, with early honors and buzz making that train depart the Toronto Film Festival, make its stops at the various Guild Awards, the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards showing up right on time at the station — pretty much predictable down to (but not including) Best Documentary.

So why watch? It’s frustrating, hoping against hope that there’ll be a surprise or for that matter that the “right” film will win instead or different actors from those who won the Indie Spirit Awards the night before will be making speeches.  Electric moments? Aside from last year’s Best Pic snafu? You have to go back over a decade to think of one.

Not a Jimmy Kimmel fan. Not interested in seeing Del Toro’s middling genre pic (“Shape of Water”) beat a better, sharper genre pic (“Get Out”) or a masterpiece genre pic (“Dunkirk”), irked that “The Florida Project” wasn’t even deemed worth a nomination. It’s the same pretty much every year, so I’ve given up on the Oscars.

And I’m not alone. The audience, steadily sliding in recent years, plummeted 20% from the sag of last year. It’s down a whopping 40% since 2001. 

Lots of folks sampled the telecast via the Interwebs today, I am sure. It’s like watching a football or (to a lesser extent) baseball or basketball games. Catch the highlights in the AM, spend your Sunday evening doing something else.

The political storm that killed James Franco’s Oscar shot probably dampened enthusiasm. Weinstein and Toback and Spacey are monstrous pigs, Franco fits right in with them. But who wants to be hectored by a bunch of spoiled movie folk? #NotMe.

The pre-shows just make the entire evening look like made-for-cable piffle.

Kimmel? His late night audience is thin, and he’s nothing worth tuning into in prime time. I caught his opening, and that’s about it. Not interested? #MeNeither.

Expanding the best picture field and moving the date to try and take the Golden Globes “bandwagon” effect out of the mix? Has not worked. They didn’t nominate a full ten films, when hits like “The Greatest Showman” could have drawn viewers.  Not a great film, but as good as the sex-with-a-squid parable.  Adding genuine contenders like “The Florida Project” could have created a real dark horse or two (“Wind River,” “Only the Brave,” even “Logan”).

“Moonlight” was a worthy but, let’s be frank “Indie Spirit Award winner” — with such limited audience appeal that anybody who tuned in last year — even WITH the debacle at the end — can be excused for shrugging it off. “Shape of Water” is a bigger hit, but aside from fanboys, who loved that? Seriously?

This felt like the year the Indie Spirit Awards lost their reason to exist. It also feels like the first foot on the banana peel for the Oscars, which fell below — WELL below — 30 million viewers for the first time ever, with no bottom in sight. Worst audience numbers ever.

Hire Tiffany Haddish and Ricky Gervais. Serve drinks. Do. Something. Otherwise, the event dubbed “The Gay Superbowl” is almost at the point where moving it to Bravo makes sense. Who else is still watching?


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2 Responses to Oscars Audience plummets — Kimmel? Lack of surprises? Bestiality-boosting Best Pic?

  1. Ruthless Goat says:

    I totally agree, especially about The Shape of Water. It was way down my list for both picture and director. Either Anderson or Nolan should have been director and I had Blade Runner 2049 as the best film, but as you know, it wasn’t even nominated. TSOW deserved one Oscar, tops. I’m glad that Get Out and Call Me By Your Name got at least crumbs. Regards, Goat from Ruthless Reviews.

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