According to Deadline, the total and 18-49 demo ratings for Sunday night’s pretty dreadful Oscar telecast drooped a considerable 14% over last year, reaching the lowest total number of viewers in 7 years. Just 34.6 million tuned in last night. That’s a full 80 million fewer viewers than the 115 million who tuned into the patriotic Super Bowl 3 weeks ago.
The problem is obvious. Other than “American Sniper,” which no one expected to win Best Picture, there were no titles for the American people to root for. The highest grosser of the 7 other nominees was $84 million (“The Imitation Game”). The remaining six ranked from $59 million to as low as $11 million.
Even with “American Sniper,” the average gross of the 11 nominated films was just $77 million. Remove “Sniper” and you’re below $45 million. Very few people saw the movies nominated last night, and very few cared to watched a bubbled-wrapped ceremony celebrating a bunch of movies no one saw.
The only good news for the Academy is that only 34 million tuned in for what was the dullest, most obnoxious Oscar ceremony in recent memory. After years of wisely eschewing divisive, extreme left-wing politics, last night we were lectured by the super-rich and pampered about income inequality, immigration, and equal rights for women in a country that has given women equal rights for more than a century.
The bad news, though, is that the hyper-political clips from last are getting a lot of play in the media today, which is undoubtedly turning off those who didn’t tune in. Will this make them more or less likely to tune in next year?
Yep, there’s nothing quite like watching a woman in possession of an Oscar and a $150,000 swag bag crybaby about income inequality. You’ve come a long way, Patricia Arquette.
Other than being bubbled freaks who believe “Birdman” was superior to “Get On Up,” “John Wick,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Interstellar,” or a half-dozen other better titles that didn’t even earn a nomination, the Academy’s real problem is a breathtaking lack of starpower. When your bench is so weak you are hauling out the long-past-their-prime John Travolta and Nicole Kidman; when television star Kerry Washington looks at home with your movie talent, you have a big problem.
Unpopular titles mixed with no stars to stargaze at is a recipe for low ratings and irrelevance.
Bottom line: 34.6 million for Hollywood’s bighest night; 115 million for the NFL’s biggest night. One institution speaks to the people and celebrates greatness, the other celebrates its elite, provincial, narcissistic self.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC