Early numbers (that can change) show that the ratings for Sunday’s hostless Academy Awards jumped nine percent over last year, which was the lowest in history.
The divisive, far-left Jimmy Kimmel hosted the previous two Oscars telecasts and drove the ratings into the dirt.
Last year, only 26.5 million tuned in, a number that was unthinkable a decade ago.
This year’s 9 percent improvement is nothing to write home about. The Academy is still looking at a dismal number of around 30 million viewers, which will mean second or third worst in history.
But it is fascinating to note that when given the choice between a second round of Kimmel in 2018 and no Kimmel (and no host whatsoever) this year, a few million more people chose no host.
Yes, Kimmel is toxic, a “star” only among the elite. In the real world he barely squeaks over over two million viewers. It still boggles the mind the Academy would choose one of the most unappealing guys in the country to host two years running.
Oscar will be pleased with the bump. It could mean the show hit bottom. So that is something, I guess.
One thing that should worry Hollywood, though, is just how dull Sunday’s telecast was. At three hours and seven minutes it felt more like ten hours and seven minutes. Who is going to want to sit through that again?
And even without a host, the telecast was partisan, divisive, and mean-spirited. Anyone who tuned in hoping a hostless night might mean fewer insults learned a pretty hard lesson. Hollywood hates normal Americans, despises us, and will use every opportunity to say so.
Overall, though, Oscar’s biggest problem is a lack of star power. Why would a show devoted to the magic of filmmaking open with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph — three TV stars?
I realize a lot of TV stars make movies, but they are still TV stars. I love the Wayne’s World movies but Dana Carvey and Mike Myers are still TV stars.
Allison Janney? Queen Latifah? Emilia Clarke? Trevor Noah? Paul Rudd? I get it, I do, they appear in movies and Janney even won an Oscar, but we are a long ways away from Sylvester Stallone, Shirley MacLaine, Sidney Poitier, Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda, Julie Christie, Warren Beatty, Dennis Hopper, Teri Garr, Louis Gossett Jr., Richard Dreyfus, Sally Field, etc.
Except for a brief respite with Julia Roberts, Barbra Streisand, Michelle Yeoh, and a couple of others, last night’s show had all the charisma of the Daytime Emmys.
Oscar’s dirty little secret is that show has always stunk, but once upon a time it didn’t matter because we were there to gawk at the movie stars, that rare breed of species that captured our imagination. Now that they has been almost entirely replaced by TV-level actors or bland pretty boys like Chris Evans (who are nothing without $250 million special effects), the suckiness of the show can no longer be hidden.
Star power matters. Think of just how much better last night’s telecast would have been with just one shot of Jack Nicholson smiling in those sunglasses.
***UPDATE: This piece has been updated to reflect the numbers as they come in. The ratings are now showing a 9%, not a 14% bump. We will continue to update throughout the day.