This year’s Oscar ceremony had the lowest television ratings on record, with only 32 million tuning in in the U.S. That’s a smaller audience than watched the first American Idol show this year.
Part of the explanation is that most of this year’s nominated films were not popular. They were not popular because they were bleak and violent. Hollywood has been losing customers with what I would consider mainstream tastes for a long time.
I think, too, that the politicization of the awards in recent years has hurt the audience. Hardly anyone wants to listen to hosts making partisan jokes, actors lecturing us on politics, or Michael Moore doing anything at all. (Yes, Moore was nominated again this year.) I watched a good part of the show with my wife and two of my daughters. We turned it off when some goofball started talking about Abu Ghraib. There’s a pretty simple lesson here: if you don’t care about your audience, at some point the audience will stop caring about you.
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