By Colin Bridgman, staff writer
With viewership of the Oscars/Academy Awards in decline for years, it seems likely that future audiences will be treated to a more commercialized festival in the years to come.
According to Statista, viewership of the event has drastically declined over the last decade. Ten years ago, a little over 39 million tuned in. Last year, that viewership declined to 10.4 million, and this most recent Oscars, even with its infamous slap’s grip on the culture for multiple days, only managed to reel in 15.36 million viewers.
The message is clear, modern audiences are less interested in the Oscars than they were five or ten years ago.
In hopes of enlivening this year’s award ceremony, the Academy cut eight awards from being given out live, and instead gave the awards out prior to the show—editing in the reactions and speeches into the broadcast, as Vanity Fair reported.
Rather than focus on creating an award show that rewards brilliance within the creation of film, the Academy Awards have attempted to fabricate a spectacle. This begs the question, should the broadcast be focused on drawing in the maximum number of viewers, or should it focus on excellence in film?
As it stands now, the Awards are being pulled in two separate directions. There is the classic award show that has gone mostly unchanged since its inception as a broadcast in 1953. There is also the intriguing awards show, drawing in hundreds of viewers, that the Academy would prefer.
I say stop tiptoeing the line and decide. The Academy wants more people tuning in? Then abandon celebrating impressive films: let viewers at home vote for the awards, let pop-culture blockbusters win best picture, add new awards like best-kiss, add slime, make the awards orange little blimps. Become the Teen Choice Awards.
The suggestions sound ridiculous, but it is what the Academy may move toward. There won’t be blimps, but they may add blockbuster movie awards. There won’t be slime, but after the infamous slap, there may be manufactured drama or events.
The decline in viewership is also visible anecdotally among students. Nereyda Flores, a student at PPCC, said “If I’m going to be honest, I don’t really watch the Oscars I just watch the fashion reviews.” She said that despite her interest in acting and film the award show itself does not draw her.
Another student, Quinn Smola, slowly fell away from watching the Academy Awards. He watched them with his parents but fell away from watching the show as he got older.
People don’t care about tuning in as they did in the past. You can view who the winners of each award are within minutes online or see any clip you desire within the hour. Why should modern audiences watch? Why does it matter so much to the Academy? Viewership is not what the awards was created for, so don’t force it now.
Trying to relate to “the kids” or twenty-somethings will not work. If the Academy builds it they still will not come. The Oscars went 25 years without a broadcast, it was about celebrating beautiful films and moving performances. Stay in your lane, Oscar.