The audience of Oscar has been showing a decreasing trend for the past 6 years. The television audience of the year 2021 has set a new record of low viewership. It was 58% lesser than the previous year’s audience. Only 9.58 Billion spared their time to watch Oscars 2021, while the score was 23.6 Billion last year. The global pandemic has the biggest contribution to the low viewership of Oscars 2021. Not just Oscar, other award shows like Golden Globe and Grammy witnessed low viewership of 6.9 million and 9.2 million respectively. Producers didn’t stop. They tried to host these events with a live audience but in vain. Due to COVID-19 situations, theatres were closed and people left their interest in movies on hold. They were not aware of the trending movies. And the award show experienced the same attitude.
Although, makers tried to fetch the attention of their part by arranging the program without a host and considered social distancing. They didn’t want the second most-watched TV program to lose its viewership. Before 2015, it had 35 million to 45 million viewers. After the year 2015, the viewership started shrinking. The 93rs Academy awards were held on 25th April in Los Angeles. The event was hosted in two locations- Dolby Theatre and Union Station. It has been organized at Dolby Theatre since 2001. The number of attendants was low just like the viewers. Only nominees, their dear ones, presenters, and organizers were allowed in the hall, and the credit goes to COVID-19 situations. It was announced that OSCARS will stream live from multiple locations. Earlier, it was decided to conduct the event in February, but coronavirus pandemic was not in favor.
So, the event got delayed by two months. Makers didn’t prefer to hire the host for the Oscars 2021. The hostless show managed to score a 1.9 rating among the adults (18-49). The highlights of the Oscars 2021 were, Cloe Zhao, became the first woman of Asia to win the award of best director. The real suspense was the award of best actor. The projected winner was the late Chadwick Boseman, while the award was given to Anthony Hopkins for The Father. It managed to get the attention online but that didn’t guarantee viewership. This could be cited as one of the factors of low ratings. Here is the list of nominees, who deserved to win.
- Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
- Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal”
- Steven Yeun for “Minari”
- Gary Oldman for “Mank”
- Carey Mulligan for “Promising Young Woman”
- Viola Davis for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
- Vanessa Kirby for “Pieces of a Woman”
- Sound of Medal
- The Father/ Judas and the Black Messiah
- Mank/ Promising Young Woman/ The Trial of the Chicago 7
The event was suffused with talent and dazzling faces but didn’t work for the audience. Another reason behind low viewership is, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, decided to reveal the best movie before the top two acting awards. Earlier, it was revealed at the end of the show. The global pandemic can be cited as the biggest contributor to low viewership for the last year and this year. But the viewership of Oscars has been showing a declining trend since 2015. In the year 2010, Oscars catered to 42 million viewers while it was 37.3 million in 2015. The low viewership of OSCARS 2021, has flooded the minds of makers with plenty of questions. Is it just an event that celebrated the victory of actors, entertains the fans but not a unifying force in pop culture?
The producers of the show are not even sure what could help them in augmenting the viewership and ratings. Also, it has become difficult for makers to unite the audience with indifferent mindsets for an award show. Another reason behind the plunge in the interests of viewers could be the nomination of non-deserving movies. Everyone has their perspectives and their opinions dominate vigorously and don’t allow them to watch what they didn’t like. There could be several reasons behind the low viewership like the day of the event (Sunday), absence of a host. Or the decision of delivering a speech about nominees instead of showing movie clips didn’t turn out fruitful. A hilarious though considerable factor was, people thought that the award show is held in February. It happened due to a lack of awareness.
Also, producers didn’t try to entice the viewers through social media, which has become a new promotion hub. Filmgoers were not aware of the movies and actors that got nominated. This could be cited as one of the factors causing low viewership. Despite the low viewership and plunging ratings, many advertisers like Google, General, motors, Adidas didn’t hesitate to invest in the OSCARS 2021. They offered an estimated amount of $2 million, for a spot of 30-seconds. Also, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’, managed to earn a great part of the revenue from the telecast of OSCARS 2021. OSCAR 2021 was not lucky for the advertisers like ABC who paid an estimated amount of $75 million and the studios that were expecting free publicity to a greater extent.
Past cannot be repaired. Now the question arises, what will happen next year in the 94th Academy Awards. Will it be privileged enough to enjoy normal broadcast? Will novel coronavirus permit things to regain normalcy? It is scheduled to held on 27th February 2022. The new flavors got the mixed reaction of the audience. The producer should return to traditional methods like the presence of a host, showing movie clips during nomination. They should work to go for normal format with music numbers, montages, etc. The new flavors aren’t enjoyed much by the audience. Returning to normalcy may help the viewers to regain viewership. Change is inevitable. The introduction of slight new flavors isn’t bad but the traditional essence should not get lost in the middle.