Unnamed Oscars Producer Confirms that the Over-Politicization of Entertainment Hurts Viewership

Photo by Davide Ragusa via Unsplash

Unnamed Oscars Producer Confirms that the Over-Politicization of Entertainment Hurts Viewership

By Movieguide® Staff

As Hollywood gears up for the Academy Awards, many in the industry fear that the coronavirus pandemic will sink viewership numbers.  

However, in a recent report from the New York Times, COVID-19 is not solely to blame for the steep fall in interest from households across the country. 

The report suspects that the Academy Awards will mirror other awards shows and continue to lose avid viewers. This process began in 2014, according to Nielsen data. 

“The ratings for the Grammys were down by 53 percent. The Golden Globes plummeted by more than 60,” the NYT article reads, adding: “Nielsen ratings for the Oscars were already in free fall before the pandemic, plunging 44 percent between 2014 and last year, when 23.6 million people watched the South Korean dramatic thriller ‘Parasite’ win the top prize. An additional drop on a par with the Globes show in February would put the Oscars audience in the catastrophic single-digit millions.”

One unnamed producer of the show confessed that the lack of interest directly correlates to Hollywood’s politicization of entertainment. 

“Increasingly, the ceremonies are less about entertainment honors and more about progressive politics, which inevitably annoys those in the audience who disagree,” the NYT reported. “One recent producer of the Oscars, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential metrics, said minute-by-minute post-show ratings analysis indicated that ‘vast swaths’ of people turned off their televisions when celebrities started to opine on politics.”

However, Hollywood continues to lean into progressive projects that claim inclusivity but end up alienating audiences. Moreover, the same industry has begun to celebrate these movies, despite their often missteps at the box office and their negative effect on Oscar viewership. 

“This year, the producers want to focus less on winning and instead make sure the notably diverse group of nominees has a better-than-average time by making the event more communal and intimate,” the NYT reported. 

Movieguide® previously reported

Since 2014, the past six Best Picture Winners have grown steadily more niche, with few exceptions: 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2014), BIRDMAN (2015), SPOTLIGHT (2016), MOONLIGHT (2017), THE SHAPE OF WATER (2018), GREEN BOOK (2019), and PARASITE (2020). 

In particular, MOONLIGHT, THE SHAPE OF WATER, and PARASITE not only contained immoral content that alienated general audiences, but they also tackled serious topics about modern culture.

“It’s not just because this pandemic-impacted awards season has meant most films have barely registered at the box office, opting for streaming and premium VOD. It’s also because serious movies, even when they individually attract passionate followings, now occupy a smaller niche,” THR reported

The Oscar lineup for 2021 is no different. 

“Guts + Data, a research firm that focuses on entertainment, said last month that only 18 percent of active film watchers (in theaters or at home) had heard of MANK, the Netflix film leading the Oscar race with 10 nominations,” NYT reported, adding: “According to the Guts + Data survey, conducted the week of March 21, the best-known contender was JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, with 46 percent awareness. The front-runner, NOMADLAND registered only 35 percent.” 

The aversion to the Oscars supports Movieguide®’s Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry statistics, which show that uplifting, moral, and family-friendly movies attract the largest audiences.