Why People Just Don’t Care About the Oscars Anymore
By Movieguide® Staff
As filmmakers, studios, and Hollywood prepare for the 93rd Academy Awards – which are set to air at the end of April – a significant decline in viewership is expected.
The COVID-19 pandemic laid waste to theaters, the traditional box office and negatively affected the ratings of other live events such as the Golden Globes. However, another factor could have more to do with the steady decrease of interest from moviegoers in the Oscars and the movie industry.
Further evidence of a shift in moviegoer interest in 2020 became clear as streaming services took the reins for cinematic entertainment.
Movieguide®’s theory that family-friendly and morally uplifting movies draw the largest audiences continues to hold true.
Even amid coronavirus-related shutdowns throughout 2020 and into 2021, there is evidence that family movies such as THE CROODS: A NEW AGE and TOM AND JERRY opened to stronger numbers and continue to make more money at the box office than movies like TENET or JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH which targeted smaller audiences.
The Hollywood Reporter echoed Movieguide®’s hypothesis in a recent report:
Could movies be losing their cultural cachet? The latest evidence: The Golden Globe Awards saw ratings plummet 62 percent in total viewers to just 6.91 million. Sure, there were extenuating circumstances: The show lacked a strong lead-in; the virtual ceremony meant the glitz was dialed way down; and because of the pandemic-forced cinema closings, most of the films never had a chance to woo moviegoers in theaters.
But there’s also the possibility that movies that pride themselves on being serious, cultural commentary, with only the occasional exception, no longer dominate the culture the way they once did. The best films — the kind that now most often win Oscars — don’t reach a mass market but speak to a smaller, self-selecting cognoscenti. (TV ratings for the ceremony have declined steadily since 2014, except for a spike in 2019.)
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, they also tackled serious topics about modern culture.
Movieguide® encourages audiences to exercise discernment because moviegoers have the loudest voice in what movies are released.
“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.