The Oscars joins a growing list of major televised events that have not only become heavily politically polarized but which have seen a drastic loss of interest from the public, including the Superbowl, the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Grammys, and now the Oscars.
Initially, we had the Superbowl, which took a ratings hit while being politically charged, then we had the Grammys, with a surprise cameo from Hillary Clinton, and then we had the 2018 Winter Olympics, which the ancient Greeks would even pause war for, but which apparently was too much to ask for the Left’s Russophobes, and of course, the identity politics of the entertainment industry.
Rather than simply being about awarding the best entertainment productions and performances of the year, the event quickly turned overtly political. Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time in bringing sarcasm versus conservative political leaders and news outlets, namely President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the widely viewed by conservative media channel Fox News. Fox News, of course, reports:
Jimmy Kimmel claimed he was keeping this year’s Oscars positive, but the ratings were anything but.
The politically charged 2018 Academy Awards were down 20 percent compared to the 2017 numbers, averaging 26.5 million viewers. It’s the first time that the Oscars averaged fewer than 30 million people since at least 1974 when Nielsen started keeping track.
Last year’s event drew 33 million sets of eyeballs and the sharp decline resulted in roughly 6.5 million lost viewers. Host Jimmy Kimmel and the crowd of Hollywood elite focused on diversity, feminism and political issues as much as they focused on the films being honored.
The lack of high-wattage stars in the major categories, as well as a ho-hum slate of films when it came to box office receipts, may also have been a factor.
Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor told Fox News viewers shouldn’t be surprised that the show turned political and featured “divisive, left-wing politics” throughout the four-hour event.
“The Tinseltown elite genuinely hate the people they expect will pay to see their movies and watch their TV shows,” Gainor said. “Why do we support them?”
Sunday night’s awards were politically charged and loaded with mentions of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Kimmel took jabs at President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and even Fox News viewers.
“We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money,” Kimmel quipped at one point. “We make them to upset Mike Pence.”
The Pence joke prompted conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to sarcastically tweet, “I thought Hollywood wasn’t biased against conservatives and only cares about the bottom line.”
Prior to this year, the 2008 awards were the all-time low for an Oscars audience when 32 million tuned in to watch Jon Stewart host and “No Country for Old Men” pick up the Best Picture prize.
During the show, Kimmel lauded the actual Oscar statue, noting its age of 90 and taking a swipe at Fox News viewers in the process: “Oscar is 90 years old tonight, which means he’s probably at home tonight watching Fox News.”
Kimmel wasn’t the only one getting political throughout the night. Stars Kumail Nanjiani and Lupita Nyong’o took the stage to share a message of support to Dreamers ahead of announcing “Shape of Water” as the winner of best production design.
A musical performance from Common and Andra Day of “Stand Up for Something” was an ode to American activism with politically charged lyrics about topics like the NRA, the Parkland shooting, immigration, feminism and Puerto Rico.
A variety of Hollywood stars spoke about diversity and the #MeToo movement when they were given a chance to speak.
Frances McDormand, who was the “Best Actress” winner for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” used her speech to call for inclusion riders after urging all females who were nominated in any category in 2018 to stand.
Other than potential viewers staying away because of the presumed barrage of politics, the Academy Awards could have also kept viewers away by celebrating movies that many people didn’t see. Only two of the films nominated for Best Picture, “Dunkirk” and “Get Out,” landed in the Top 15 highest-grossing films of 2017, according to Box Office Mojo.
Popular films such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Wonder Woman,” Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” “It” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” simply aren’t the type of films that are honored by the Academy in non-technical categories.
The unique monster movie “The Shape of Water” took home the award for best picture.
Of course, the MeToo movement found further promotion at the event as three actresses, showcasing their own MeToo spotlights, delivered a short calling for more diversity in the film industry. Salon tells us:
With the spotlight on Hollywood at the Academy Awards Sunday night, the annual awards show that has historically had problems with diversity took a step forward as the #MeToo movement made its presence known.
Three actresses in particular, Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra — who have all allegedly experienced abuse from Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein — shared a heartfelt moment on stage as they introduced a video that highlighted the need for diversity in film.
But another writer for the same publication, Mary Elizabeth Williams, wastes no time in alleging that the politicization of the Grammy’s really isn’t enough:
A year ago, the world watched uncomfortably as Brie Larson handed Hollywood’s highly accolade to Casey Affleck, a man accused of sexually harassing behavior and named in two lawsuits. Oscar has always danced happily with accused abusers, including Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Harvey Weinstein. But after the explosive momentum of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements over recent months, this year promised to be different. And then the exact same thing happened again. Do you know exactly what newly minted victors Kobe Bryant and Gary Oldman have been accused of? Because it’s horrifying.
What men do to women behind closed doors often comes down to conflicting accounts, and there is a very small number of people in the world who know what actually went down with Bryant, Oldman and the women who accused them of abuse. Nor do the attitudes and behaviors of either man mitigate their talents.
But if you want to put on a big show that literally devotes an entire segment to how things are changing in the entertainment industry and brings out a trio of women — Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek — whose livelihoods were kneecapped by Harvey Weinstein’s gross, vindictive behavior, you might want look around at the context. Is putting Ryan Seacrest, a man recently accused of sexual harassment, on the red carpet still a super hot idea? Is celebrating accused stalker and harasser John Heard in the In Memoriam montage a good look right now?
Hollywood has undoubtedly made strides toward bringing the issues of abuse and harassment into the open — and in some cases even imposing serious consequences for bad behavior. But Sunday’s victory lap for men who’ve faced accusations of abhorrent violence against women make it clear that for much of the industry, it’s still less #TimesUp and more business as usual.
The sheer amount of political rhetoric that the Grammys is increasingly becoming a platform for seems comes about with a simultaneous drop in ratings. The Oscars saw its largest ever year over year drop with a 20% decrease in ratings while the MeToo movement has garnered an insane amount of free press for it via the scandals that it has shown the spotlight on. ZeroHedge observes:
Award shows gained a newfound relevance in January when Oprah Winfrey delivered a widely-lauded speech condemning sexism and sexual harassment while accepting a lifetime achievement award during the Golden Globes. But despite her inspired performance, the Globes suffered a 5% ratings dip compared with the prior year’s broadcast. Analysts attributed the drop to the continued cord-cutting that has been weighing on cable TV viewership stats…but it’s impossible to rule out the possibility that the event’s stridently political overtones prompted a large sliver of American audiences to tune out.
This problem was not unique to the Globes: last night’s Oscars broadcast recorded the largest year-over-year audience decline in the event’s history, despite the excitement surrounding how Hollywood’s elite might choose to acknowledge the “#MeToo” movement that was born out of a spate of exposes about powerful Hollywood figures, most notably the disgraced former studio head Harvey Weinstein.
As Bloomberg reports, viewership for the 90th Academy Awards saw a nearly 20% drop, despite what many reviewers said was a strong hosting performance by late-night talk show host (and perennial Trump antagonist) Jimmy Kimmel.
The overnight rating for the show, an estimate of the percentage of homes tuned it to the program, fell to 18.9, down about 16 percent from preliminary data a year ago. “The Shape of Water,” from 21st Century Fox Inc., was voted best picture.
Bloomberg blamed the decline on cord-cutting and the fact that many of the nominees for the night’s highest honor – best picture – grossed less than $100 million at the box office, suggesting that American audiences weren’t familiar with many of the individual nominees.
Viewing of live events, such as awards shows and sports, has declined along with the rest of TV’s audience. Only two of the pictures that featured in last night’s program, the horror movie “Get Out” and the World War II drama “Dunkirk,” tallied more than $100 million in domestic box-office sales…
Per the Wrap, last year’s Oscars landed a 22.4 rating in Nielsen’s overnight numbers, which count 56 metered markets. That was down 4.3% from 2016’s very preliminary numbers. Meanwhile, the 2017 Oscars eventually tabulated 32.9 million total viewership which was down 4% from the Rock-hosted ceremony. According to these preliminary numbers, that’s one of its largest drops on record, per Decider.
Furthermore, the 18.9 rating would be the worst-ever recorded – though this is based on preliminary data.
Given the results of this sort of politicizing of all forms of entertainment and sporting events, will the SJWs learn that their identity politics just doesn’t sell? Or, will they continue down this path to the detriment of their own industries? They though that they truly owned the American cultural landscape, but increasingly, its shows that they are wrong. As it’s said, pride goeth before the fall. The entertainment industry should learn from Robespierre that the instigator of a reign of terror can fall victim to it as well.
The MeToo movement has been advancing its own reign of terror, with even some of its own chief propagators ending up before the tribunal, into many various facets of the entertainment industry, sports, government, and has even spread to the eastern hemisphere. While it sometimes leads to dealing with concerning issues that need to be addressed, the unchecked witch hunt that it has spawned is bringing about reprisals in several ways. For the Oscars, popular reprisal is coming in the form of a sharp decline in popularity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.