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Oscar Ratings Took a Hit – There are Many Theories as to Why

Deadline is reporting that the Oscars telecast had the lowest ratings in 9 years. There are several reasons for this but the main reason is this: The Oscar ratings are driven by the star system. The bigger the star, the bigger the ratings. So Leonardo DiCaprio drew more people to see him finally win his Oscar last year. 34 million to this year’s 32 million. Not a big leap. Birdman’s year drew 37 million when Neil Patrick Harris hosted. But the real people so many tuned in? American Sniper. It was a massive hit and drew people from all over the country, many of them actually thought it would win Best Picture. It was probably the only one they all saw. That was 37 million. 12 Years a Slave had Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lawrence all in attendance, plus Ellen DeGeneres hosting – 43 million.

Lower than this year was the year No Country for Old Men was favored to win Best Picture. Jon Stewart was the host and the films were critically acclaimed but not exactly big public favorites.

The best thing the Academy can do to jump their ratings is to involve the public more in the movies they choose. They can do that by expanding the slate to ten movies to allow for more genre films. This is something that would solve a lot of their problems with more films directed by women, more films about women – and more films that are rising in popularity, like Deadpool that would have no chance to get nominated otherwise. This seems, overall, a fair compromise.

However, it should be noted that 32 million isn’t that bad considering Trump and his deplorables boycotted the Oscars, politics might have turned some people off and most people watch the highlights on Youtube anyway.

Ratings usually hover between 30 and 40 million. The highest ever recorded was Titanic with a whopping 57 million, which tells you what happens when you put a cultural phenomenon like that in the race. Though many believed these films, many of them with $100 million take, they weren’t quite on that level.

It would be a mistake to give Trump too much credit here. Stupid people will, and that’s something we have to live with in a divided country. I’ve watched a lot of Oscar telecasts and that was one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was a class act all the way through, up to and included the way the mistake was handled at the end.

59th
Academy Awards

March
30, 1987

Platoon

3
hours, 19 minutes

39.72
million

25.94

Chevy
Chase, Goldie Hawn, Paul Hogan

60th
Academy Awards

April
11, 1988

The
Last Emperor

3
hours, 33 minutes

42.04
million

27.80

Chevy
Chase

61st
Academy Awards

March
29, 1989

Rain
Man

3
hours, 19 minutes

42.77
million

28.41

None

62nd
Academy Awards

March
26, 1990

Driving
Miss Daisy

3
hours, 37 minutes

40.22
million

26.42

Billy
Crystal

63rd
Academy Awards

March
25, 1991

Dances
with Wolves

3
hours, 35 minutes

42.79
million

28.06

64th
Academy Awards

March
30, 1992

The
Silence of the Lambs

3
hours, 33 minutes

44.44
million

29.84

65th
Academy Awards

March
29, 1993

Unforgiven

3
hours, 30 minutes

45.84
million

32.85

66th
Academy Awards

March
21, 1994

Schindler’s
List

3
hours, 18 minutes

46.26
million

31.86

Whoopi
Goldberg

67th
Academy Awards

March
27, 1995

Forrest
Gump

3
hours, 35 minutes

48.87
million

33.47

David
Letterman

68th
Academy Awards

March
25, 1996

Braveheart

3
hours, 38 minutes

44.81
million

30.48

Whoopi
Goldberg

69th
Academy Awards

March
24, 1997

The
English Patient

3
hours, 34 minutes

40.83
million

25.83

Billy
Crystal

70th
Academy Awards

March
23, 1998

Titanic

3
hours, 47 minutes

57.25
million

35.32

71st
Academy Awards

March
21, 1999

5:30 p.m.

Shakespeare
in Love

4
hours, 2 minutes

45.63
million

28.51

72nd
Academy Awards

March
26, 2000

American
Beauty

4
hours, 9 minutes

46.53
million

29.64

73rd
Academy Awards

March
25, 2001

Gladiator

3
hours, 23 minutes

42.93
million

25.86

74th
Academy Awards

March
24, 2002

A
Beautiful Mind

4
hours, 23 minutes

40.54
million

25.13

75th
Academy Awards

March
23, 2003

Chicago

3
hours, 30 minutes

33.04
million

20.58

76th
Academy Awards

February
29, 2004

The
Lord of the Rings:

The
Return of the King

3
hours, 44 minutes

43.56
million

26.68

77th
Academy Awards

February
27, 2005

Million
Dollar Baby

3
hours, 14 minutes

42.16
million

25.29

78th
Academy Awards

March
5, 2006

5:00 p.m.

Crash

3
hours, 33 minutes

38.64
million

22.91

79th
Academy Awards

February
25, 2007

The
Departed

3
hours, 51 minutes

39.92
million

23.65

80th
Academy Awards

February
24, 2008

No
Country for Old Men

3
hours, 21 minutes

31.76
million

18.66

81st
Academy Awards

February
22, 2009

Slumdog
Millionaire

3
hours, 30 minutes

36.94
million

20.88

82nd
Academy Awards

March
7, 2010

The
Hurt Locker

3
hours, 37 minutes

41.62
million

24.89

83rd
Academy Awards

February
27, 2011

The
King’s Speech

3
hours, 15 minutes

37.9
million

21.2

84th
Academy Awards

February
26, 2012

5:30 p.m.

The
Artist

3
hours, 14 minutes

39.46
million

23.91

85th
Academy Awards

February
24, 2013

Argo

3
hours, 35 minutes

40.38
million

24.47

86th
Academy Awards

March
2, 2014

12
Years a Slave

3
hours, 34 minutes

43.74
million

24.7

87th
Academy Awards

February
22, 2015

Birdman
or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

3
hours, 43 minutes

37.26
million

20.6

88th
Academy Awards

February
28, 2016

Spotlight

3
hours, 37 minutes

34.43
million

23.4

89th
Academy Awards

February
26, 2017

Moonlight

3
hours, 49 minutes

32.9
million

22.4