Ratings Reveal Oscars No Longer Olympics of Movie Industry

The results in! The Oscars are no longer the Olympics of the film industry. The 87th Academy Awards’ viewership was down 16%, the lowest in six years. This roughly translates into 36 million viewers.

The 2012 London Summer Olympics were one of the most watched on TV in history. Reportedly, over 219.4 million Americans alone tuned in to these broadcasts in spite of time differences and tape-delays.

photo by Alan Light

photo by Alan Light


Unlike the four-year wait to find out who gets to the top spot at the Olympic podium, there is no suspense about who the front runners are for the Academy Awards. We’ve already seen them win important trophies at numerous awards shows.

Comparing Hollywood’s biggest night to the 2012 London Summer Olympics may not seem relevant at all. And that’s my point.

The Academy Awards are getting closer and closer to becoming irrelevant to viewers.

At last count, there were approximately 17 awards shows bunched up together before the beginning-of-the-year sprint to the Oscars. By the time the finish line was in sight, the field of films and actors competing for the top honors were are all but decided – and we viewers forced to root for the same winners who’ve already been feted over and over again in an endless line-up of rewards shows.

This is what the latest decline in ratings numbers reveals: Viewers no longer want to watch an awards show that doesn’t reflect the resonance a film had with them.

As the show’s host Neil Patrick Harris aptly joked, “American Sniper” was the Oprah of movies raking in $321 million at the box office. Did this film get any Oscars? Yes, logically it won for Best Sound Editing.

Box Office Mojo reports “The Imitation Game” has taken in $178 million and “The Theory of Everything,” a film I had a personal stake in because producer Lisa Bruce is from my hometown, has made $104 million worldwide.

However, the Academy thinks “Birdman” (a film I personally disliked) is the film that will transcend generations to come.  This offbeat movie got four Oscars including Best Picture and Director, yet has only made $77 million worldwide. (Mil disculpas a mi compatriota Alejandro González Iñárritu pero no me gusto la película)

So which movie was the people’s choice? You tell us. And I’m not referring to the results of that dim awards show.

As a staunch cinephile I have one word for this year’s Oscar race: Disappointing.

Adding insult to injury, the 4 hour and 18 minute telecast this year bordered on the ridiculous. Why would an incredibly talented host like Neil Patrick Harris feel compelled to come up with cheap stunts — like stripping down to his tighty – whities — just to keep our eyeballs on … the TV set?

The Academy is losing viewers and respect from those same people they want to coach to watch their silly awards show. Don’t snub us!

Speaking of silly, The People’s Choice Awards are starting to sound less cheesy — just a little food for thought.

One way to try to whip us viewers into shape is to trim down the number of awards shows to the most significant ones, and really consider what the general public is watching.  Help us train so we have the stamina to make it to the 88th Academy Awards.


  1. I SO agree! I had high hopes for NPH but felt like he was not himself at all. The underwear bit and the whole thing about his predictions were both cringe-worthy. The Lady Gaga SOM tribute was pretty amazing, though…

  2. Ann says:

    I don’t get out to the movies as much as I’d like to. I used to use the Oscar wins as my “go-to” list to see, but lately there have been some big duds.
    I find myself relying more and more on recommendations from friends and from blog posts. And I just wish the awards show itself was more entertaining–this year, it seemed to start out ok, but quickly lost my interest.
    But I agree that Lady Gaga was amazing.

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