clearn.png
Tuesday April 13th, 2021 12:30AM

Will the Oscars be a 'who cares' moment as ratings dive?

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — George Bradley used to love watching the Academy Awards. The 28-year-old Brit now living in San Diego would stay up late back home just to tune in.

Though he's now in the right time zone, he's just not interested, and that's due primarily to the pandemic.

“The rising dominance of the streaming services has taken the gloss off the Oscars for me,” he said. “You just don't get the same warm fuzzy feeling from when you recognize a movie from the silver screen.”

Whether you watch out of love, because you love to hate or have given up like Bradley, awards shows have suffered since the coronavirus shuttered theaters and shut down live performances. But the ratings slide for awards nights began well before Covid-19 took over.

For much of this century, the Oscars drew 35 million to 45 million viewers, often just behind the Super Bowl. Last year, just before the pandemic was declared, the hostless telecast on ABC was seen by its smallest audience ever, 23.6 million viewers, down 20 percent from the year before.

The pandemic-era Golden Globes a little more than a year later plummeted to 6.9 million viewers, down 64% from last year and barely besting 2008, the year a writer’s strike forced NBC to air a news conference announcing winners. Last year, pre-lockdown, the show had 18.4 million viewers, according to the Nielsen company.

In March, Grammy producers avoided the Zoom awkwardness of other awards shows and staged performances by some of the industry’s biggest stars — to no avail. The CBS telecast reached 9.2 million viewers, both television and streaming, the lowest number on record and a 51% drop from 2020, Nielsen said.

John Bennardo, 52, in Boca Raton, Florida, is a film buff, film school graduate and screenwriter, and runs a videography business for mostly corporate clients. This year is a no-go for the Oscars.

“I love the movies and aspire to be on that very Oscars stage receiving my own award some day,” he said. “I watch each year and take it in, enter contests where I try to pick winners and try to see all the films. But something has changed for this year.”

For starters, he hasn't seen a single film nominated in any category.

“Maybe I’ll watch `Zach Snyder’s Justice League' instead. It might be shorter,” Bennardo joked about the Oscars show.

Like other awards shows, the Oscars telecast was pushed back due to pandemic restrictions and safety concerns. The show had been postponed three times before in history, but never so far in advance. Organizers last June scheduled it for April 25, as opposed to its usual slot in February or early March.

Count that among other driving forces behind Oscars fatigue. Another, according to former fans of the show, is having to watch nominated movies on small screens and keeping up with when and where they are available on streaming and on-demand services. It's been one big blur to some.

Priscilla Visintine, 62, in St. Louis, Missouri, used to live for watching the Academy Awards. She attended watch parties every year, usually dressed all the way up for the occasion.

“Definitely the shuttering of the theaters created my lack of interest this year," she said. "I didn’t get any sense of Oscar buzz.”

Not all diehards have given up their favorite awards show.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, 50-year-old Jennifer Rice and her 22-year-old son, Jordan, have for years raced to watch as many nominated films as possible. In years past, it was their “February Madness,” she said, and they kept charts to document their predictions. She even got to attend the Oscars in 2019 through her work for a beauty company at the time.

“My other two children, ages 25 and 19, have no interest in the Oscars. It's just something special for Jordan and I,” Rice said. “The Oscars actually push us to watch movies that we may have never picked. I'm not as excited this year, but we're still trying to watch everything before the awards ceremony.”

As real-life hardship has intensified for many viewers, from food insecurity and job disruption to the isolation of lockdowns and parenting struggles, awards shows offer less escapism and razzle-dazzle than in the past, often relying on pre-taped performances and Zoom boxes for nominees. In addition, data shows little interest among younger generations for appointment television in general.

Lifelong lover of movies and a filmmaker himself, 22-year-old Pierre Subeh of Orlando, Florida, stopped watching the Oscars in 2019.

“We can barely stay put for a 15-second TikTok. How are we expected to sit through a dragged out, four-hour awards ceremony filled with ads and outdated offensive jokes? We're living in the time of content curation. We need algorithms to figure out what we want to watch and to show us the best of the best,” he said.

As a Muslim, Middle Eastern immigrant, Subeh also sees little inclusion of his culture in mainstream film, let alone on the Oscars stage.

“We're only mentioned when Aladdin is brought up. I don’t feel motivated to gather up my family on a Sunday to sit through a four-hour award ceremony that never has any sort of mention about our culture and religion. Yet as Muslims, we make up roughly 25% of the world population,” he said.

Jon Niccum, 55, in Lawrence, Kansas, teaches screenwriting at the University of Kansas. He's a filmmaker, went to film school and has worked as a film critic. He and his wife host an annual Oscar party, with 30 guests at its heyday, including a betting pool on winners for money and prizes. It will be family-only this year due to the pandemic, but the betting is on.

And watching all the top films at home? For the most part, he said, “It was less satisfying.” Less satisfying enough to dump the Oscars telecast?

“I haven't missed an Oscars since 45 years ago. I'll watch every single minute of it,” Niccum said.

In Medford, New Jersey, 65-year-old Deb Madison will also be watching, as she has since she was a kid and her mom first took her to the movies.

In 2018, while on an RV road trip with her husband, she made him bike into town with her in Carlsbad, New Mexico, to find a spot to watch. The ride back was in pitch darkness. Another year, when she was working reception at a huge party in Philadelphia on Oscars night, the coordinators laid cable and provided her with a tiny TV hidden under the welcome desk so she could tune in.

This year, trying to keep up with nominees from home has stifled her excitement, Madison said.

“I'm a sucker for the red carpet and the gowns and, `Oh my god, I can't believe she wore that.' Another thing is, I don't particularly need to see these actors in their home environments," she said with a laugh. "This year, if I missed it, it wouldn't be tragic. Nobody would need to lay cable this year. But I still love the movies.”

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ryanair sees break-even earnings amid slow COVID-19 recovery
Ryanair says earnings for the current fiscal year are likely to be “close to breakeven” as continued travel restrictions delay its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
8:52AM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Weeknd is top nominee for May's iHeartRadio Music Awards
The Weeknd, Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch are among the top nominees for next month’s iHeartRadio Music Awards
8:50AM ( 11 minutes ago )
UK Deliveroo riders strike over pay, gig work conditions
Riders for the app-based meal delivery platform Deliveroo held a strike in London Wednesday over pay and working conditions
8:45AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
eBay auction of Japanese internment art pulled after protest
The auction of a series of sketches purportedly drawn by an artist at the Japanese internment camp at Manzanar has been canceled after groups protested it was offensive and immoral to profit off the misery of incarcerated people
9:13PM ( 11 hours ago )
Auction of Japanese internment art pulled after protest
The auction of a series of sketches purportedly drawn by an artist at the Japanese internment camp at Manzanar has been canceled after groups protested it was offensive and immoral to profit off the misery of incarcerated people
7:40PM ( 13 hours ago )
Lawmakers call YouTube Kids a 'wasteland of vapid' content
A House subcommittee is investigating YouTube Kids
6:55PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
New this Week: 'Kung Fu,' 'Rebel' and 'Thunder Force'
This week’s new entertainment releases include screen options with women taking charge
1:16PM ( 1 day ago )
'Trial of the Chicago 7' takes top honors at SAG Awards
The starry cast of Aaron Sorkin’s 1960s courtroom drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” took the top prize Sunday at a virtual, pre-taped Screen Actors Guild Awards that saw Netflix snag Hollywood actors’ highest honor for the first time
10:35PM ( 2 days ago )
'Godzilla vs. Kong' stomps to pandemic-best $48.5M opening
With the help of a few old friends, the box office rekindled some of its old might over the weekend
12:35PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Movies News
EU agency to share results of probe into AstraZeneca shot
The European Medicines Agency plans to announce the conclusions of its investigation into the possible connection between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots
7:53AM ( 1 hour ago )
Asia Today: India sees another record rise in virus cases
India has reported a record daily surge in new coronavirus cases for the second time in four days on Wednesday, while New Delhi, Mumbai and dozens of other cities are imposing curfews to try to slow the soaring infections
7:52AM ( 1 hour ago )
UK Deliveroo riders to strike over pay, gig work conditions
Gig economy riders for app-based meal delivery platform Deliveroo are set to join strikes in 5 U.K. cities Wednesday over pay and working conditions
7:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Ryanair sees break-even earnings amid slow COVID-19 recovery
Ryanair says earnings for the current fiscal year are likely to be “close to breakeven” as continued travel restrictions delay its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
8:52AM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Weeknd is top nominee for May's iHeartRadio Music Awards
The Weeknd, Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch are among the top nominees for next month’s iHeartRadio Music Awards
8:50AM ( 11 minutes ago )
UK Deliveroo riders strike over pay, gig work conditions
Riders for the app-based meal delivery platform Deliveroo held a strike in London Wednesday over pay and working conditions
8:45AM ( 17 minutes ago )
The Latest: Germany's Merkel backs short virus lockdown
A spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel is supporting calls for a “short, uniform lockdown” as the country grapples with a rise in coronavirus cases
8:29AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Main opposition party against mining wins Greenland election
Initial results show that Greenland’s main opposition party, which is against an international mining project involving uranium and other metals on the Arctic island, has emerged as the biggest party after winning more than a third of votes in an early parliamentary election
8:24AM ( 37 minutes ago )