Oscars Poor Ratings Problem Can Be Solved, Here’s How

2017 Oscars Ratings 2nd Worst In History; Movie Star Host, More Best Picture Choices The Solution

The 2017 89th Annual Academy Awards, aka The Oscars, posted the second worst television ratings in history. This is a problem, and is something that can’t be attributed to cutting the cable cord – the TV ratings reflect the total share of a viewing population a broadcast captures; for the 89th Oscars to bring in just over 32 million viewers was a massive disappointment.

What’s the problem?

Some will point to the fact that many people simply were not familiar with Jimmy Kimmel, the host of the long-running, late-night show on ABC. There’s some truth to that, as Oscars hosts are normally movie-star-level comedians; Kimmel is neither movie-star level, nor a comedian. This is not to take away from his outstanding performance, but the fact remains that Kimmel benefitted from the Oscars far more than the Oscars benefitted from him.

The other problem is a number of movies were not of the tent-pole variety – in one poll, six of 10 people could not name a single best picture nominee for 2017. This year, there were nine choices. Obviously by the ratings results, that was not enough.

To end this ratings slide and bring the Oscars back to its ratings glory, I propose a new, unprecedented format: 11 Best Picture nominees. That’s right: 11.

The reason for this goes back to 2010: that year, there were 10 Best Picture nominees, including the path-breaking blockbuster Avatar. The 2010 Oscars drew the second-highest ratings in Academy Awards history, and that’s directly due to the number of movies AMPAS had to chose from.

While some will say that 2005 had just five Best Picture nominees, it was a different time, when our media consumption habits were directed more by what movie played in a traditional theater; it’s vastly different today. There are more movies competing for our attention and released on platforms that were not known in 2005, especially video-on-demand. Movies tend to play shorter periods in the theater before they’re out on DVD, or online, ot both.

The Oscars must cast a wider net in the 21st Century to draw viewers who want to see their favorite movies have a chance at the big prize. In the process, films that normally would have been ignored, gain an even larger audience for their talented casts.

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