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Oscars ratings aren't Rock'n


     I’m sure most people saw the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars a few weeks ago, but when was the last time you actually watched the Oscars? Historically, the Academy Awards Show has been the peak of television, but in the past few years, it has fallen significantly in viewership. 

     The Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars, is an award show for the best actors, actresses and directors each year. Starting in 1927, these awards have always been widely respected by critics and viewers of cinema. The Oscars peaked around the 1980s and 1990s, with the 1997 Academy Awards reaching a peak of 57 million viewers. Since this era, the Academy Awards have been on a slow decline in viewers,


Graphic by Jack Albritton

with the 2021 ceremony accumulating a record low of barely 10 million viewers and a 2.1 out of five-star rating according to CNBC News. I believe this sharp decrease in viewership is a result of several external and internal factors relating to the management of this ceremony. 

     The increase of social media users over the past decade has heavily influenced the spread of media and information. Apps such as TikTok and Instagram allow users to post videos and photos of popular events. This allows for people to see the highlights of shows like the Oscars without having to sit through all of the extra content and commercials of the televised ceremony. I personally prefer to view the Oscars this way because it is far more efficient and entertaining.

     In similar fashion, the rise of streaming services in the past few years has led to a decrease in the number of people who still watch cable TV. With services like HBO Max or Netflix, you can watch almost any show or movie at any time, so many people have opted to use these subscriptions instead of having cable television. While the Oscars were offered on streaming services this year, the huge selection of content on these applications has made people less interested in the Academy Awards altogether. 

     Apart from these logistical reasons, the actual content of the Oscars is repetitive and unengaging for audiences. Every year the Oscars consist of celebrities giving boring speeches or making fun of each other on stage, and the process of picking the actual winners doesn’t involve the fans at all. All nominees and winners are chosen by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, so the most popular films among the common population rarely win.

     Despite all of these problems, I still don’t think the Oscars are a lost cause. The first step to improving this award show is to fix the nomination process. Award Shows like The CMT Music Awards, American Music Award and People's Choice Awards allow fans to participate in the voting process. Using a similar strategy for the Oscars would improve viewer engagement and make the overall show more interesting. I also think that the Oscars need to break up the formula that they use every single year. Adding some variety to how the award ceremony is organized could go a long way. Whether it's switching up the order of events or incorporating comedy and music performances, having something to break up the routine of awards would keep fans interested. 

The 2022 Oscars was very similar to shows in the past, aside from Chris Rock getting slapped by Will Smith. Viewership was up by over 50 percent this year compared to last year, so there is some hope for Oscars in the future. I believe that if they incorporated more variety in the show and incorporated a viewer based voting system like I suggested, with a combination of a few more celebrity fights, we could see a resurgence of the Oscars in modern media.

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