To quantify that statement, Nielsen have only been tracking the ratings on the Oscars since the 1990s (via The Wrap) but that doesn’t stop yesterday’s event posting the leanest audience of 26.5 million viewers, down 19.5% on 2017’s 32.9 million.
Why? Well, you can point fingers here there and everywhere. My feelings lie with the fact that all the major contenders this year were either older titles or ones that didn’t make a huge impact at the U.S. box office so the level of interest in what’s on show is hugely reduced.
Here’s the box office figures for the Best Picture nominees:
- DUNKIRK – $188m
- GET OUT – $176m
- THE POST – $80m
- THE SHAPE OF WATER – $57m
- DARKEST HOUR – $56m
- THREE BILLBOARDS – $52m
- LADY BIRD – $48m
- PHANTOM THREAD – $20m
- CALL ME BY YOUR NAME – $17m
Only the top 3 of the 9 nominees truly can be considered as mainstream successes, the rest are either moderate to limited release performers. Either way, their audiences aren’t broad or four quadrant enough to inspire a younger demographic to watch the telecast.
Outside of that, this year has a profound lack of big star power. Only The Post had some perennial currency in Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep but there were no real young, hip names to drive audiences, either.
Prediction: 2019 Oscars will be dominated by studio fare and anchored with BLACK PANTHER.