Several years ago, I made a personal decision to not watch award shows on television. Grammys. Oscars. Golden Globes. Screen Actor’s Guild. All out. Why? Because I was sick of so called “celebrities” using the occasion to espouse their political views, lecturing on everything from climate control to bashing the current presidential administration or denigrating any political party who opposes their views.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels that way.
The number of viewers who tuned in for the 92nd Academy Awards was an all-time low. While an estimated 23.6 viewers did tune in, that number was down 20% from 2019, which was the first increase in viewers in five years.
It is undeniable that actors, musicians, and other celebrities are very much unlike the average person in this country; after all, that’s what makes them celebrities. It is, however, the Average Joes and Janes of this world who turned these formerly average folks into so-called celebrities by purchasing tickets to movies, theater performances and concerts, or buying music or otherwise supporting the endeavors of the previously unknown stars.
You say my argument doesn’t hold water because 23.6 million viewers actually did tune in to the 92nd Academy awards show? Compared with the 43.7 million viewers who tuned in just six years ago (the largest number of viewers in the past 20 years), the trend is spiraling downward. In an age where access to television programming is unsurpassed, that’s a loss of over 20 million viewers in the last six years.
The 18-49 demographic, which might be considered the prime audience for celebrity political viewpoints delivered while holding a trophy, is down 31% from the previous year. Even with the noticeable decline in viewers, the Academy Awards still had more viewers that either the Grammys or the Golden Globes. Clearly, I’m not the only one tired of people who are entirely unrelatable, scolding me about my political views or position on climate change.
People are simply growing tired of award shows turning into nothing more than a platform for political whining. It has reached the point where the “acceptance speeches” of the winners (which are increasingly not at all about the award) completely overshadow the award itself. In his opening monologue while hosting the 2020 Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais summed up the feeling of many. Even if his language was more colorful or crass than many might use, the message itself was cheered by millions.
After thoroughly lambasting those celebrities in attendance representing the nominated projects, and “having a laugh at your expense” as he said, Gervais issued instructions to the award winners:
“So, if you win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your award, thank your agent, and thank your God and f*** off, OK? It’s already three hours long.”
These are, after all, award shows. When they return to being only that, maybe then I’ll watch again.
Don’t hold your breath.