The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is worried about the Oscars telecast, and they have every right to be. Both major televised awards shows this year — the Golden Globes and the Grammys — have been ratings disasters.
The Golden Globes were a technical disaster and had only 6.9 million viewers, a 63% drop from last year. On the other hand, last weekend’s Grammys ran smoothly and the show was well-reviewed by critics, but viewership still fell by 51%, to just over 9 million viewers.
While the Academy did make history with some of its Oscar nominations this year, it’s unclear how many people will turn up to watch the show, especially since a lot of people may not have seen most of the nominated films.
What’s causing these steep viewership declines in awards shows? Ratings have been on a downward trend for years, but the dropoff has gotten especially steep during the pandemic, perhaps because people have recalibrated their viewing habits and may now go to a streaming service before checking what’s on live TV.
And even if a show can manage live performances like the Grammys did, many of these live events also don’t have the same amount of pizzazz without a live audience or crowd. Sports ratings have also taken a hit, likely for the same reason.