Let’s talk a little bit about the Oscars. I’ve never watched this award and I’ll be honest, I’ve never been particularly interested in why or which film won the award. However, there is one hard fact: Oscars viewings have been dropping every year since 2014. It seems to me that there is an understandable explanation for this, or rather a combination of factors.
Reason 1. Movies are losing competition to series
It’s no secret that movies are loosing competition to series, because people are increasingly watching streaming services, and in this format one enjoys a multi-episode story that unfolds over many episodes rather than one movie.
So people simply have less interest in movies, because people are consuming more and more content, and most of it is soap operas, not movies.
This causes people in general to have less interest in the movie industry because the content is becoming more fast-food. You watch a series, you start a new one. If in the days before streaming services, watching movies was a small, but still an event, now everything is changing.
Reason 2. COVID-19 pandemic
The second reason is the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, the number of high-profile premieres was very small, so there was simply nothing to choose from. I can’t say how much the pandemic affected the drop in interest in the Oscars, but that it had its effect is a fact.
People watched the Academy Awards not only because they wondered who would get the statuette, but also because the Oscars reflected a year of their life in cinema. Considering that 2020 was not rich in high-profile premieres, people’s interest in the event legitimately dropped.
I think that after the pandemic, interest in the Oscars will grow, but it will never reach the reach that the Academy Awards had in 2000-2014, simply because times change.
Reason 3. People find other ways to choose the best movie
The third reason is a generational shift. Younger people are not inclined to accept awards because they grew up in the era of social media, when people choose what to watch and evaluate content themselves. However, it is wrong to think that this applies only to “young people,” this trend is going up the age pyramid, gradually involving older people.
As a result, interest in the Academy Awards is falling because it simply does not reflect what people want to see.
I think that if the Academy wants to keep the spotlight on the Awards, they will soon begin to change the format of the awards to make it more interactive.
Perhaps this comparison will be a bit incorrect, but it could be compared to Eurovision, which has faced similar problems before and tried to solve them. However, as I see it, this has not fixed the problem and interest in Eurovision continues to fall every year.
Will Oscars survive?
No doubt about it. The sad situation with the 9.8 million audience in 2021 is just a very bad combination of many factors. I think that if COVID-19 hadn’t happened, Oscars would have attracted 15-20 million viewers and then the results wouldn’t have looked so staggering.
Definitely the Oscars can survive, but what they turn into depends on many factors. The first scenario is that audiences continue to fall and then the Oscars turn into an award, albeit a very prestigious one.
The other scenario is that the Academy finds a way to attract a new audience and then the Oscars can hold on to the post-pandemic level.
Either way, the 2022 Academy Awards will be the event that will determine the fate of the Oscars and in many ways the entire film industry, so the Academy still has time to take action.