Just 10 years ago, the annual Academy Awards show drew 40.3 million viewers.
Since then, it’s been plunging nearly every year: 34.4 million in 2016, 23.6 million in 2020; and now, in 2023, 18.7 million.
That was a 12% jump from 2022, when the show drew 16.6 million. Apparently everyone was tuning in to see if Meryl Streep would slap Dame Judy Dench.
That, and that alone, would have given the show some pep. But instead, the show dragged on and on, nearly four hours (3:40), led by the drabbiest of all possible hosts, Jimmy Kimmel (the show no longer seems able to pull an A-list host).
With that, two things are clear: Few people in America want to watch the Oscars — and the limousine liberals in Hollywood couldn’t care less. In fact, it seems as if the tone-deaf celebrities in Tinseltown are actually trying to drive away viewers as they laud each other for their little-watched movies.
Kimmel had an entire year to write some funny jokes about “The Slap Heard ‘Round The World.” Just last week, comedian Chris Rock closed out his live Netflix special with a fiery blast of actor Will Smith.
Here’s what Kimmel came up with: “We want you to have fun. We want you to feel safe. Most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” he told the star-studded audience.
“So we have strict policies in place: If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor, and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech,” he said.
Not exactly Rock-level material. In fact, you’d be more likely to hear that caliber of comedy at the local Chuckle Hut.
The opening was also beyond safe — nothing like what Ricky Gervais has done at the Golden Globes. In those classic shows, the British comedian takes down the Hollywood elite, mocking them for their oversized egos.
Instead, Kimmel just went around the room naming celebrities and delivering a lame joke that drew little laughter (some bombed outright). “You know a show is too long when even James Cameron can’t sit through it.” Oof.
Kimmel noted that the show would feature “diversity and inclusion.” That’s something every viewer wants — don’t give us the best movies of the year, just make sure some people who wouldn’t normally get a nomination get chosen.
“There will be no nonsense tonight, we have no time for shenanigans,” Kimmel said. “This is a celebration of everyone here. You told us you wanted all the categories back in, and we listened. They’re all back in.”
That’s 23 categories. Twenty-three! Half of them are movies you’ve not only never seen, but never heard of — and almost completely unavailable to watch.
“We put all the categories back in because the movie community wanted it, almost as much as the television community didn’t want it,” Kimmel said. “So no complaining about how long the show is.”
And there you have it. The Academy could not care less if you watch the awards or even see the winning movies. The show is all about them, and they’re artists, so you’ll never understand.
In five years, it’ll be the 100th Oscars. And by then, the show might have just 187 viewers. But Hollywood doesn’t care a whit.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.