Oscars viewers shut off their televisions en masse the very minute that celebrities start opining on politics, a producer for the awards show revealed in a recent interview.
In a report one week ahead of this year's Oscars telecast, scheduled for April 25, the New York Times acknowledged that the awards show industry is in a ratings free fall — and that politically charged rhetoric is likely to blame.
"Increasingly, the ceremonies are less about entertainment honors and more about progressive politics, which inevitably annoys those in the audience who disagree," the Times reported Sunday amid speculation that the 2021 Oscars will be yet another flop.
In the article, the Times quoted an anonymous Oscars producer who revealed that in-depth ratings analyses prove political lecturing from celebrities is indeed a major turnoff.
"One recent producer of the Oscars, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential metrics, said minute-by-minute post-show ratings analysis indicated that 'vast swaths' of people turned off their televisions when celebrities started to opine on politics," the Times added.
Annual awards ceremonies have been plagued with cratering ratings of late. For instance, ratings for this year's Grammy Awards were down 53%, while the Golden Globes tanked by more than 60%. Between 2014 and last year's show, the Oscars ratings have plunged 44%.
The downturn in ratings comes as Hollywood elites increasingly use the ceremonies as opportunities to espouse their largely left-wing political views, lecturing Americans on everything from climate change to race inequality to gender issues.
One such example occurred during the 2020 Oscars, when Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix used his acceptance speech to raise awareness about disconnectedness from the natural world, lamenting how we artificially inseminate a cow just to "take her milk that's intended for her calf" and "put it in our coffee and our cereal."
However, despite the revelation about celebrity political speeches, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the governing body in charge of the show, has no plans to cut acceptance speeches short. Rather, according to Reuters, the Academy plans to give winners even longer than the normally allotted 45 seconds to deliver remarks.
Steven Soderbergh, producer for this year's show, told the news agency, "We're giving them space. We've encouraged them to tell a story, and to say something personal."
"We want the show to have a voice," he added.
Let's see how that goes.