Although the TV show Commander in Chief did quite well in his first weeks on the air, I predicted that its ratings would soon drop and it would be canceled after no more than one season. Alas, that I did not make this prediction public. ABC put the show on hiatus last month because its ratings were “in a free fall.” So, today, barely a week before the telecast of the Oscars, I will make public my prediction that the Oscar audience will decline this year, though it may register an increase in gay households.
I’m not really going out on a limb in saying this. A number of people have been predicting as much. In the February 3 edition of OpinionJournal’s Political Diary (available by subscription), John Fund wrote:
The TV ratings for next month’s Oscar award ceremonies in Hollywood will show a continued slide, and one very large reason is that few Americans will have even seen the five movies nominated for best picture this week by a show-business community increasingly obsessed with left-wing causes rather than movie making.
As Liberty Film Festival co-director Jason Apuzzo put it, the Academy Awards have devolved into just another marketing tool for ‘indie’ films nobody’s seen.” To be sure, every year, there are a number of first-rate independent films, many as good as, if not better than the best of the Hollywood flicks. But, those quality independent features tend to explore universal themes (often in a quirky manner) and appeal to a broad audience. Not so with this year’s nominees. Only two of the films nominated for Best Picture (
It’s not just the Oscar nominees that aren’t making money, last year the movie business experienced a huge slump in ticket sales. Filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney believes fewer people went to the movies last year because Hollywood has focused more on the tastes of the Tinseltown’s denizens than those in the American heartland:
Hollywood is making films that Hollywood wants to consume, not necessarily what the rest of America does. Hollywood needs to decide whether it wants to be a political party or whether it wants to entertain.
(H/t: Instapundit.) And by tapping Jon Stewart, a man known for his political and media satire rather than his love of movies, as the host of the Oscar ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems more interested in promoting social commentary (of a leftish sort) than quality filmmaking.
I remain stunned that the Oscar snubbed The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, clearly one of the best movies of the year, a film which not only earned critical acclaim but also did well as the Box Office. Did the Academy not wish to acknowledge a flick with a Christian theme?
Whatever the case, with Jon Stewart hosting and a number of movies with promoting “social change” to be honored, the Oscar ceremony will generate more interest among left-of-center politicoes than movie buffs. After all, those of us who love great movies prefer those flicks with universal themes which easily appeal to individuals with a number of different (and often conflicting) political perspectives, films which remind us of our common humanity and tell stories capable of standing the test of time.
Instead of doing what Hollywood has done well for the better part of the last century (the century in which movies came to dominate our popular culture), Hollywood elites decided this year to pay tribute to Hollywood’s elites and their narrow vision of the world. Not only are the Oscars honoring movies that few people have seen,but they are also honoring movies with themes that (for the most part) few people outside the “bluest” enclaves of America care about. And just as the box office declines when Hollywood makes movies which appeal only to a narrow section of the populace, so too will the Oscar audience decline when Hollywood honors such flicks.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com