There’s a silver lining in just about any story. While the 2017 Oscars did end in an upset, when the award for Best Picture of the Year was mistakenly handed to “La La Land” instead of “Moonlight”, the good news is that it was one of the least watched Academy Awards in the last ten years.
The near 4-hour program, which usually garners the around 40 million viewers only managed to bring in 32.9 million this time around. That puts the 89th Academy Awards only 900,000 above their most recent low of 32 million in 2008.
While some point the finger at Jimmy Kimmel being the host this year, and others say that the films and actors nominated weren’t as high profile, there is another reason why the ratings stunk this year – Donald Trump.
No, Donald didn’t tell everyone to boycott the Oscars, but he didn’t need to. Meryl Streep already did that at the Golden Globes earlier this year when she went on a political tirade and proclaimed that Hollywood, the news media, and immigrants were the most vilified people in America. She said this while at the same time vilifying the millions of average Americans who voted for Trump.
It may come as a shock to those who never leave the Hollywood bubble to visit fly-over country, but many of the people who go to see their movies, and then watch the various award shows each year, are regular blue collar workers who go to church on Sundays and work throughout the week to put food on the table for their families. These people were lambasted by the media over the past few months, and they’re sick of it.
The award shows have become more and more political over the last few years, with the 2016 Oscars being heckled with the hashtag “#Oscarssowhite” amid the Black Lives Matter movement coming to fruition. Following the inauguration of Trump, celebrity after celebrity was either trotted out on stage at a protest or brought onto late night talk shows with the clear intention of vocalizing their disdain for the new President.
One thing that those who are vocally anti-Trump fail to realize is that Trump’s voter base is ferociously loyal, and attacks on their president are seen as attacks on them. Hillary Clinton certainly didn’t help when she called half of all Trump supporters “deplorable” and “irredeemable”. Her message of hate for those who voted against her is what people hear when celebrities lambast Trump today. The celebrities don’t just hate Trump: they hate Trump supporters.
If Hollywood and the entertainment industry really wants to test whether people are more loyal to them or the President, they can have at it. The battle isn’t going so well, as more and more Americans are tuning out of the politically charged award shows and spending their time instead boosting the ratings of Fox News and other pro-Trump media. Hollywood, if it wants to set records, should learn to stay away from politics, as this only alienates a very large segment of their consumer base.