Reprinted from The New York Times by Nicole Sperling and on April 18, 2021.
Neither intimate looks into stars’ living rooms nor scantily clad pop stars performing provocative hits have been able to stop audiences from tuning out award shows this year. The ratings for the Grammys were down by 53 percent. The Golden Globes plummeted by more than 60.
Now, as Hollywood prepares for a coronavirus-delayed Academy Awards telecast on April 25 on ABC, it is faced with the ultimate doomsday scenario: that the viewing public is ready to toss its premier showcase into the entertainment dustbin, plopped next to variety shows. Oscar, meet Lawrence Welk and his bubbles.
At a time when the traditional film industry is fighting for its primacy at the center of American culture — with at-home entertainment soaring in popularity and pandemic-battered theater chains closing — a collective shrug for the Oscars would send Hollywood deeper into an identity crisis. And a shrug certainly could happen. Guts + Data, a research firm that focuses on entertainment, said last month that only 18 percent of active film watchers (in theaters or at home) had heard of Mank, the Netflix film leading the Oscar race with 10 nominations. …