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Now We Know Who Put the Pressure on the Academy to Change the Oscars — and Why

Aug 9, 2018  •  Post A Comment

A new report reveals just what went on behind the scenes that convinced the Motion Picture Academy to make the changes announced this week to the Oscars — changes that included adding a category for popular film, a decision that has been widely criticized.

To nobody’s surprise, the changes were prompted by low ratings for this year’s telecast. Variety reports that ABC, which has a deal in place to broadcast the Oscars through the year 2028, expressed concern after the ratings for the annual ceremony “fell off a cliff.”

“The 26.6 million viewers averaged by the 2018 Oscars, according to Nielsen live-plus-same day numbers, represented a 19% decline from 2017, and 39% drop from the show’s recent peak in 2014,” Variety reports. “Numbers for younger viewers were even worse. Ratings in the 18-49 demo fell 24% from 2017 and 47% from 2014. The 18-34 demo was down 29% from 2017 and 56% from 2014.”

Other major awards shows have also experienced erosion lately, but nothing as severe as the decline for the Oscars.

Variety reports that Disney-ABC Television Group executives met with AMPAS leaders in the days after the 90th Academy Awards telecast to crunch the numbers.

“At the come-to-Jesus meeting after March’s show, the TV people walked through the lousy ratings at a granular level, identifying precise moments during the show that prompted viewers to stop watching,” Variety reports. “They made several recommendations about the ways that the telecast’s length could be reined in, and proposed a ‘best blockbuster’ category that would reward films that had been seen by larger audiences. They also argued that viewers had become fatigued by the ever-increasing number of televised awards shows — including the Golden Globe Awards, whose viewership has been relatively stable in recent years — and that the Oscars should be moved to an early calendar period.”

The academy was listening, apparently, sending out a tweet Wednesday morning announcing all the changes ABC wanted, which you can see below.

We encourage readers to click on the link above to Variety to read the full report.


  1. Get rid of political statements and grand standing.

  2. B I N G O….! 🤯

  3. I quit watching for the above reason. I no long wish to watch a bunch of self congratulating rich movie stars lecturing me on how to run my life. When I see them on the streets of California cleaning up the piles of human waste and opening their huge mansions to the homeless, maybe I’ll believe they have a leg to stand upon.

  4. Amen to all these comments ! Adding a new category isn’t going to accomplish a thing. People are so turned off by the politicization of ALL award shows but ESPECIALLY the Oscars that until they put a stop to the political lecturing people are just not going to watch.

  5. Besides all the above comments it’s ABC’s own guy who hosts the show. He needs to step up and do a better job.

  6. Hollywood puts out fewer and fewer features which all seem to look the same. There are a few special films now and then but the over-all pool for judging gets smaller and smaller. Plus, the Oscars are now ensnared in political correctness so the categories all have to have entries which make EVERY group happy. Then there are the Production Companies which spend millions to promote their films TO critics and Oscar Voters. In the end, it’s a rigged broadcast of a “:usual-suspects ” contest. And the previous writer is totally correct about the political element. I have NO interest whatsoever in hearing any actor or entertainer tell me how to live my life–period. It’s a painfully boring telecast not worth the time. I’d rather watch the NY Mets. on TV.

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