2021 Oscars: Who Cares?

May 20, 2021

It’s not much of a stretch to say that 2020 was not a particularly strong year for movies. Nearly every single major release had to be delayed, some only days away from releasing. A few were able to release through a digital format, but interest was significantly lower than it would’ve been otherwise. Films that would’ve been blockbuster hits otherwise made significantly less than they would have otherwise.

Unrelated to COVID, interest in the Oscars has been dwindling for years. Viewership and ratings have been on a clear and steady downward decline for years now, and it’s only been getting worse year by year. When this is combined with the general uninterest in movies as of late, it’s no surprise that viewership hit an all-time low with the 2021 Oscars.

In addition to the dwindling viewership and interest, it’s easy to see why ratings were so especially low this year when you look up the nominees. When I first heard the nominees were announced, my first thought was “oh yeah, the Oscars are still happening this year” (which is yet another issue in the disaster that was this ceremony, it was shifted outside of the typical award ceremony, so people who otherwise may have watched ended up simply losing interest), but when I looked at what the nominees were, the only thing I could think is “I don’t know what these are.” Sure, I recognized a few names here and there, but most nominees, including every single film considered for best picture, were completely unheard of in my mind. And clearly, I wasn’t alone.

It’s hard to blame the Academy for the failure that was this Oscar ceremony. To be completely honest, I don’t think there was anything they could’ve done to prevent this. The poor performance of the Oscars in the last few years in addition to the pandemic harshly diminishing public interest in movies created a storm that was impossible to avoid. But it feels like they knew this and didn’t even try. The whole ceremony has this cheap feel to it, and the odd restructuring of what categories were presented and when felt totally unnecessary.

The reason I haven’t bothered to talk about any of the actual nominees or winners is that there’s just no point. I don’t care about who won, people reading this probably don’t care who won, and that’s exactly the main topic. Nobody cares about the 2021 Oscars. Of course, there are always going to be some people interested no matter what, but that number is significantly lower than it ever has been, and that’s really the important point here.

Practically everything involved with the 2021 Oscars was a mistake, but it’s really hard to blame the producers for it when they were stacked against such impossible odds. The only way to really avoid this would’ve been to cancel it altogether. Since that didn’t happen, what we got was a massive but very predictable mess of a ceremony.

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