The low ratings for this year’s Oscars show were down to the boycotts and the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, civil rights leaders have claimed.
This year’s event, hosted by Chris Rock, was watched by 34.3 million people, the lowest figure in eight years for the annual awards beano, and down three million from last year.
Prior to this year, the lowest figure was 32 million, back in 2008, when the Coen brothers’ ‘No Country For Old Men’ won best picture.
The reverend Al Sharpton, who urged people to switch off on Sunday night has claimed a victory from the numbers.
“For those of us that campaigned around asking citizens to tune out, this is heartening news,” he said in a piece for the Huffington Post.
“It is a significant decline and should send a clear message to the Academy and to movie studio executives that we will not tolerate discriminatory practices, whether they impact what we see on screen or what takes place behind the lens.
“Though we don’t take full credit for the decrease in viewership, certainly one would have to assume that we were effective and part of the decline. To those that mocked the idea of a tune out, it seems that the joke was on them.
“This isn’t just about black actors not being appropriately recognised for their talent; it is about the larger notion of what projects get funding for production, who gets hired behind the scenes, what stories are told and from whose perspective, what roles are available for black and minority actors, how people of colour can secure producer and director positions, how those who actually live in the Los Angeles area can get jobs in the industry and more.”
However, a figure not mentioned by Sharpton is that only two percent fewer black viewers tuned in this year compared to last year, according to Nielsen.
Sharpton set up protests in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Cleveland, Atlanta and Detroit over this year’s ceremony, through his National Action Network body.
Chris Rock used the controversial matter of no black actors being nominated in the main categories this year in his scathing opening monologue.
On why there were not similar protests in the 1962 or 1963, when no black actors were nominated, he said: “Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time, you know?
“We had real things to protest; you know, we’re too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer.
“You know, when your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”
Image credits: AP