Former US President Donald Trump has weighed in on the abysmal TV ratings for this week's Academy Awards, blaming them on a "politically correct" and "boring" formula.
As reported yesterday, the ratings for the Oscars have been steadily decreasing in recent years, but US viewership for the 2021 ceremony – an average of just 9.85 million viewers – represented the sharpest drop to date.
That figure was 58 per cent lower than in 2020, which saw 23.6 million viewers tune in.
Trump chimed in with an official statement on the matter today.
"What used to be called The Academy Awards, and now is called the 'Oscars' – a far less important and elegant name – had the lowest Television Ratings in recorded history, even much lower than last year, which set another record low," he said.
In addition to being a former US president, of course, Trump has experience in the entertainment industry. He used to host The Apprentice.
"If they keep with the current ridiculous formula, it will only get worse – if that's possible," he continued.
"Go back 15 years, look at the formula they then used, change the name back to THE ACADEMY AWARDS, don't be so politically correct and boring, and do it right. ALSO, BRING BACK A GREAT HOST.
"These television people spend all their time thinking about how to promote the Democrat Party, which is destroying our Country, and cancel Conservatives and Republicans. That formula certainly hasn't worked very well for The Academy!"
All emphasis is his, so don't ask me why "television ratings" got the capital letter treatment.
Criticism of political statements during awards ceremonies is nothing new.
The Oscars faced an additional challenge drawing viewer interest this year, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hobbled the film industry and closed cinemas across America and the rest of the world.
The Best Picture winner, Nomadland, is the lowest-grossing recipient of the award in decades, having drawn about US$3 million at the US box office.
Those who did tune in for this year's ceremony got a bit of a shock at the end.
Defying years of tradition, the Best Picture category – normally the last award of the night – was presented before Best Actor and Best Actress. Organisers had clearly anticipated a Best Actor win for the late Chadwick Boseman – but instead of ending the evening on that note, the award went to Anthony Hopkins, who wasn't even there to accept it.
Speaking to Variety, ABC's Rob Mills admitted the result came as a surprise to the show's producers Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins.
"It was not meant to end on somebody who was not present," said Mills.
"It was a calculated risk."
He said "some people were upset" by the result, "some people loved it", and in the end, at least there was "no apathy".