- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The silver lining for this year’s gaffe-plagued, politically charged Academy Awards? Fewer people were watching.

The 89th Academy Awards ceremony Sunday registered an audience of 32.9 million, according to Nielsen figures released by ABC, the lowest viewership in nine years and the second-lowest audience since 2000.

Perhaps more significantly, the Oscars saw its viewership among the key 18-49 demographic plummet by 13 percent from the 2016 show, Variety reported.

The 2017 program, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, also featured no shortage of digs aimed at President Trump, who suggested the program was too politically charged.

“I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end,” Mr. Trump told Breitbart. “It was a little sad. It took away from the glamour of the Oscars. It didn’t feel like a very glamorous evening. I’ve been to the Oscars. There was something very special missing, and then to end that way was sad.”

Despite the low numbers, the telecast will be best remembered for its mistakes: Minutes after “La La Land” was declared Best Picture, announcers declared there had been a mistake made and that “Moonlight” was in reality the winner.

Later, Australian producer Jan Chapman said that her photo had been used mistakenly during the program’s “In Memoriam” segment to honor the late costume designer Janet Patterson.

Since 2000, only the 2008 Oscars telecast, hosted by Jon Stewart, has drawn a smaller audience with 31.8 million. This year’s light viewership has been attributed to everything from the lengthy run time—3 hours and 49 minutes—to the relative lack of interest in the top-nominated movies, none of which was a blockbuster.

“Blame will likely be thrown at a variety of factors — including running time, the box-office pull of this year’s nominees and, for some, the expected political humor and messaging,” said the Hollywood Reporter.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that oversees the awards, issued an apology following the Best Picture mix-up, taking responsibility for giving presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope.

“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected,” said the firm in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”

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