The 87th annual Academy Awards premiered Sunday to an audience of only 36.6 million viewers – the lowest viewership since 2009. The spectacle earned a 10.8 rating among adults 18-49, equating to a 17 percent drop from the ratings for the 2014 Academy Awards and the worst the ceremony has done since 2008, according to deadline.com.
Has the public tired of the humdrum chatter of the red carpet? It seems that Hollywood, too, has finally tired of the drab “Who are you wearing?” question and spoke up on much more contemporary political and humanitarian issues this Academy Awards.
Hollywood starlet Reese Witherspoon was vocal on ditching the tired question all together and took to Instagram to take part in the #AskHerMore movement. Female stars clamored to be asked questions that came from a deeper place than the usual questions about their fancy shoes or designer gown, such as “What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken that you feel has paid off?” or “What potential do filmmakers and characters have to make a change in the world?”
Witherspoon was not the only celeb pushing for a more politically aware Academy Awards either – the night was full of them.
The evening allowed politically charged celebs to call the American population to action on issues stretching far beyond the red carpet: wage equality, equal rights, immigration and LGBT and veteran suicide rates, among others.
After receiving the award for Best Supporting Actress in the film “Boyhood,” Patricia Arquette argued for wage equality for women.
“We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and women’s rights for everyone in America,” Arquette said.
First-time nominee and winner Graham Moore’s (Best Adapted Screenplay, “Imitation Game”) moving acceptance speech discussed his struggles with suicide.
“When I was 16, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong,” he said. “I would like this moment to be for the kid out there who feels like she’s weird and different and feels like she doesn’t belong. … Yes, you do.”
Backstage, the actor disclosed that he had decided to use the moment in the spotlight to “say something meaningful.”
And that he did. Although these Academy Award ceremonies may have been the lowest viewed since 2009, they deserved to be viewed by the entire country.
It was refreshing, to say the least, to watch Hollywood’s best, brightest and richest shed some light on issues that really matter.