Neil Patrick Harris and the Oscars – A Gay Flop?

This years Academy Awards was watched by the lowest number in of viewers in six years. Was Out host Neil Patrick Harris to Blame, or was something else turning viewers off?

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36 million people tuned in to see Neil Patrick Harris walk around I a pair of tightey whities… I mean host The 2015 Academy Awards. Now that’s hardly a number to be sniffed at, but as you look closer, it becomes apparent that this number, is not so good.

When compared to last years show, the drop is a whopping 14%, down from 44 million when Ellen DeGeneres, managed to get the most retweeted photo of all time.

It also wasn’t really a hit on Twitter, with tweets peaking at the 6 million mark, down from over 11 the year before. Now, granted 2014 was a bumper year for the Oscars. The show was the highest rated since 2000.

So why was this years Oscars such a flop. Many blame the lack of successful films nominated. The two top nominated films Birdman and Boyhood only grossed a collective $60 million ($35 million and $27 million, respectively). Only one film, American Sniper grossed over $100 million.

The nominations were also criticised for the overly white nominations (maybe why they graced Mexican born director Alejandro Iñárritu – Birdman – with so many accolades). This lead to a Twitter trend of #OscarSoWhite, and even a joke from NPH himself “we are hear tonight to celebrate Hollywoods best and whitest.”

But is there something more so sister at play? Neil Patrick Harris is an openly gay man, living in a country that only recently showed a majority in favour of same sex marriage? Could his sexuality have made the Oscars a flop.

NPH has hosted the Emmys and the Tonys before, and been quite successful at it. However, both shows are much more liberally based and more open to the idea of gay people. After all, musical theatre is extremely open to us gays.

The Oscars, is a much more conservative affair. A muted procession of handing out Gold plated statuettes from the boys, to the boys. The girls barely got a look in this year, with hardly any woman receiving awards.

Thank yous often almost always feature the “thank you God, thank you mom and dad,” you expect from the conservative audience. Actors are much more closed about who they are than say musicians, and Hollywood is famous for having more than a few closeted faces.

In 2015, even while Hollywood claims to be a liberals playground, being gay is still not 100% accepted. And many people in the US especially might not have been impressed to see an openly out man, who has a family, present a show almost dedicated to showing the world the power of American cinema is on the Propoganda and psyche.

While controversial to say so, it is a possibility. Of course, then there is the contention that last years show was hosted by a lesbian and manage to score one of the highest ratings the Oscars has ever seen.

All in all, it’s a hard call. But whether the viewers were turned off by the gay or the gaga, it’s fair to say that poor NPH couldn’t save the Oscars from being its usual drab affair. Even while in his Y-Fronts. (in which he rocked by the way).

For the record I love Neil Patrick Harris. He is a truly inspirational man, and one I look up to dearly.

Still waiting for my Oscar,

Irish x

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