(AllHipHop News) Did Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith get the last laugh? For choosing not to attend the ceremony over the lack of diversity in the acting categories, the famous couple became the butt of a few jokes during Sunday night's 88th annual Academy Awards. It appears the Smiths were not the only ones tuning out on the Oscars.
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According to Deadline, the event pulled in 34.3 million total viewers which is an 8-year low for the Oscars and the third lowest viewership ever. The disappointing tally comes after weeks of media hype surrounding Chris Rock serving as host and talk of Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning his first Oscar for The Revenant.
Some news outlets are not crediting the #OscarsSoWhite boycott as a factor in the low numbers, instead pointing to the fact few blockbusters were up for Best Picture this year. However, National Action Network founder Al Sharpton directly connected the boycott to the decline in ratings for this year's Academy Awards.
"The early reports of a decline in the Oscar viewership is heartening to those of us that campaigned around asking citizens to tune out," said Sharpton in a statement. "This is a significant decline and should send a message to the Academy and to movie studio heads. Though clearly we don’t take full credit for the decline, certainly one would have to assume we were effective and part of the decline. And to those that mocked the idea of a tune out, it seems the joke was on them."
The Best Picture category rarely contains blockbuster movies such as 2015 crowd pleasers Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Oscar nominees did include Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, and The Martian which all made over $300 million at the international box office.
In 2014, American Sniper ($547 million) was the only major hit to earn a Best Picture nod. The last film to gross over $1 billion and get nominated for Best Picture was Toy Story 3 in 2011.