Moviegoers: Politics, Oscars don't mix

Fandango users reveal Academy Award likes and dislikes

Celebrities who win an Oscar next month should steer clear of politics during their acceptance speeches, or risk alienating viewers.

That's the word from 7,000 moviegoers participating in a poll from online ticketer Fandango, which asked participants to name what they like most and least about Academy Awards telecasts.

Fandango noted the dwindling ratings of the telecast in recent years and that new producers have been hired for this year's extravaganza, so it is pitching the results of its survey as "20 ways to improve the Oscars."

At 51%, the No. 1 pet peeve is political speeches, according to the poll.

"We don't care what you think about politics," one respondent wrote. "A bit of graciousness would be in order."

Of course there were dissenters: One wrote that even the "dreadful" political speeches are "a fun part of the Oscars."

Also among the top objections to the telecast: technical awards (34%), excessive show length (33%), live musical numbers (27%) and "forced" celebrity banter (26%).

Among the elements of the show that audiences like, according to the poll, are a single host for the whole show (65%), the "in memoriam" tribute (57%), red-carpet celebrity fashion festivities (52%) and the opening monologue (48%). Plus, 27% voted for maintaining or expanding the best animated feature category.

The producers and ABC might be pulling for "The Dark Knight," 2008's most popular film, to get a best picture nomination because 71% say they'd be more inclined to watch the show if that's the case.

Along those lines, 81% said that last year's best picture nominees were out of touch with mainstream moviegoers, with 29% saying they didn't bother watching the telecast because they hadn't seen the nominated movies.

"Stop giving awards to overrated indie films," one respondent wrote.

Among the unexpected suggestions for creating a better TV show is less face-time for Jack Nicholson. "How many times can you cut away to this guy?" one respondent asks. "The producers are counting on Jack's killer smile to make the jokes look funnier than they are."