Among Nikki Finke‘s list of tips about the content of tonight’s Oscar show: “Queen Latifah, one of the scheduled presenters, had a family emergency and had to drop out.”

That’s an uptick in my book. I respect the fact that downmarket award presenters tend to raise viewership levels, but Queen Latifah fans are probably among that broad sector of the public that wouldn’t watch There Will Be Blood at the point of a knife so who needs’ em?
Sooner or later it’s going to sink in among Academy officials and Oscar producers that more and more this show is attracting a sizable, profitable (in terms of ad dollars) but diminished viewership. The chances of the ratings being at March 1998 levels (when Titanic was the big winner) are slim to none. Those days are over. Most people out there are too thick to get with the program — it’s a fact. Cut ’em loose, I say. Life is short.