We won’t know total viewership calculations until later today. But early ratings for the 80th Oscars are showing that this may have been the lowest rated show in a decade, down some 20% compared to last year’s. (See my previous, Best To Expect The Worst Oscars Ever…) But, really, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences only has itself to blame. (Although I’m sure Sid Ganis, Gil Cates, et al will blame the writers. When the real folks to blame are the Hollywood CEOs for petulantly dragging out a strike settlement.) According to news reports, in the overnight metered markets representing approximately 70% of the country, only about 33% of people watching television saw the telecast, down substantially from last year’s 42%, according to the Nielsen’s. Jeez, this is even worse than the Iraqi war Oscars’ 37% back in 2003. Fine for ABC that it easily won the night in the ratings. But really rotten for AMPAS no matter how much it panders to young audiences. I understand that several Hollywood power players on Sunday suggested that AMPAS do everything it can to promote big popular studio movies that people have seen for Best Picture awards. One mogul even seriously recommended that the “smaller movies” be relegated to the IFC Spirit Awards from now on. (No, the bigwig wasn’t joking.) Maybe AMPAS should learn something about audience appeal and aggressive marketing from, say, the MTV Movie awards. And it wouldn’t kill the Academy to include every year’s crowd-pleasers — like 2007’s Transformers, The Simpsons Movie, Knocked Up, Harry Potter, The Bourne Supremacy, Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 — in promos for the Oscars even if AMPAS voters are horrible snobs.