Oscar Rant – Goodie Bags and unfair awards

OscarTrophy.jpgThere are a few things about the Oscars that annoy me, well two in fact. One is the difficulty and unfairness of the awards, and the other is the whole goodie bag idea. Let me start on the unfairness issue.

Did Aviator deserve to win nothing? It’s happened so many times before when movies miss out on awards, or you find that when you look back at previous awards you realise that there was another movie that was more deserving of a win, and it’s not just movies, it’s actors and directors too. I guess what I’m talking about are merit or honorary awards.

It’s when a movie or person has won an award more because of past work rather than for the piece of work up for grabs that year. Now there’s nothing wrong with that actually, and they should be rewarded for it, but what happens is that more rewarding nominees in that category are then unfairly penalised.

Wouldn’t it just be better to create a couple of new awards that are for past achievements? I’m not talking life, but for the past few entries? For a perfect example just look at Lord of the Rings, winning all those awards for the last movie was clearly a reward for the whole series, and so much has been said since, but that penalised those up for awards that year, it also penalised the first movies in the trilogy and if they hadn’t been filmed back to back it could have had a negative affect on funding and production.

I say create a couple of awards for past achievement in perhaps Direction, Acting and perhaps even Writing. Then that frees up the awards to look at those nominated against each other that year and that year alone, not looking at the history of each and wondering if one nominee deserves it more because they missed out on two years previous.

Now, Goodie Bags. The Electric New Paper has a story on just how much went into those Goodie Bags handed out at the Oscars, check this out:

The official gift bag for presenters, performers and officials (who are unpaid) this year was estimated to cost US$110,000 ($179,014) to US$150,000 (up from last year’s US$100,000 basket) and included:

  o A US$6,000 Samsung high-definition TV set
  o A Motorola limited-edition ultra-thin Razr handphone
  o A US$3,200 string of pearls
  o A dinner party at any Morton’s, The Steakhouse, worth US$1,500
  o A US$700 Krups kitchen set
  o Shu Uemura cosmetics worth US$600
  o US$500 cashmere pyjama bottoms
  o Airline tickets, resort and hotel stays, spa treatments, a wine trip, a Caribbean cruise, perfume, jewellery, cosmetics and olive oil.

What?! That’s incredible, but that’s not all. There are lot’s of other Goodie Bags that are handed out, these are from private companies, presumably trying to illicit some form of advertising or brand awareness.

The Victoria’s Secrets package included a US$7,000 diamond-encrusted brooch.

The ‘Everybody Wins at the Oscars’ bag, estimated at US$35,000 to US$45,000, included a weekend at a Caesar’s Palace penthouse in Las Vegas, Celine Dion concert tickets, a Swarovski crystal-studded T-shirt and US$9,000 in spending money.

The US$12,000 ‘It’s Good to be Nominated’ gift bag had designer handbags, clothing, spa trips and books and more.

Stars such as Oscar Best Supporting Actress winner Cate Blanchett (right) would have received about 20 such bags, reported UK’s The Times.

That’s just stunning and leaves me in complete shock. A couple of the companies who give out such bags give their side of the story.

Mr Jim Dobson, whose public relations firm gave away 50 gift bags, each worth US$50,000, at the Sundance Film Festival, told the Chicago Tribune: ‘They (the stars) hear there’s these 20 places to get free stuff, so unless I give them free stuff, they don’t want to do press.’…

Jewellery designer Scott Kay, who gives away about $100,000 worth of items every year, told Business Week: ‘At the last American Music Awards, Alicia Keys (right) came back during rehearsal, and the things she selected, she actually performed in onstage. It’s worth millions of dollars in marketing.’

So it’s just trying to keep up with the pack, I guess if they all said stop then they all would.

‘I think it’s tacky… If you give it away for free, then it has no value… I don’t respect anyone who does give it away,’ said Ms Carolyn Brodie Gelles, global director of communications for the Harry Winston jewellery company, in a Toronto Sun report.

I have to take my hat off to Leonardo DiCaprio who turned up in a SMART car and talked about being environmentally friendly, well done you. Oh, how many Goodie Bags did you accept? Was the SMART car one of them?

You know, wouldn’t it be great if this years Goodie Bags had contained one thing? A slip of paper with a note to say √Ǭ£100,000 has been given to the Tsunami appeal. Or for the private companies, how about a small badge with the company name and an indication of a donation, even a small onscreen caption when the person appears on screen. Any of these would have been preferable to the Goodie Bags passed out this year, and presumably those to be passed out next year, and the year after…

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