A Look Inside This Year’s Academy Awards “Swag Bags”

Do you care much about the Academy Awards anymore? It used to be such an event. Now, according to one stat, 60% of all Americans can’t tell you a single best picture nomination (and there are ten of them!) Which is kind of sad, because there are some very good, critically-acclaimed films in that category, including Manchester By The Sea, Hacksaw Ridge, Fences and Lion.

Maybe it’s because movies have so many other entertainment platforms to compete with.  Maybe they should be nominating more movies with explosions and super heroes. Or maybe there is a growing disconnect between Hollywood and middle America, a gap widened by political differences and, also, possibly, a tone-deaf detachment from the lives of ordinary folks. Case in point? This year’s so-called “swag bag”– given to nominees as a way of saying…well, I’m not sure what…thank you for showing up? They probably would’ve done that anyway.

What a swag bag it is–valued at over $100,000, it includes a 5-night vacation to an $1100/night Hawaiian resort, and a week long stay at a California spa worth $8850, and three nights in Italy at a $1400/night resort on Lake Como (George Clooney’s favorite place). Some of the more inexpensive items? a $99 SweetCheeks (really, that’s the name) cellulite massage mat, a $40 CPR Anytime kit (in case the nominee wins and it proves to be too much on the old ticker?) and…this is real: something called a pelvic floor exercise tracker that retails for $199. I kinda do and kinda don’t want to know what that is.

Give the Academy credit though; maybe they’re noticing their disconnect with the rest of America: the overall value of this year’s swag bag is positively miserly compared to the $232,000 value of last year’s. Or that could also be because whoever gets a swag bag is still on the hook for all of its associated taxes.

Regardless, I still love movies, and I’m still gonna tune in (plus Jimmy Kimmel is hosting. I love Jimmy Kimmel). But…I am not going to feel sorry for any nominee who doesn’t win because A) they still get to go to Hawaii and Italy for free B) their pelvis’ will finally be in the kind of shape the rest of us only dream about for ours.

More from Tom Mailey
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