The swag bag is dead, and according to the New York Daily News, Edward Norton killed it. The paper reports that the actor shamed the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association into discontinuing the tradition of giving presenters at the Oscars and the Golden Globes lavish gift baskets stuffed with five figures worth of freebies and luxury items. The goodie bags had been under scrutiny for some time by the IRS, so their demise was probably inevitable, but what may have spurred the awards groups to pull the plug is this recent New York Magazine interview with Norton, who, while promoting his movie The Painted Veil (pictured, featuring Naomi Watts and Norton), said, "If these evenings are going to be a celebration of our craft and what we express about what’s going on in the world, then picking through $35,000 gift baskets is disgusting and shameful." He added, "My suggestion was to have the Academy commit to contributions in the name of the winners, but I don’t know what will come of that." (Translation: Fat chance.)
So, is this a good thing? Is Norton a good Samaritan or a killjoy? Will not reading about the lavish perks given to awards presenters detract from your enjoyment of the Oscar season, or does it come as a relief?
addCredit(“The Painted Veil: Everett Collection”)