Opinion | Hollywood elites should focus more on do-gooding, less on lavish goodie bags
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 21:02
Rarely is a night so star-studded as the famed Academy Awards. Outside the glitzy Kodak Theater, celebrities and their guests gather on the red carpet, exhibiting their designer gowns and ligaments dripping in jewelry.
Just last year, the fun continued at the Vanity Fair after-party where celebrity chef, Cat Cora, served up a five course meal including a sautéed sea bass, beef tenderloin with leek bread pudding and apple-pear tarts while stars laughed over the award show’s turn of events.
Naturally, this lavish and exquisitely engineered event draws much attention from the media and general public for its ornate manner that simply screams money, begging the question, why is so much money spent on a night that basically celebrates the expensive eccentricities of our favorite celebrities?
Eighty-four years ago, the first Academy Awards were presented in front of a crowd of 270 attendees, who then attended the after-party, tickets costing only $5 per guest.
Yet somehow, due in part to both passing time and the mentality of Hollywood to be bigger and better, the modern awards show has evolved to broadcast to the 39.3 million home viewers and Oscar tickets, though not technically allowed to be sold if unused, are scalped on average for $85,000.
Of course, the stars aren’t the only ones emptying their pockets for the affair. In order for a studio to win an Academy Award, it must first successfully woo the critics and the Academy members themselves.
“To that end, studios spend millions of dollars to make sure their projects take home those little gold men,” writes Jo Piazza of CNN.
It doesn’t seem to make sense. Why is all this money needed, what with the vast expanse of social networking and news mediums? With heavily followed celebrities and easy movie availability, this “publicity” should be practically free.
“But an intricate web of gypsy publicists, rogue party planners, and entire full-service consultancies to generate that all-important buzz that drives a campaign can run more than $2 million,” writes Piazza.
Add this cost to the red carpet, which can run up a grand total of $30,000 alone just so our stars can have a traditional setting for photographs and to prevent their several-thousand dollar heels from touching pavement.
However, the cost that really gets my blood boiling is that of the gift bags. Filled with tickets for lavish vacations, jewelry, skincare, gym memberships and various other prizes, the Oscar gift bag, distributed to all nominees totals $75,000. Just like birthday goodie bags, right?
This outrageous amount could make such a difference in so many lives, yet the Academy places it in the hands of the already-oh-so-fortunate, who truly don’t need another cent to feel fulfilled. This spending stands only to promote stars’ frivolous consumerism and to me, the whole practice seems absolutely disgraceful.
Though it is perfectly within the rights of the stars and those in the movie-making industry to spend what they choose, I only wish they would make the decision to give the cash philanthropically.
Perhaps the Academy, in lieu of providing the stars with elephant safaris and chocolate jewelry, could allow each star to choose a charity to donate to, with the money provided by the Oscar sponsors.
Or at the very least, they could donate a slice of the pie, which Meryl Streep did last year.
“In the aftermath of her unexpected victory Sunday over Viola Davis, Ms. Streep donated $10,000 to a Rhode Island school in financial trouble,” Reuters reported.
“She made the donation, through her charity, Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts, to the Segue Institute for Learning, a charter school in Central Falls, Rhode Island, in Ms. Davis’s name,” writes Melena Ryzik of The New York Times.
However when one views the Oscars, it seems the show always entertains and delights, accomplishing its true purpose.
I only wish to describe the true cost of the awards show. Just take a moment when watching this year’s Oscars. Note the glitzy outfits and venue, but also note the cost. Would decreasing Oscars expenditures really take away the night’s spark?