Gift baskets at the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards will become a thing of the past, according to recent news reports. Ceremony reps for both shows confirmed that, starting in 2007, presenters will not be given extravagant grab bags, which have totaled up to $100,000 (US).
A Golden Globes rep alleged that all attendees (even in the audience) would receive gifts “valued at less than $600.” A rep for the Oscars stated that “the Academy would like to thank presenters in a way that doesn’t carry a tax burden.”
Taxes are one reason why gift baskets are being nixed. Under U.S. income tax law, the baskets are seen as income, not gifts, and are subject to heavy taxes. The IRS reached an agreement with the Academy for previous extravagant gifts, including sending tax forms to 2006 Oscar presenters.
Another reason why celebrities will take home less next year: Edward Norton. The actor criticized the practise, describing it as a waste. He is quoted in a future edition of New York magazine as saying: “I’m sick of this. It’s not who we are – it makes us look ridiculous and out of touch. 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.”