The Grinch Strikes Hollywood

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.”

Urban Etiquette Handbook

Being proper in an urban setting is not that hard, but it’s always fun to have a guide to see if you are doing it “right.” The New York Metro has released an Urban Etiquette Handbook. What better city than New York to write a guide like this considering they are the most polite?

The basics of the list:
(1) No raking women with your eyes; glance quickly and respectfully.
(2) Offer to share a taxi rather than fight over it.
(3) Babies in strollers get right-of-way—until they abuse it.
(4) Still no ogling girls—c’mon!
(5) And skateboarding, are you kidding me?
(6) Not everybody loves your dog as much as you do.
(7) No bicycling on the sidewalk unless under the age of 6.
(8) Pedestrians can die of secondhand smoke, too”

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