Every Oscar nominee receives a free bag of goodies from generous sponsors and in the past these bags have included expensive jewellery, exotic perfumes, vouchers to upmarket clothing outlets and similar amusing little trifles. This year the bags included pepper spray, a testing kit to determine if a drink had been spiked and body alarms which is hardly festive and joyous.
The security systems company Sabre which provided these trinkets said they were included to help people "by inspiring self-empowerment". Nobody seemed to think it odd that Oscar nominees needed a personal armoury to defend themselves against other Oscar nominees but nowadays in Hollywood you just can't be too careful. It seems that Hollywood's A list doesn't see any need for a court system nowadays because all you need is an accusation for some poor slob to be branded a serial rapist. And woe betide anybody who doesn't agree and tries making excuses such as reminding everybody about the presumption of innocence.
More happily, the goodies bags also included a "24-karat gold facial" (no, I don't know what that is and don't actually care), a "conflict free diamond necklace" (does this mean that they are sustainably mined?) and a 12-night holiday in Tanzania (which isn't exactly the south of France but, hell, its free).
And proving that the Oscars remained true to its roots of providing lots of free publicity for anybody who provided freebies, when Best Actress winner Frances McDormand had her statuette briefly pinched and then returned to her, her publicist could announce, "After some brief time apart, Francis and her Oscar were happily reunited. They celebrated the reunion with a double cheeseburger from In-N-Out Burger."
It was only when I learned this that I felt safe to relax and know that nothing really important has changed at all. Such a relief!
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