Sorry, Oscar Voters: Here’s All the Swag They’re Not Allowed to Send You

Steve Pond

At a party at Musso & Frank’s to celebrate the home video release of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” on Monday night – which is to say, a party that was designed to drum up awards votes more than to promote DVDs or Blu-Rays – a fellow voter for critics’ awards plopped his plate next to mine, introduced himself and struck up a conversation. Almost the first thing out of his mouth was, “So, what do you do with all that stuff we’re getting in the mail?” I knew exactly what he was talking about. This is always the time of year when DVD screeners are accompanied by various packages of swag – but this year, the stream of goodies arriving at the door seems particularly heavy. The funny thing is, the goal of every studio and every campaigner this time of year is Oscar nominations, then Oscar wins – but Academy members are the one group of voters to which you’re forbidden from sending any promotional items. So the approach is a roundabout one: If somebody sends me something cool and gets my vote for the Critics’ Choice Awards, then maybe that movie gets a...

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