Most Coveted Swag? Oscar Nominees Panic Over Absent Freebie Sweatshirts

The Academy typically hands out the official garment at its Nominees Luncheon, which was held last week, but this year is saving them for another unnamed event.
Emily Berl

The Academy has been known to take a tough stance when it comes to freebies. In 2016, the organization sued marketing firm Distinctive Assets for handing out unapproved Oscar gift bags. But there is one official freebie that many nominees look forward to receiving at the Nominees Luncheon — a sweatshirt emblazoned with the Oscar logo and the word "nominee."

It's a tradition that dates back to at least 1988 when then-president Richard Kahn came up with the idea to hand them out. The last time The Hollywood Reported reported on the sweatshirts was in 2013 when sound engineer Greg Russell showed off his massive collection of 14 sweatshirts (now likely expanded).

But many of this year's nominees were scratching their heads when they did not receive them on Feb. 5. Quipped one nominee, "I want one," while another joked, "I didn't get one. Only a cookie."

So what gives?

An Academy spokesperson tells THR that they are indeed still handing them out — already doled out were official nominee certificates — but this year they opted to save the Oscar gifting for another awards event in the coming days. No word on what that event is as officials want it to be a surprise. "We're not going to play with that tradition," said the rep. "Nominees love the sweatshirts." 

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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