The Oscars gift bag tribute backfires after Chadwick Boseman shock

The internet is not happy about it

Woman passing shopping bags to valet - stock photo
(Image credit: 2004 Cade Martin/Getty Images)

Hearing the words "free gift bag" at any event makes it a memorable one. So, you can only imagine how noteworthy the gift bags for Oscar nominees are. 

For the 19th year in a row, Oscar nominees received a decked-out bag of goodies from Distinctive Assets. But, unlike previous years, this one was the first bag in the show's history to showcase brands that highlighted diversity, inclusion, and philanthropy. As an added bonus, nominees also received a one-of-a-kind digital artwork of Chadwick Boseman created by artist Andre Oshea.

The internet wasn't shy to call out the Academy Awards for its lack of sensitivity towards Chadwick's death though.

What is the Chadwick Boseman gift bag controversy?

Chadwick was nominated for the best actor category for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, but in a shocking twist lost to Anthony Hopkins. 

For viewers and attendees of the show, this was a surprising outcome as most felt that the award would have gone to Chadwick, especially after the Academy made changes to the traditional schedule so that the best actor award was announced last. The gift bag even included a one-of-a-kind gold 3D portrait of the late actor redeemable through a non-fungible token (NFT). All signs seemed to point to Chadwick winning the award for best actor, and once the internet learned he lost, they were quick to express their outrage on Twitter.

"Putting a Chadwick Boseman NFT in the gift bag, as well as restructuring the traditional order of the ceremony so to end on Best Actor, seemingly to have a moment for Chadwick, all reeks of the Academy trying to capitalise on a tragedy in order to get ratings. Bad taste. #Oscars," wrote one angry Twitter user.

See more

While another Twitter user described to situation as "everything wrong with today."

"Creating a Chadwick Boseman NFT and not even giving him an posthumous Oscar is the best example of everything wrong today."

See more

The actual NFT is supposed to be auctioned off by Rarible with proceeds going to The Colon Cancer Foundation (the same cancer Chadwick battled with), reported USA Today.

“This rare special edition NFT is the very first offered as a tribute to the prolific actor, a unique piece of art which is limited to just 1 edition and will never be minted again,” said Isaac Rudansky the founder of AdVenture Media, in a press release.

The artist of the NFT also said in a press release that he wanted to create "a "celebration of Black creativity in cinema and art, and a salute to Boseman's undeniable cross-generational influence as the first superhero of African descent Black Panther."

What else was included in the Oscar nominees gift bag?

In an effort to make everyone feel like a winner, this year's bag was titled the "Everyone Wins Nominee Gift Bag," which was given out to outstanding stars including Olivia Coleman, Amanda Seyfried, Anthony Hopkins, Sacha Baron Cohen, Riz Ahmed, Viola Davis, Andra Day, and Carey Mulligan (to name a few).

The bag may be valued at six figures, but it's the contents that contain a deeper meaning.

"While the end result may look at first glance like the same cornucopia of fabulous gifts we always assemble, this year's contents are particularly special. The companies we are featuring embrace diversity, inclusion, health, and philanthropy and are giving back to their communities and the world at large in significant ways," founder of Distinctive Assets Lash Fary told InStyle.

In an effort to remain contactless, the bags were delivered through Postmates to the nominees in the categories for best actor, best actress, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, and best director.

As far as items go, the bag includes a PETA emergency hammer to save dogs trapped in hot cars; Change-Maker Village (an anti-racist children's book from Once Upon a Blume), LOCI premium vegan sneakers, and an EEG-powered sleep tracking and meditation with Muse S: The Brain Sensing Headband.

That's not all though, celebrities also received a range of beauty and wellness products from brands such as Hotsy Totsy Haus, Miage Transformative Skincare, British M Annatto Hair Oil, Elixinol Good Night CBD capsules, SalTerrae broad-spectrum Hemp Intimate Oils, and a Taiyi Institute sound acupuncture device.

While the lineup of goodies sounds luxurious, Lash wants nominees to really think about the meaning behind each and every brand.

"This gift bag does, as always, have an impressive six-figure value, that is neither our focus nor goal. A great gift has nothing to do with a price tag," Lash said. "This year's 'Everyone Wins' gift bag is one of my favorites we have ever assembled because it represents a lot more than just a bag full of free stuff. I am truly excited for the nominees to experience it."

After hearing all the goodies this year's nominees received, it makes us want to go out and splurge on the best eco-friendly beauty products and the best spring dresses to make us feel just as elegant.

Rylee Johnston

Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.