True Story: Oscar Nominees Get Commemorative Sweatshirts

Senior Editor
01.30.13 14 Comments

[picture via eBay]

The perks of being an Oscar nominee are numerous and hard to fully calculate. At the very least, nominees can hope for more work, more respect, greater recognition, higher prices for their work, their pick of groupies and hangers on at least for a night, free food and booze, gift bags full of Skymall-type sh*t worth probably as much as you and I make in a year, and a shot glass filled with Carey Mulligan’s tears. Oh, but that’s not all. Nominees can also expect the most prestigious of prestigery – the custom sweatshirt. You jealous?

At this year’s Oscar Nominees Luncheon Feb. 4, 150-plus nominees will shuffle alphabetically across the stage to receive a certificate, after which an Academy official will hand them a sweatshirt emblazoned with the Oscar logo and the word “nominee.” The tradition dates to at least 1988, when then-AMPAS president Richard Kahn began handing them out.

Ooh, is it a pancake luncheon? At the Hollywood Elk’s Lodge? I like to imagine Richard Kahn as this comically dull personality who leaves everyone long voicemails where he just sort of rambles for a while and talks about what his dogs are doing and his new bird feeder. “Hey, uh, Deniro, how’s it going. It’s Rich again. I just called to tell you I got some good deals on logo pens and stationary for all the nominees. At first they wanted to do felt tip, but I find it can be hard to read for regular writin’, so I suggested the gel-glide pens I use for all my checks and post-its and stuff, but then the guy said he could get a really good deal on these new ball points, and I was just wondering if you used ballpoints a lot and whether we should take the deal on those or splurge and get the gel glides, so I’m just calling all the nominees to–” (BEEEP) “Hey, Bobby, it’s Richard again, you’re voice mail must’ve cut me off. Awesome weather lately, right? Anyway, I had a question I wanted to ask about pens…”

Sound engineer Greg Russell, now nominated 16 times, still has 14 of his previous 15 sweatshirts (a guest at a Fourth of July party walked away with one). He has seen the styles and designs change through the years — crewnecks, hoodies, fleeces in blacks, whites and greens — but remains partial to his first, a white sweatshirt that includes the names of all the nominees (though it’s “a bit snug now,” he says).

In fact, that first year — he was nominated for 1989’s Black Rain — he wore the sweatshirt to work the next day and got his picture snapped with Jack Nicholson. Russell admits to still being “giddy” when he gets his gift. “It feels like adolescence all over again,” he says. “Like you’re really part of a graduation class.” [HollywoodReporter]

I know, right? What would a life event be without a crappy drug store sweatshirt with a logo on it that will help you relive the magic moment every time you dig under it in your drawer or find it buried in your closet while you’re looking for your golf shoes? It’ll go perfect over your bachelor party shirt with the picture of the bachelor’s face on it that you almost wore that one time. It’s a poly blend of memories.

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