In Very Normal News, This Year’s Oscar Nominees Have Been Gifted A Slice Of Queensland

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Similar to the gentle philosophy of children’s birthday parties, nominees up for Oscars at the 2023 awards ceremony won’t walk home empty-handed. A mini Maltesers bag just won’t cut it for the Oscars, though. No, this year’s nominees will receive one square metre of Australian bushland in their goodie bags… what?

Extending on the theme that saw nominees technically become lords and ladies in Scotland last year, doling land out to famous people appears to be the new trend for the world’s most indulgent show bag, which is exactly how Colin Firth and Michelle Yeoh have come to own a small part of inland Queensland. The domestic organisation, Pieces Of Australia, fronted the $4,000 fee to have their gift included in the official Oscar show bag, with celebs receiving a “symbolic” parcel of land located in Queensland’s Western Downs Region.

Traditional Owners Were Not Consulted About These Oscar Gifts

Nominees will receive the Aussie Mate Conversation pack, which retails at $79 on the organisation’s website. According to the terms and conditions of the gift, the title is a “symbolic souvenir” and won’t allow Oscar nominees to build or access the property without permission from the organisation. “[the gifts] are designed to contribute to the preservation and protection of native and underdeveloped Australian land from being exploited,” the Pieces Of Australia website clarifies, additionally promising to plant two trees per package.

However, when contacted by The Guardian to clarify whether the Traditional Owners of the Baruŋgam nation had been informed about the decision, founder Niels Chaneliere said he was yet to reach out. A digital brochure accompanying the gift also had to be edited after it was revealed to contain assets from the Indigenous Carbon Industry Network (ICIN) which had been repurposed without permission. While the ICIN released a statement saying it is considering legal action, Chaneliere stated that “at no point is there any intention to come across as culturally insensitive or disingenuous in our communications towards First Nations people” according to The Guardian.

The Gifted Oscars Land Could Be In The Middle Of A Coal Seam Gas Field

While the Pieces of Australia website describes the parcel of land gifted to celebrities as “a rich and diverse ecosystem”, the Lead Investigator of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Annica Schoo, estimated that the land was in the middle of a huge coal seam gas operation.

“The company states that it preserves land from development and is pursuing carbon sequestration opportunities through the [emissions reduction fund]. The available evidence suggests the land in question is being exploited for coal seam gas,” Schoo told The Guardian.

While nominated actors and directors are yet to officially comment on the gift (which is also, incidentally, around eight kilometres away from where right-wing Christian terrorists killed two police officers last year) hopefully the question marks around this odd collab will give brands seeking to align with the zeitgeist, without fully examining the consequences first, a bit of pause for thought.