Academy Awards Ditch Gift Baskets

Hollywood celebrities will leave the 2007 Oscars without the lavish gift baskets they have been presented with in previous years. The decision comes after The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences and the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agreed to send tax forms to all those who received the free gifts, worth around $100,000, at the 2006 ceremony. IRS Commissioner Mark Everson says, "Whether you're popping the popcorn, sitting in the audience or starring on the big screen, you need to pay your taxes. There's no red carpet loophole for the stars." Actor Edward Norton recently expressed how appalled he is by the freebies celebrities pick up at top awards shows. He said, "A lot of us have talked to the Academy Awards producers about this and I think they're actually going to scuttle the gift baskets and that kind of stuff. I mean the gift baskets, worth amounts of money that a low income family could live on for a year, (are given to) people who have so much already. It gets depressing. You sit there, going, 'This is an embarrassment.'" The 79th Annual Academy Awards will air on Sunday, February 25, 2007.