Quebec well-represented in Oscar swag bags, nominees
Published Saturday, February 25, 2017 3:47PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 25, 2017 9:08PM EST
Most Oscar nominees will go home empty handed on Sunday night when it comes to gold statuettes, but all of those in several prestige categories will still get a small piece of Quebec at the end of the night.
Each nominee in the categories of best actor and actress, best supporting actor and actress and best director will take home one of the infamous Oscar swag bags – whose value is often estimated in the six figures – which includes a “Positive Cube” made by Quebec company Bangarang. The cubes are meant to inspire much-needed positivity in the world said company co-founder Marie-Eve D’Amico.
“We were tired of so much negativity around us. We think that positivity is in everyone’s reach, everyone can give positivity in their own way, whether it’s in their smile or a positive comment to someone,” she said.
Each cube is stuffed with 199 cards emblazoned with inspirational quotes or suggested actions that can bring a little goodness into the world. None are expensive – D’Amico estimated the costliest is a card that suggests simply buying coffee for the person behind you in line at a café.
The company also gives $5 from each sale to Save the Children Canada.
While the cubes will be brought home by the likes of Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Jeff Bridges and Canadian Ryan Gosling, they’re also available to the average person. D’Amico said the response to the product has been everything she could hope for.
“We’ve had feedback of people telling us ‘You changed our life, I contacted my in-laws who I haven’t spoken to in so long. I was saying I can’t do it, I can’t do it, but then I got your cube and you inspired me to take action,’” she said.
The road to Oscar (gift bag) glory began last year when D’Amico saw a television interview with another entrepreneur who had gotten their product into the bags. She emailed the marketing company that assembles the bags and within 20 minutes got an email back expressing interest in including the cube in bags for both the Grammies and the Oscars.
“We were pretty excited, didn’t even believe it at first, but here we are,” said D’Amico. “It’s a pretty great adventure so far.”
While the publicity has been good for business, D’Amico said the best part is that $5 from every cube sold goes to Save the Children Canada, the charity of choice for and her co-founder spouse.
“It really speak to us because we’re parents to two young kids,” she said.
Quebec a big deal at the Oscars
Of course, Quebec won’t just be represented via swag bags at this year’s ceremony. Quebec Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival is up for eight awards, including best director and best film. The movie’s producer, Shawn Levy, hails from Montreal.
Film critic Bill Brownstein said the province has made its mark in cinema in recent years via talented directors like Villeneuve, Xavier Dolan, Jean-Marc Vallee and Denys Arcand, several of whom have directed Oscar-nominated films.
“Quebec is very well-represented,” he said. “It’s been an ongoing thing… This is becoming old hat for a lot of these guys.”