Oscar Promo Is for the Birds … in a Good Way

When an envelope containing two feathers arrives in the mail, it takes some thought to figure out what’s being promoted

It’s not useful, like the screeners that arrive in the mail every few days. Or informative, like the lists of awards-season screenings detailing all the many ways I can catch up with each and every contender. Or fancy like the “How to Train Your Dragon” coffee table book, or useful like the “Tron” USB hub, or cute like the stuffed Woody from “Toy Story 3.”

The envelope that arrived on Wednesday in a plain black envelope was, instead, odd and minimalist and at least initially inexplicable.

Black Swan promoIt appeared to be handwritten, from a “Nina Sayers” with a Beverly Hills post office box. And inside was, at first glance, only a single white feather.

When I looked closer, it turned out that was only the half of it: the envelope also contained a black feather, which was harder to see in the black envelope.

But no card, no piece of paper, nothing to indicate why Nina Sayers was sending me a couple of feathers.

Of course, after a modicum of thought I realized that there is this Oscar-contending movie coming out soon … and its lead character, played by Natalie Portman, is a ballerina who’s desperate to land the lead in a production of “Swan Lake” in which the principal dancer is being asked to play both the white swan and the black swan … and that ballerina’s name is Nina.  

It’s a movie about swans, and dualities, and good and evil and black and white, and things you don’t initially understand.

So for now, “Black Swan” takes the prize for the oddest and most imaginative Oscar promotional mailing I’ve seen this season.

The ball’s in your court, “127 Hours.”