Oscars 2013 Swag Bags: $12,000 Australian holiday and $5,000 facelift for losers
Oscar is the most coveted award in Hollywood – reducing winners and losers in equal measure to tears when the iconic gold statue is handed out.
But even the stars who don’t win an Oscar at this weekend’s ceremony won’t go home empty handed.
A Los Angeles-based marketing firm will be handing out gift bags worth $45,000 to all the nominees and presenters at the prestigious event on Sunday night.
Known as swag bags, among the items included are trips to Hawaii and Mexico, personal training sessions, condoms, a bottle of tequila, cosmetic treatments, and a one-year membership to London’s Heathrow Airport’s private VIP service.
The confirmation of condoms in this year’s gift bag has raised eyebrows amongst some.
This year’s goodie bags also include a $12,000 trip to Australia, a $600 acupuncture appointment and a package of 10 personal training sessions valued at $850 from marketing firm Distinctive Assets.
In addition there are circus lessons for the nominee’s children worth $400 are also included, as well as a $5,000 face-lift procedure.
They will also be given free hair care products by Phyto, skincare cosmetics by Lierac and, at the lower end of the scale, a $1 bottle of Windex glass cleaning fluid.
The prizes only can be used by the nominees who receive them and cannot be given to friends, according to Distinctive Assets.
“It was a way for us to reach the exact talent we wanted [major nominees] without having to deal with the immense production challenges of the Hollywood/Highland area during Oscar week,” said Distinctive Assets CEO Lash Fary to ABCNews.com.
Those nominated in the major acting categories, Best Director as well as host Seth McFarlane will have the packs delivered to their doors the day after the awards.
“Even Hollywood’s most acclaimed stars are disappointed over this particular loss,” said Lash Fary.
“And when our consolation gift shows up the next day, we like to think it is welcome distraction.”
Celebrities who receive gifts and free trips at awards shows are expected to declare them to the Inland Revenue Service as income and pay the appropriate taxes.
The Distinctive Assets gift bag is not endorsed by the Academy but has been creating consolation goodie bags for 11 years now. The bags are delivered to the losing nominees to their homes directly or through their agents or publicists.
It has become something of a tradition for A-list stars to receive a treasure chest of goodies at the Oscars.
Brands and manufacturers hope that the celebrities will be seen wearing or using their products and ensure free publicity.
The gift bags have been put together over the past 11 years by US company Distinctive Assets, with the cost of the packages having slowly risen.
In 2003, nominees received $8,000 worth of items, including mobile phones, cameras, designer clothes and jewellery.
The 2004 gift bag included a holiday at a luxury resort in Mexico.
Gwyneth Paltrow, who presented an award at the Oscars that year, was said to have used the holiday for her honeymoon with Coldplay singer Chris Martin.
Actress Calista Flockhart once received a Dritti T-shirt in a gift basket from Distinctive Assets and loved it so much that she wore it for an entire episode of Ally McBeal.
Similarly, another T-shirt designer saw their gifts end up on Beyonce Knowles on the cover of Ebony magazine.
In recent years, stars are said to have been worried about alienating recession-hit fans by being seen with heavily laden gift bags.
However, Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen is one of the stars who has spoken of his delight at his gift haul.
“They’re the most wonderful goodies,” Ian McKellen explained.
“They keep you going for a year.”
Lash Fry, founder of Distinctive Assets, said: “It’s first come, first served, because we do offer product exclusivity.
“We’re always looking for new and unusual products, it’s not always about the most expensive.
“We’ve got things at both ends of the spectrum and everything in between, stuff for guys and stuff for girls. More is more is our philosophy.”
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