There's a lot of hubbub in Hollywood right now, with the 95th Academy Awards (a/k/a Oscars 95) airing tonight.
To commemorate that celebration, let's look at those coveted gift bags (Christmas in March!) some nominees receive.
The Evolution of the Oscars Gift Bag
Believe it or not, the Oscars gift bag has existed for over 20 years. The bags aren't affiliated with the Academy Awards - they were created by the L.A.-based marketing company Distinctive Assets to attract celebrities to their products and services.
However, it wasn't until the early 2000s that gift bags started gained attention from the media and the public.
The gift bag was relatively modest in its early days, containing skin care products and gourmet chocolates. But as time went on, it became more extravagant and luxurious.
In recent years, some of the most notable items included in the bag have been luxury vacations, high-end electronics like laptops and smartwatches, and even private sessions with personal trainers.
Purpose of the Gift Bags
Of course, there is some expected quid pro quo.
The founder of Distinctive Assets, Lash Fary, recently stated:
"While this gift bag does, as always, have an impressive value, that is neither our focus nor goal. This is a straightforward win/win. These nominees are in a unique position to help participating brands immeasurably by simply wearing, using and talking about these products."
Public Criticism of the Swag Bags
However, while many celebrities undoubtedly appreciate receiving these lavish gifts, there has also been criticism surrounding the Oscars gift bag. Some have called it excessive and wasteful, arguing that already wealthy celebrities don't need even more expensive gifts.
There are so many gifts offered to the nominees, that they require multiple suitcases to transport them all.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue, one thing is for sure: the Oscars gift bag has become an institution in its own right, evolving over time to become a symbol of Hollywood glamour and excess.
The 2023 Oscars Gift Bag
Though they're called "Everyone Wins" gift bags, not all Oscar candidates will receive the coveted goodies from Distinctive Assets this year.
This year's recipients will only be the Oscar nominees for "Best Director," "Best Actress," "Best Actor," "Best Supporting Actress," and "Best Supporting Actor."
And the host, Jimmy Kimmel. So he wins, too!
That's a total of 27 recipients (since "Everywhere All at Once" was directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, they will each receive a bag (rather, a set of suitcases).
According to Distinctive Assets' press release, the six-figure gift bags include (note: this is a partial list):
- A $40,000 three-night stay at the luxurious The Lifestyle 10-acre property in Ottawa, Canada (the highest value of any gift this year)
- Punta Imperatore Lighthouse remote Italian island vacation hideaway
- Art Lipo body sculpting
- Microneedling medi-spa services and foundation from Oxygenetix
- Bauman Medical hair restoration services and hair wellness products
- Facial rejuvenation from Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich
- Shaman reading and a copy of A Book for Life by Jo Bowlby
- Complimentary project management from Maison Construction
Skincare & Wellness
- C60 edible massage oil
- Sweetums flavored intimate wipes
- Ariadne Athens Skin Wellness bath ritual sets
- Beli vitality and fertility supplement
- Benigna Parfums Royal Essence Collection
- Blush Silks beauty pillowcases
- EpicLight Beauty Never Settle Radiant Cheek + Lip Blush
- DAX Hair Care grooming products
- evolvetogether beauty products
- KnowingLabs performance testing panels
- ReFa Heart Brush & beauty showerhead
- Reflect ultimate mental health orb
- Serucell groundbreaking cellular protein Recovery Serum
- Sumner Street Shea handmade vegan body butters
- Third Element Water lithiated hyper-supplement
Clothing & Accessories
- Rareté Studios customized gemstone bracelet
- Bored Rebel graphic undershirts
- THE FOOTCLOUD invisible adhesive shoe cushions
Food & Drink
- Antigua Cruz Añejo Cristalino Tequila
- m.cacao's expressio (the first-ever chocolate box with a personalized video embedded inside)
- blanc par rouGe gourmet maple collection
- Ethically-sourced small batch chai concentrate from THE CHAI BOX
- Tranquini adaptogen-infused sparkling beverages
- Ginza Nishikawa Japanese milk bread
- Comvita UMF 10+ Manuka Honey
- Wine from Frontera Wines
- Good Girl chocolate
- Harmless Harvest coconut milk
- Posh Pretzels dark Belgian chocolate-covered pretzels
- Ysidro sparkling canned sake spritz
- Pieces of Australia land plots supporting Australian conservation efforts (part of its "Conservation Gift Packs")
- Jambys "performance inactivewear"
- PETA travel pillow
- Daily Energy Cards
- Upminders LRU (Love, Respect, Unity) Medallion
- The Human Being Journal created by Mahara Mindfulness
- Apparel from The Millions-Billions-Trillions Brand
- Shinery Radiance Wash all-in-one hand soap + jewelry cleaner
The IRS sees value gift bags as taxable income, so the more trips and procedures a nominee accepts, the more they will owe Uncle Sam on tax day.
Summing It Up
The above-listed items are just a few examples of what's included in this year's extravagant gift bag suitcases.
While some may argue that they're unnecessary or excessive, there's no doubt that they add to the allure and excitement surrounding Hollywood's biggest night.
Disclaimer: The original version of this story was published on another platform. Link to original version: https://medium.com/@randymasters/whats-inside-those-coveted-126k-academy-award-gift-bags-550fb3ec05a0?sk=406c89ba08f436f8db749a354f8bf0cc
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