The Oscars air this Sunday, and we know what that means: Celebrities in safe gowns, long teary speeches, and...swag.
While the heyday of the Oscar swag bag is over--thanks to an IRS crackdown in 2006--free stuff for celebs is still an indelible part of the awards show season. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences no longer gives presenters and nominees gifts because of the tax liability for celebrities. (Because, you know, they really can't afford to pay taxes on free stuff.) However, various PR companies have stepped in, organizing gifting suites for selected attendees.
These suites are buzzing at most major entertainment industry events. Sundance constantly fights for its indie cred in the face of ridiculous gifting suites at the film festival. And at the Golden Globes this year, one of the gifts was a miniature $5,000 pig.
This season, the Oscar loot ranges from pretty darn posh to plain old weird.
For example, the condolence gift bags--which will be given to the nominees who don’t win in their respective categories--are worth about $85,000. (Update: The company who put together the bags, Distinctive Assets, says that it's now worth $91,000.) Included in this extravaganza:
- $45,000 African safari trip complete with personal chef at the Lions Sands Game Preserve in South Africa
- $14,500 stay at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel in Monaco
- $7,000 rustic getaway at the Winvian Luxury Hotel in Connecticut
- gourmet chocolate from Chocolatines by Sweet Endeavours (including Chocolate-dipped bacon)
- personal training sessions and a one-week all inclusive fitness bootcamp
- ideeli.com online shopping cards
- Tiffany cat collar and “designer dog toys”
- WooLoot sport watches
- iFLY indoor skydiving experience
- HGTV "Green Home" mattress by Serta
- The Pig Board
- personal security alarm
- 1 year supply of Altoids Smalls
GBK, a production company that runs high-profile events like the Cannes Film Festival but might be best known for its "celebrity gift bags," expects Sigourney Weaver, Anne Heche, Tara Reid, and “select cast members from The Jersey Shore” to stop by their celebrity gift lounge. Some of the offerings there, which total about $40,000, are downright bizarre:
- $10,000 Montana luxury ranch experience at The Ranch at Rock Creek
- $8,800 “surgery to clear up red eye” from Boxer Wachler
- $680 Trans D-Tropin, which is rubbed on the forearms and promises to be a “fountain of youth”
- KRAVE electronic cigarettes: each is equal to 500 puffs
- Ksino premium gaming apparel for men and women (we didn’t notice any of this on the AW2010 runways)
- Prevennia, a pill which claims to prevent breast cancer
The whole point of these gifts is to get high-profile celebrities using various products. But we certainly hope we don't see the adorable Carey Mulligan smoking electronic cigarettes on the red carpet any time soon.