Not that a lot of people feel particularly bad for Oscar nominees who don’t win on the big night but, in case you do, here’s a little consolation: Each of the runners-up is going to get a “gift bag” worth $45,000 (U.S.).
The so-called bag, which is provided by a third-party company with no affiliation to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, contains, among other things, “trips to Australia, Hawaii and Mexico, personal training sessions, condoms, a bottle of tequila [and] hand-illustrated tennis shoes,” according to Reuters.
But wait! There’s more, according to this video featuring Lash Fary, the founder of Distinctive Assets, the marketing company that puts together the gift bags. There are also expensive saki-infused chocolates, tiny bottles of Windex, gummies that are purported to help you lose weight, trendy beauty products and the $5,000 Vampire Facelift, the “latest and greatest procedure to hit Beverly Hills.”
From what Fary says in the video, he fills the gift bags on a “first come, first serve” basis with goodies from companies that desperately want to get their products into the hands of celebrities. These are companies that know there’s just no publicity quite like that provided by a movie star using your product or visiting your expensive resort. Fary boasts in the video that Hugh Jackman, Meryl Streep and Jeremy Renner have all cashed in the free trips in the past.
If they did, hopefully they remembered to tell the United States Internal Revenue Service. In 2006, the IRS reminded celebrities that the “six-figure” gift bags the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had been handing out to presenters and nominees qualified as taxable income. The Academy hasn’t handed out a gift bag since.
This year’s Oscar trophies, on the other hand, will be handed out on Sunday, Feb. 24. Distinctive Assets will deliver its gift bags to the homes of the runners-up, or to their publicists (or to their accountants), after the awards.
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