Forget about Best Actor or Best Picture. The biggest buzz over tomorrow's Academy Awards is the loot for celebrity moms.
"We're so hoping it will end up in the mouths of Julia Robert's children," says an excited Andrea McGinty, founder of Baby Dagny (babydagny.com), an online boutique of trendy baby stuff, whose purple frog plush pacifier will be featured in a couple hundred Academy Award gift bags.
The pacifier has been sewn onto a soft-stuffed animal body, one of seven different creatures.
"It was really, really exciting when they first called. We sent them one of our pacifiers so they could review it. They liked it so we sent a couple hundred to them last week. They told us just yesterday that a few will definitely be in some A-list star's bags," says McGuinty, who is based in Palm Desert.
"You just never know, because there are so many members of the academy, if it's going to end up in a writer's hands or a celebrity's. I guess we'll wait and see!"
Retailers and designers certainly know that when they get into the hands of an A-lister (or their offspring), business booms. That's why Mcguinty says she has 6,000 pacifiers on hand, ready to ship out to customers.
After last year's controversy, when the IRS investigated taxes due from gifts to celebrities, the official Oscar gift bag is expected to be more modest this year.
But that's not stopping companies like Hollywood Connection from hooking celebs up with product. At the Night of 100 Stars at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which takes place during the awards show and is visited by Oscar winners, Arizona-based Chris Frueh's product will be included in gift bags. Her company U Go Girlz (ugogirlz.com) is aimed at teen girls and moms and sells inspirational T-shirts and "dream pillows."
This year, there is also the first "Pre-Oscar Gift Basket for Babies and Big Kids of Celebrities," put together by well-known celebrity stylist Jayneoni.
Tuni & G (tuniandg.com), a line known for its sassy phrases on shirts, like "Don't ya wish your mommy was hot like mine?" and matching mom and baby shirts (for baby, one reads, "My mom rocks." For mom, the shirt reads, "My baby rolls") will be included.
What will it all come in? An Amy Michelle bag (amymichelle.com), whose third line of baby bags will be hitting shelves this month. Celebrities on the list to receive the gift bag include Kate Winslet, Marcia Cross, Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, Patrick Dempsey and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Calgary-based Kim Freeman of Starrytime Keepsakes (starrytime.com), who produces a personalized children's book, Blanket Full of Love, was asked to be included in Jayneoni's Back-to-School gift basket for celebrities last September.
"You don't really know who gets your product until you get a thank-you note," says Freeman. She received thank-you cards from both Paltrow and Brooke Shields afterward. "It's completely surreal to get thank-you cards from them. I couldn't even function for a day and a half."
And, yes, business did go up. Along with numerous others, Shields is now a regular customer of Starrytime.
For moms who own businesses, it really is thrilling just to be nominated.