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Inside the excessive Oscars gift bag worth almost €120k


By Sarah Gill
13th Mar 2023

The Academy

Inside the excessive Oscars gift bag worth almost €120k

Regardless of whether or not they won an Academy award on the night, all Oscar nominees walked away from the Dolby Theatre with an unofficial swag bag valued at close to €120,000.

Oh, how the other half live.

Each year, the highly anticipated — though unofficial — Oscars gift bag piques interest across the globe, triggering pangs of jealousy and many’s the eye roll. While some view it as a prime example of the excess and indulgence that has become synonymous with the entertainment industry, others view it as a symbol of appreciation for those in the spotlight.

Nevertheless, whichever side of the debate you fall on, we can’t help but live vicariously through the rich and the famous, and this year’s gift bag is a masterclass in extravagance. Given to all 26 nominees and host Jimmy Fallon, the ‘Everybody Wins’ goodie bag is curated by Distinctive Assets, a marketing company founded by Lash Fary.

The Academy began a tradition of giving gifts to Oscar nominees back in the ‘90s, but due to the astronomical tax burden, they decided to ditch the idea, so Lash Fary took the reins and has been delivering suitcases stuffed with spoils for the past 21 years now, though there have been a couple of bumps in the road along the way. In 2016, the Academy confronted and distanced itself from Distinctive Assets for the inclusion of controversial products that include marijuana vape pens, sex toys and a vampire breast lift.

The Oscars gift bag — which contains an assortment of about 60 different items ranging from wine and flip flops to a three-night stay in a rural Canadian resort and cosmetic treatments worth tens of thousands of dollars — are the ultimate form of publicity, with brands paying $4,000 to secure their spot in the hamper. Fary described the process for brands as entering into a lottery of sorts, in the hopes that these big name celebrities will be spotted enjoying their product, or in an ideal world, sharing and tagging them online.

Of course, using the products and vouchers given is at the discretion of the recipient, but they cannot re-gift them to others, because the brands are expecting a certain level of exposure. They can also elect to not accept the gift bag, à la Denzel Washington last year, or indeed donate it to a charity, like JK Simmons and George Clooney. These gift bags are also seen as taxable income by the IRS, so it’s highly unlikely that any one recipient will use every product and service given.

So, what are some of the highlights of this year’s Oscars gift bag?

By a landslide, the most generous offering in this year’s gift bag is a $40,000 three-night stay at the remote luxury property The Lifestyle in Ottawa, Canada. Those who choose to use this voucher will enjoy a fully-stocked fridge filled with gourmet foods, an in-home movie theater, and the ability to drive a 1965 Shelby AC Cobra 427 Roadster or a 2023 McLaren Artura.

In terms of costs, the next most elaborate gifts included in the bag are a $12,000 arm liposuction procedure from Dr. Thomas Su, which promises to “give women an instant lean and toned look” with “smooth shapes and perfectly defined contours” and a private hair restoration consultation with leading hair transplant surgeon Dr. Alan J. Bauman, valued at $7,000.

There’s also up to $10,000 worth of procedures from Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich, including chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing and Botox. Isn’t it nice and refreshing to see that Hollywood’s obsession with appearance is still alive, well, and being actively encouraged?

Next up, there’s a three-night stay at the Faro Punta Imperatore Lighthouse in Ischia, Italy for the nominee and up to 7 friends valued at $9,000, a literal plot of land in Australia that contributes to conservation and reforestation efforts, and a luxurious gender-neutral fragrance from Benigna Parfums worth almost $400.

There’s also $45 worth of fancy popcorn, of which each kernel is said to be individually pre-wrapped in flavor, $435 worth of gourmet, hand-harvested dates, and a luxury hand soap from one of Oprah’s favourite brands, Shinery Radiance Wash.

So, what say you? A deserved reward for outstanding achievements in the industry, or a display of excess, materialism, and accelerated capitalism in motion?

Featured photography by The Academy.