Oscar’s Bizarre Swag Bag: Condoms, Circus Training, and More
Windex? Lint rollers? Kevin Fallon takes a peek inside the gift bag going to this year’s Oscar nominees.
This year’s Oscar losers shouldn’t be too upset when Anne Hathaway and Daniel Day-Lewis waltz off with the coveted trophies. Turns out every one’s a winner: They’re all going home with copies of Leeza Gibbons’s memoir.
Yes, the former talk show host and QVC maven’s new book, Take 2: Your Guide to Happy Endings and New Beginnings, is among the increasingly strange contents that stock this year’s Oscar swag bag.
Presumptuously titled the “Everyone Wins at the Oscars Nominee Gift Bag,” the freebies going home with all of this year’s nominees is valued at a whopping $45,000. Included are the glamorous luxuries one would presume Hollywood’s A-list would covet: $10,000 trips to Australia, skincare products worth hundreds of dollars each, $625 private training sessions, and gourmet chocolates.
Also, there are condoms.
Mixed in with all of the high-end swag are a slew of utterly bizarre knick-knacks, services, and even cleaning products. Among the weirdest:
-Take 2: Your Guide to Happy Endings and New Beginnings by Leeza Gibbons, a book about “starting over; taking inventory, and getting smarter, stronger, and sexier with no apologies, no regrets and no turning back.” ($24.00)-A six-pack box of Naked brand condoms ($20.00)-Maple syrup, from Rouge Maple Gourmet Products ($120.00)-Portion-control dinnerware by Slimware: “Portion consciousness is disguised in the design.” $59.00-A Vampire Facelift, a cosmetic procedure that involves re-injecting gel-like substances from the patient’s blood back into the skin of their face to treat wrinkles. ($5,000.00)-Tickets to the circus, to see “North America’s only all-kid troupe.” ($400)-Hair ties. But they double as bracelets! ($80.00)-A lint roller by Gleener, called The Ultimate Fuzz Remover ($19.99)-Windex touch-up cleaner ($3.99)
That’s not to mention the swanky sweatshirts, emblazoned with the Oscar logo, the contenders were all handed at this year’s Nominees Luncheon.
In recent years, the Oscar nominees have had an evolving relationship with the swag bag. The goodie packages have been put together by marketing firm Distinctive Assets for 11 years. The opulence of the gifts is legendary, and it used to be that the presenters and performers at the ceremony also received them. They used to be worth upwards of $100,000, and were a major reason why celebrities jumped at the chance to open an envelope on the Oscar stage.
But in 2006, the IRS deemed the loot taxable, and suddenly the bags weren’t so appealing. Many celebrities opted to donate their wares to charity, and the extravagance—and value—of the bags have gone down over the years. The days of six-figure’s worth of swag are long gone. Last year’s bag was worth $62,023.26, and this year’s is down nearly $20,000 from that.
In other words, the bags have become more creative, to say the least. So at least when Sally Field loses Best Supporting Actress on Sunday night, she can at least take solace in the fact that she’s saved herself a trip to Target for a new bottle of Windex.