With swag bags, no one leaves the Os­cars a loser

The Washington Post Sunday - - 85TH ACADEMY AWARDS - by Zo­ri­anna Kit

Os­car nom­i­nees who don’t win a cov­eted gold stat­uette at the Academy Awards on Sun­day won’t go home empty handed. Los An­ge­les-based mar­ket­ing firm Dis­tinc­tive As­sets will be hand­ing out its an­nual “Ev­ery­one Wins at the Os­cars” nom­i­nee gift bag, val­ued at more than $45,000, to the tal­ented and well-dressed “losers.”

Among the items in the gift bags, known as swag bags, are trips to Aus­tralia, Hawaii and Mex­ico, per­sonal train­ing ses­sions, con­doms, a bot­tle of tequila, hand-il­lus­trated ten­nis shoes, ap­point­ments for in­jectable fillers and “por­tion-con­trolled” din­ner­ware for those watch­ing their fig­ure, Dis­tinc­tive As­sets said in a state­ment.

The Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Os­cars, stopped giv­ing gift bas­kets to pre­sen­ters and per- for­m­ers in 2007 af­ter the prac­tice came un­der closer scru­tiny from U.S. tax au­thor­i­ties. Celebri­ties who re­ceive gifts and free trips at awards shows are ex­pected to de­clare them to the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice as in­come and pay the ap­pro­pri­ate taxes.

The Dis­tinc­tive As­sets gift bag is not en­dorsed by the Academy but has been cre­at­ing con­so­la­tion goodie bags for 11 years now. The bags are de­liv­ered to the los­ing nom­i­nees di­rectly to their homes di­rectly or through their agents or pub­li­cists.

This year’s swag bag also in­cludes an un­der-the-counter water fil­tra­tion sys­tem, acupunc­ture and aro­mather­apy ses­sions, a one-week stay at a fit­ness and weight-loss re­treat and a one-year mem­ber­ship to Lon­don’s Heathrow Air­port’s pri­vate VIP ser­vice.

Nom­i­nees’ chil­dren also ben­e­fit: They get to en­roll in pro­fes­sional cir­cus classes.


IN THE BAG: Not ev­ery­one wins one of the cov­eted Os­car stat­ues at the Academy Awards, but losers won’t go home empty-handed.

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