We all remember what it was like as a kid to go to one of our classmates birthday parties and waiting to leave just so we could get our hands on the coveted goody-bags. As we’ve grown older, this party favor tradition has also grown with us and taken the form of customizable M&M bags at weddings, bottles of bedazzled champagne at a bachelor party, or maybe even a custom sweatshirt for a birthday trip. So it only makes sense that some of Hollywood’s biggest “parties” would also give out some sizable “goody-bags” to the many A-List guests that attend.
In 2001, The Oscars began the tradition of giving out “swag bags” to all of the celebrity guests that attend the event every year; and what’s inside definitely doesn’t compare to the bubblegum and plastic jewelry you got as a child. The items in these swag bags can all be deemed as luxury products, so much so that when the Oscars first began giving them out the total values of the items equated to almost a quarter of a million dollars.
The excessive extravagance of these bags caught the eyes of the IRS fairly quickly, causing an investigation to open in the mid-2000’s out of government concern over the taxes that the recipients of these bags should be paying on some of the items. The massive value of these bags and the “items” within them has caused many Oscar attendees to refuse accepting them; the tax liability also has a lot to do with it.
After the initial IRS investigation in 2005, a marketing company known as Distinctive Assets took over the swag bag responsibility. Since they’re unaffiliated with the Oscars themselves, Distinctive Assets is more easily able to just give all of the items away, however, only nominees in the best actor, best actress, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, and best director receive the swag bags. So what did the nominees receive for this year’s ceremony?
What’s most likely the most extravagant thing in this year’s swag bag would be a 12-day trip for two to Antarctica. The trip will be done on the “world’s first ultra-luxury expedition yacht” which is known as the Scenic Eclipse. According to the website, the yacht itself can accommodate over 200 guests and includes a submarine, two helicopter pads, a spa, and eight eateries. The trip itself is estimated to cost around $79,000, and it’s not even the only trip offered in the swag bag.
Other vacations in the bag include a getaway for nominee’s and eight of their closest friends to go to the Faro Cumplida Lighthouse in Spain, and a five-night stay in Waikiki, Hawaii.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors also donated a myriad of jewelry from their TAPS for Hope collection, which benefits American and Afghan military widows. Other clothing and jewelry items that benefit non-profit work, such as PETA, were included in the bags; such as t-shirts, sustainable sunglasses, and handcrafted silk robes.
Skincare and wellness was the general theme of this year’s bag, and the excessive amounts of natural skincare and wellness items that were included in the bags exemplified that. Luxury wellness brand, Hotsy Totsy Haus donated a 24 karat gold Royal Chakra Bath bomb in the bags, but it didn’t stop there.
Celebrity recipients are also given up to $25,000 worth of skin treatments and cosmetic procedures courtesy of New York City cosmetologist, Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich. These treatments can include Botox, laser skin removal, chemical peels, and fillers.
When all is said and done, the 2020 Oscar swag bags equate to about $225,000 worth of luxury items, last years were valued at $230,000.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.