Having been deprived of my big research project of the year (and all the attention and hits that came with it), I do feel a little out of sorts. After four years of compiling the contents of the official, but not publicized, Academy Awards gift basket the task is no longer necessary as the basket no longer exists thanks to IRS concerns. I didn’t have to spend the week sifting through press release sites and Google’s news search trying to pluck out the official gift bag contents from amongst all the publicity hungry celebrity giveaways. I didn’t have to use a spreadsheet to track the finds and eliminate duplicates. No reporters emailed me asking how obtain the official list (um, ever heard of good old-fashioned research?). No eager publicists emailed me their clients’ good news. It’s the end of the line for my official Oscar bag gig. And it was fun while it lasted so I’m sad to see it go. The NY Times has an article on the “branded retreats” set up for Oscar week. These gifting suites on steroids take over Hollywood mansions where celebs can go to relax, eat, get a spa treatment or two, and perhaps take home a few lavish free gifts if they sign the waiver acknowledging their tax liability. Here’s to keeping celebrity tax accountants busy and well paid. Enjoy the Oscars!