Archive for the ‘oscars’ Category
Six aspiring film students will carry the Oscar statuettes onstage this year, replacing the usual models. The show’s producers decided to put more meaning into the task than that of aesthetics (or, as they actually said about the models ”they’re just there to be objectified”). Six students were picked out of 1,100 applicants who submitted essays and videos. The selection looks to be nicely diverse with students who hail from other countries and a Marine Corp veteran.
I’ve pulled together all my old Oscar gift basket posts into one page. When we moved this site off old Blogger to WordPress I made the difficult decision to convert my old static archive pages, losing all the valuable search engine indexing and incoming links. The search hasn’t recovered with how my archives are set up and I never took the time to cook up an incoming link convertor or other solution. My most popular posts were about the crazy-stuffed gift baskets the Academy Awards gave to their presenters. So I decided to catalog those and add a “Best of” link on the sidebar. It was a nice trip down memory lane.
With the Academy Awards coming up on Sunday, it’s time again to figure out what the presenters and performers on the Oscars will be receiving as their token of gratitude from “the Academy.” Last year, after the IRS made those expensive gift baskets (the contents of which I used to extensively research) less appealing, the Academy purchased a year of carbon offsets for each participant. What will it be this year? I’ll keep searching for a press release from some lucky company. To satisfy your Oscar trivia needs in the meantime, here is The Nielsen Company’s Guide to the Academy Awards which “showcases a wide range of consumer and media information illustrating the enormous impact the Academy Awards has in the U.S.” At the very end are their demographics of an Academy Award viewer: “predominantly in upper to upper- middle income brackets.” A 30 second commercial last year cost $1,665,800.
The secret is out. Academy Awards presenters and performers did not go home empty handed on Sunday, despite the removal of the lavish Oscar gift baskets. TerraPass has announced that the Academy presented each presenter with 100,000 lbs of CO2 reductions from TerraPass to offset a year of carbon emissions. The gift was physically represented by a glass sculpture from Simon Pearce and TerraPass added a conservation handbook to the box. There’s a website set up for purchasing the same sculpture and a year of emissions reductions (30 metric tons in this calculation) for $650, or you can get a 5 year version (including a tour of the glass factory and a meal) for $2,100. (big thanks to Erik!)
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!
Water in a box. This is the type of thing I find cruising around the lesser Oscar gift bag sites now that the official Academy presenters’ gift bag has gone the way of the dodo. Yes, AQUA2GO water in a box, available at an exclusive gifting suite where celebrities can also get their hair styled with a diamond-encrusted flat iron and sprinkled with diamond dust. And they can use a Celebrity Sharpie Pen encrusted with Swarovski Crystals to sign a board that will be auctioned off for charity. Don’t worry, you’re probably not invited. (more Sharpie bling here)
This is the fourth year I’ve compiled a list of the items that make up the Official Academy Awards Gift Bag. That’s the bag given to presenters and performers. The bag that neither the Academy nor their event planner will comment on. The bag that’s spawned a plethora of unofficial siblings presented to the nominees, the losers, the eco-friendly, the invitees to the swanky gifting suites.
That noble lack of PR participation from The Academy leaves Official Bag inclusion publicity in the hands of those who provide the goods. Those who are PR savvy deploy their big guns while those of more modest means call up local papers. This makes for confusing and often intentionally ambiguous press releases and news items. I’ve spotted errors in most articles about the Official Bag and since I’m working from the same sources my list likely also has inaccuracies. Only the lucky recipients will know the truth.
But enough with the chit chat, on to the list:
For the third year in a row, the bag is weighted down with an amazing Canadian travel package:
-stays at the Opus Hotel in Vancouver and the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino
-dinner at five restaurants: Elixir, West, Coast, Pointe, Shelter
-yoga sessions, spa treatments
-kayaking in Clayoquot Sound, a scenic flight to a remote lake
-and always my personal favorite: two Oxia Oxygen Personal Canisters
Gaiam Gift Certificate ($500)
Signature Days Gift Certificate ($500) “Experiences range from kite-boarding and a ride on an America’s Cup Sailboat to spa treatments, yoga, personal chefs and private dance lessons.”
Krups XP4050 Premium Pump Espresso Machine and illy’s Limited Edition Pistoletto Foundation Espresso Cup Collection (Value: $600)
Vonage, The VTech Expandable Broadband Phone System. (Value: $550)
Two Night Stay in a Suite at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York (Value: $2,300)
Frette cashmere leather trimmed Voyage travel blanket (Value: $1,495)
Firefly mobile phone for kids
The Cheese Impresario at-home artisanal cheese experience for six. These events celebrate fine American artisanal cheeses and wines. The gift certificates are hand-printed on an antique letterpress from the early 1800’s on fine Italian paper.
Moonstruck Chocolates: Twelve truffles within a custom hand-crafted Thai silk and teak wood box. (Value: $100+) This is the second year in the bag for this Portland, OR chocolatier.
The Loved Dog: Personal Training gift card, 3-night stay at Doggie Daycare, and a Luxury Dog Bed. Tamar Geller, a renowned life-coach for dogs and their people, will introduce dogs and their companions to her innovative methods for creating a better relationship.
Tara & Sons pearl and diamond necklace
Mr. Handyman gift certificate for one day of service
Four-night stay in the Vera Wang Suite at Halekulani Hotel, Waikiki Beach, a signature treatment at the famed SpaHalekulani, dinner for two at La Mer at Halekulani
Cornelia Day Resort “Unlimited Card” (worth $2,500), includes a $500 facial, massages, a whole range of beauty products and an entire day of beauty treatments
Dinner party in Morton’s Private Boardroom at any of their 69 restaurants (Value: $1500) (this item is a constant in the bag)
Kay Unger vintage silk kimono ($500)
year’s supply of Manni olive oil
two nights (plus surfing lessons) at St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, CA ($5,700)
two nights (plus wine tasting) at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, CA ($2,500)
three nights at one of five Fairmont Hotel & Resorts ($2500)
A BRUGO Travel Mug (featuring the Perfect Temperature Zone)
As usual, I suspect that some really nifty stuff remains unpublicized. Now on to a few noteables from other giveaways: Victoria’s Secret’s prize to the best actress nominees this year is a bra and panty set with a removable gold and diamond brooch. Kodak and Kwiat Diamonds have created EasyShare V570 cameras with the best actress nominees’ initials in 75 brilliant-cut diamonds (valued at $20,000). Motorola is handling out a special edition gunmetal PEBL phone in a custom gift box to directing and acting nominees. And M&M;’S Candies is presenting nominees with personalized M&Ms; with their names and words of congratulations printed on each M.
A big thanks to everyone who sent along a press release or article.
My favorite part of the Oscar gifting research is discovering self-employed folks whose handcrafted items are getting a chance in the spotlight. This year, I ran across a press release from DeLuce Design. Jill DeLuce left her graphic design career in California for Nevada to open her dream business creating letterpress greeting cards. A California day spa contacted by the Academy for inclusion in the bags asked Jill to create the invitation for their gift of services. I emailed her for more information and she responded with a description: “the card was letterpress printed by me using pink and green ink onto pearlescent/irridescent card stock and tucked into a square transparent vellum envelope.” The piece has an Asian-inspired botanical theme based on an existing design her clients had seen and liked. She also notes “the piece I made had to be approved by the Academy first, it was somewhat of a lengthy process.” Custom creations such as this are likely part of the presentation packaging for many gift bag items. It’s neat to get a behind the scenes look from Jill.
Once again, it’s that special time of year where we use the power of Internet search engines to figure out what the lucky celebrities will be carting home from the Oscars. After a few complaints last year that I included too many items that were not in the Official Academy Awards Presenters and Performers Gift Basket, my list this time only includes those items that specifically claim inclusion from a news source or press release. Thus, it’s shorter than before and perhaps not as much fun, but, I hope, more accurate. Some of this list came from a USA Today article; if it’s wrong, well, you can blame me for trusting it. The Academy always refuses to release an official list or comment on the basket. One news item states that Sequoia Productions, producers of the Academy’s Governors Ball, actually puts together the Official Basket. So now you know who to bug to get your handiwork in next time!
A handful of other companies gather goodies to bestow upon Oscar nominees (note that the Official Basket is given only to presenters and performers), thus the confusion of what is really in The Basket versus the Other Bags. There’s the “Everyone Wins” (aka “losers”) bag from Distinctive Assets, one from Buzz Bags, and one from Donum Gifts. Victoria’s Secret always gives the Best Actress nominees bejeweled accessories. Motorola gives out a not-available-to-mere-mortals phone. And there’s also the “Award Suites” at the Beverly Hilton where attendees can pick up even more free stuff, like skin treatments and tea.
As usual, my favorite items to find are the handcrafted “mom & pop shop” ones and I did dig up a couple. If only the Academy would give the little guys even more publicity for their generous donations by sending out an official list! Here’s mine:
A Krups kitchen set including a toaster, electric kettle and a year’s supply of coffee and tea ($700)
A two-night stay at The Carlyle hotel in New York ($2,300)
A red leather case full of Shu Uemura cosmetics, including mink eyelashes ($600)
A DuWop cosmetic kit filled with a selection of products and a gift certificate for a session with a Cloutier makeup artist. ($740)
A year’s supply of Vonage broadband phone service ($500)
A three-night stay for two at Palmetto Bluff Resort in South Carolina ($3,600) (updated w/correct link 2/27)
A two-night stay for two at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, CA($2,500)
A three-night stay for two at St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa in Dana Point, CA (includes personal “surf butler”) ($5,900)
A dinner party at Morton’s, The Steakhouse ($1,500)
Kay Unger cashmere pajama bottoms ($500) (only the bottoms??)
An assortment of Manni Oils‘ extra virgin olive oil ($540)
One day of services at Cornelia Day Resort in Manhattan ($3,500)
A three-night stay at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, Calif. ($3,000)
An 18-inch baroque Tahitian pearl necklace from PearlParadise.com ($3,200)
A Dyson DC11 canister vacuum (y’know, the one that “doesn’t suck”)
Two nights in a Bellagio suite and Two therapies at Spa & Salon Bellagio and Dinner for two at Sensi Restaurant and Dessert at Jean-Phillipe Patisserie and Two tickets to “O” and a $1,000 shopping spree for Jurlique products (read the press release for even more detail)
Mr. Handyman gift certificate redeemable for one full day
of Mr. Handyman service, presented in a confetti-filled paint can with an upscale black, red and gold design featuring the Mr. Handyman logo. The lid’s label reads, “Your Handyman is Inside.”
$10,000 package for a three-night stay at the Opus Hotel in Vancouver, three nights at the Four Seasons Resort in Whistler, lift passes, helicopter transfers, limo transfers, numerous meals, Pilates session, spa treatments, and two OXIA oxygen personal canisters (the second time Opus has made the cut with their astonishing roundup of Canadian hospitality!)
The Academy Awards are approaching which means it’s time to dust off those search engines and all the permutations of gift/goodie/goody bag/basket for our annual list of items in the Official basket. This year I’ll be striving to keep things pure by not including items that are in those other poseur baskets, no matter how fun and amazing they may be. It’s a difficult task when you have news items like this one about Sprint and Samsung. Note the headline “Sprint And Samsung Give Oscar Nominees Phones.” That makes me want to overlook it since the nominees basket is not the one I’m after. But the content says “Celebrity presenters and performers at the 77th Annual Academy Awards will get the gift of global gab this year with the inclusion of the new Sprint PCS Phone by Samsung in their official Oscar gift baskets.” So maybe it’s the real deal? Motorola is continuing their “tradition of providing the 25 top acting and directing nominees with a not-yet-available mobile phone” and handing out a black RAZR V3, so no matter what you may read, that phone isn’t part of the Official basket (unless perhaps it’s in there too?!). The worst part is we may never know how close or far I get from the actual contents! But it’ll be a fun read anyway. Stay tuned.