For a few years I went gung-ho on compiling information about the Academy Awards (Oscars) presenter gift bags (goody bags, goodie bags, gift baskets, no one agreed on what to call them). Then the IRS got all charming about collecting taxes for the extravagent contents that were, in their minds, provided in lieue of payment for services rendered. So the Academy replaced their grand gesture with a more modest (and less tax form impacting) offering that, like its extravagant predecessors, is never publicized by the Academy but might provide some PR for the provider if they can get away with it. Lots of vendors still give plenty of free stuff to Oscar nominees and attendees for the publicity but those aren’t official Academy Awards presenter gifts. They’re advertisements. I’ve gathered links to my Oscar gift basket posts here for nostalgia and history. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll be back.
2003: My first-ever Academy Awards gift basket list. No idea what I was getting into. But I knew how to wield a search engine like nobody’s business.
2004: A long list of Oscar gift basket goodies culled from many nights of online searches. I believe this was the year I got a snarky email from a PR person who said my list was wayyyyy off but nice job anyway. This was also the year I reached a pinnacle of weblog B-list stardom: part of my Oscar gift basket description appeared almost word-for-word (uncredited) in the New York Post.
2005: Carefully edited to hopefully be more accurate than ever before, this year’s Oscars gift basket included a vacuum cleaner that (doesn’t) suck and a hair dryer that blew. By this year, reporters were emailing me to find out what I knew (hey, there’s no magic here that you can’t do yourself). (and here’s me whining about the deceptive Oscar basket PR bandwagon)
2006: The final official Academy Awards presenter gift basket contents. By now, the PR people were sending me the info themselves. Alas, not the gifts, just the info about the gifts. Here’s insider info I received about a letterpress card included in the basket.
2007: First year post-IRS doom, the Academy gives Oscar presenters a green token of appreciation: carbon emission offsets. Here’s a post in which I bemoan the lack of Oscar Gift Basket PR activity. But first I discover the gift of water in a box. And, before that, I parody the whole enterprise with the Target Pharmacy Gift Bag contents. Yes you can tell the end was nigh.
I really enjoyed this yearly activity and sometimes I even miss it. Thanks to everyone who linked and wrote (even the snarky ones) and followed along.