If only we could all be consoled with such prizes! The tradition of lavish goodie bags for losing Oscar nominees continued in a big way this year — such a big way that it makes you wonder if someone decided to mess with Leo knowing that he was actually going to win this year.
In fact, it was big enough to make the Academy say enough is enough (shining example of restraint, to be sure). The legendary gift bag isn’t an official thing — it’s put together by a third party called Distinctive Assets, which basically exists to give luxury goods manufacturers an in with celebrities. They’re the oil that keeps the luxury marketing machine moving, and did they ever grease the wheels this year!
The gift bag totaled $232,000 in luxury goods, per The Atlantic. But, the contents make us wonder if the Academy’s suit over trademark infringement is because of the value of the bag or its contents. Sounds like it might be a prudish turn for Hollywood. The bag was rounded out by trips (about half of the total is a $55,000 trip to Israel and a $54,000 private walking tour of Japan), luxury services, and personalized M&Ms. A lint roller and chapstick keep things humble. There is also vodka, in a bag otherwise alarmingly devoid of booze.
So, is the free ride over for Oscar losers with this lawsuit? Doubtful — the swag bags will surely be back under a different name next year, and given how much is being made of this year’s bags (now count us guilty, too), Distinctive Assets has every reason to keep on spreading the good word for their clients.
Anyway, it all seemed to make a lot of people mad this year, and I guess people already being mad at the Oscars for their diversity problems didn’t help. It’s hard to see why, though — the Oscars are an exercise in excess with or without the gift bags. Singling the bags out seems odd when they’re just icing on already pretty heavy cake. In the greater context of an inconceivably lucrative film industry predicated on lavish spending every other day of the year, it’s business as usual.