2019 OSCAR VERSION: THE YEAR OF PHOBIA
February 18, 20190
On the list of people in the world who have things to worry about, the famous actors and directors nominated at this year’s Oscars make up the very last 25 of those spots. Fine, I am sure some of them have legitimate stressors in their lives, but I also hope that being nominated for the most prestigious award in their chosen field mitigates at least some of that.
But despite this, nominees for acting and directing awards will all receive products to help calm them down. This year, the Oscars gift bags will include chocolates infused with THC, CBD skin care, private therapy sessions for “phobia relief,” and, for some reason, a toilet plunger.
These gift bags — which often include six figures’ worth of products — have nothing to do with the actual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, by the way; they’re operated by a marketing company you’ve probably never heard of called Distinctive Assets. Typically they include weird spa services, vacations (in 2016, a $55,000 all-inclusive trip offered by ExploreIsrael.com incited protests from groups like the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the Jewish Voice for Peace), and other random items like dog mattresses, children’s books, or CPR training.
The reason dog mattresses and controversial vacations end up in the hands of the world’s most famous celebrities, of course, is that companies pay them to. Entrepreneur estimated that it could cost brands between $5,000 and $20,000 for their products to end up in Oscars gift bags, all in the hopes that celebrities might actually like them, and therefore influence others to pay for them.