Oscar 'losers' to go home with $45,000 gift bags

LOS ANGELES Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:46am IST

An Oscar statue is seen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following the 85th Academy Awards nominee announcements in Beverly Hills, California January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Phil McCarten/Files

An Oscar statue is seen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following the 85th Academy Awards nominee announcements in Beverly Hills, California January 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Phil McCarten/Files

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar nominees who don't end up with a coveted gold statuette at the Academy Awards on Sunday won't go home empty handed after all.

Los Angeles-based marketing firm Distinctive Assets will be handing out its annual "Everyone Wins at the Oscars Nominee Gift Bag", valued at more than $45,000, to the talented and well-dressed "losers," the company said on Tuesday.

Among the items in the gift bags, known as swag bags, are trips to Australia, Hawaii and Mexico, personal training sessions, condoms, a bottle of tequila, hand-illustrated tennis shoes, appointments for injectable fillers and 'portion-controlled' dinnerware for those watching their figure, Distinctive Assets said in a statement.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, stopped its practice of giving gift baskets to presenters and performers in 2007 after the practice came under closer scrutiny from U.S. tax authorities.

Celebrities who receive gifts and free trips at awards shows are expected to declare them to the Inland Revenue Service as income and pay the appropriate taxes.

The Distinctive Assets gift bag is not endorsed by the Academy but has been creating consolation goodie bags for 11 years now. The bags are delivered to the losing nominees to their homes directly or through their agents or publicists.

This year's "Not Everyone Wins...." swag bag also includes an under-the-counter water filtration system, acupuncture and aromatherapy sessions, a one-week stay at a fitness and weight-loss retreat, and a one-year membership to London's Heathrow Airport's private VIP service.

Nominees' children also benefit: they get to enroll in professional all-kid circus classes.

The Academy Awards, the highest honors in the movie business, will be handed out a ceremony on Sunday in Hollywood. (Reporting by Zorianna Kit, editing by Jill Serjeant and Philip Barbara)

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