While not every Oscar nominee will walk out of the annual awards ceremony with the coveted gold statuette, no nominee truly leaves empty-handed—thanks to the unofficial Oscar “swag bag.” (To find out how you can get your own OK! swag bag, keep reading!)
Known to many for being comprised of a plethora of ridiculously expensive and bizarre items, this year’s Oscar swag bag will be delivered the following day to the likes of Meryl Streep, Margot Robbie, Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro, Jimmy Kimmel, and many others.
But here’s the kicker: Distinctive Assets has no affiliation with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In fact, it has been embroiled in lawsuits filed by the honorary organization for alleged trademark infringement. The Oscars had been officially cooperating with Distinctive Assets and giving out free gifts to Academy Awards nominees for several years before calling it quits in 2006 due to scrutiny from the IRS. Yep, no one wants to mess with the IRS.
Distinctive Assets, which couldn’t care less about all those lawsuits and tax scrutiny, has been giving out its outrageously expensive $100,000-plus swag bags—the worth of which reached a whopping $232,000 per bag in 2016—for the past 16 years now.
So who gets one? Since 2016—the year when Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for The Revenant—the marketing firm has been delivering its gift bag to all nominees, win or lose, which was not the case in he past.
Perhaps the company wanted to be prepared for any scenario that year: Leo would walk out of the awards ceremony vaping, munching on personalized M&Ms, and either drowning his sorrows or toasting his victory with Signature Vodka flowing past his perfectly moisturized lips (thanks to a tube ChapStick worth $6). A total win-win.
It may sound absurd to some, but businesses are literally lining up to jump on the marketing train driven by Distinctive Assets. After all, the swag bag is a major opportunity for companies to get their products in the hands of celebrities. The participating businesses not only donate items to Distinctive Assets for the Oscar swag bag, they also pay for the privilege. The entry level fee for inclusion is said to be $4,000, according to Quartz.
In case you’re wondering how the marketing firm delivers all this stuff—and you have a legitimate reason to wonder since fitting 40-plus items in a gift bag isn’t really doable—the goodies are delivered to the nominees’ homes and offices the day after the Academy Awards ceremony. The items are usually stuffed into several roller duffel bags.
There is a caveat: recipients will still have to pay taxes on those pricey items in the gift bag. So, what’s in it for the nominees this year?