Goodie bags for Oscar nominees: circus school, ‘portion control’ plates, ‘Vampire Face Lifts,’ and other oddball gifts for the losers

Mark Deming
Yahoo! Movies Oscars Blog

If you win an Oscar, you get a shiny trophy, the recognition of your peers, all kinds of media coverage, and usually a better bargaining position for your next project. But what happens if you lose? Well, at very least, your kid gets to go to clown school.

Distinctive Assets is an American marketing firm that every year hands out "goodie bags" to the people who were nominated for Academy Awards but didn't win, and as it turns out, there's a pretty amazing selection of treats in store for the folks who didn't come in first.

This year's package includes a professional class in circus skills for the nominee's child, athletic shoes that have been customized with original artwork, a week at an upscale health spa, sessions with acupuncture and aromatherapy experts, and a year of VIP service at Heathrow Airport in London. And if you're brave enough, you can also use the "Vampire Face Lift" included in the package, a cosmetic procedure that "blood derived growth factors" -- whatever that means.

The estimated value of the consolation prizes? $45,000. Not a bad haul, though if you'd lost in 2010, you'd have walked away with $93,000 worth of stuff, including a safari.

Of course, if you were hoping for something more practical you can use (or re-gift) right away, the package also includes tickets for resort vacations in Mexico, Australia, and Hawaii, deluxe water filters, and "portion control" dishes for those watching their figures, non-medically approved or scientifically gauged dinnerware that show you just how much meat, veggies, and carbs you should put on your plate. And if losers want to drown their sorrows with a night of debauchery, they're all set -- recipients will also find a bottle of artisan tequila and some condoms. If you need to clean up afterwards, the Windex products in the bag might come in handy.

While Oscar nominees get some fine swag for their troubles, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are no longer officially involved with the "goodie bag" program. AMPAS was told by tax officials that recipients were obligated to report the goodies as income to the IRS, and rather than get involved in other people's tax problems, they opted to bow out; the only perk they offer nominees is attendance at their annual Governor's Ball, held after the Oscar show is over. As a result, the gifts aren't actually handed out at the award ceremony, but delivered to the celebs or their representatives.

But Distinctive Assets has stepped forward in the place of AMPAS, convincing various companies that it's good business to have someone who was up for an Oscar wearing their sneakers or flying their airline. Another outfit, GBK Productions, will also host a "gift lounge" where stars can pick and choose among various upscale trinkets. They, however, are being less forthcoming about the contents of their bags.

Keep in mind, this year's goodie bags are hardly out of the ordinary by Academy Awards standards. In the past, gift bags for presenters and performers included boxing lessons from former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier, new BlackBerrys, a dinner for nine prepared by Wolfgang Puck, and specially designed cell phones for kids. The latter, along with those circus classes, suggests someone figures even having the child of an Oscar nominee seen with your stuff is good publicity. Just keep them away from that tequila.