The freebies handed to Hollywood’s great and good at the Academy Awards aren’t always the treasures we imagine. Here are some weird recent inclusions …
The Oscars gift bag has become an essential part of each Academy Awards show, up there with being pointlessly sniffy about what people happen to be wearing and hating yourself for even watching the poxy thing in the first place.
The bag is a reminder that actors are better than you. It exists to underline the fact that you could literally die in a fire one second after the ceremony finished and nobody there would even notice, because they’d all be too busy clambering over Eddie Redmayne’s prostrate body to get their clammy hands on a thimble of Japanese nipple serum that costs as much as your last four holidays combined.
However, Oscars gift bags are not always the unadulterated treat that civilians imagine. Yes, they’re offensively expensive. Yes, they’re a tangible token of everything that people resent about Hollywood. But sometimes, just sometimes, they’ll contain an absolute dud. I’ve been delving through the history books, and here are some genuine – and genuinely awful – items found in Oscars gift bags past and present.
2016 – Dandi Patch underarm sweat solution ($21)
Charlotte Rampling might be a dead outsider to win this year’s best actress race, but at least she’ll go home safe in the knowledge that – so long as she keeps her armpits perfectly hairless at all times – these giant Elastoplasts will stop her from ever appearing in the Sidebar of Shame alongside the caption: “DISGUSTING WOMAN ALERT! Runny Rampling shamelessly perspires like some sort of gruesome mutant.”
2015 – O-Shot ($5,000)
Sad that you didn’t win best supporting actress for your role in Into the Woods, Meryl Streep? Never mind! In your bag is a voucher for a procedure where blood gets sucked out of your arm and injected back into your clitoris. That’s basically the same, isn’t it?
2014 – DrainWig ($19.95)
One story paints 2014 as a desperate year for Leonardo DiCaprio, marking the third painful best-actor prize loss of his career. But another tells a different tale; one where he went home, used this device to clear the pubes out of his shower, and remained perfectly happy.
2013 – Tickets to see Le Petit Cirque ($400)
Don’t worry, Quvenzhané Wallis. Your Oscar snub might have stung at the time, but it’ll be nothing compared to the agony of watching several dozen stage-school tots grin their way through an interminable circus performance.
2012 – Disaronno ($15,000)
David Fincher might not have gone home with a trophy in 2012, but he did go home with several thousand dollars of Disaronno, even though he – like everyone else in the world – has had exactly half a bottle of it perched on top of his fridge since the year 1998.
2011 – Slimware portion-control plates ($29.99)
Congratulations, Natalie Portman. Your portrayal of a woman wrecking her body in pursuit of artistic perfection has won you the biggest prize that your industry has to offer. Now go home and eat your tea on these plates designed to stop you becoming a big fat pig.
2009 – Booty Pop ($35)
Well done for playing Harvey Milk so beautifully, Sean Penn. Try these pants on. They make your bum look big! Ha ha ha! Big Bum Penn, that’s what they’ll call you! Ha ha ha!
2006 – The Cheese Impresario at-home tasting party
Heartfelt congratulations on your best original song win, Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard! It truly is hard out there for a pimp. Here’s a voucher for a six-course artisanal cheese experience. Go nuts, guys.
2005 – Shu Uemura makeup box, containing mink eyelashes ($600)
It’s hard to know exactly what these are. They could be false eyelashes made of mink hair, or mink eyelashes that humans wear as their own, or false eyelashes for minks. I guess that’s why they call it Hollyweird! Anyway, I’m sure Clint Eastwood looked great in them.
2004 – ‘A glass ornament in the shape of a shopping bag with the Oscar logo, handcrafted in Europe, designed by Lisa Kelechava of Tennessee’
This one is unconfirmed, since the only mention of it comes in the middle of an otherwise trustworthy blogpost. Perhaps the only way to find out is to go and visit Sting, composer of best original song nominee You Will be my Ain True Love from Cold Mountain, since it sounds like the sort of thing he’d go crazy for.
This article was written by Stuart Heritage, for theguardian.com on Monday 8th February 2016 13.16 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010