What's inside the Oscars gift bag, valued at $120K apiece

Even if you don't win an Oscar (the golden statuette itself is only worth $1), if you're an Academy Award nominee you walk away with a gift bag filled with some seriously lavish schwag.

Town & Country reports that each one is stuffed with promotional gifts valued at $120K:

...the swag bag includes a variety of luxury items, from spa-grade cosmetics, to the advanced Quip electric toothbrush, a year-supply of fresh California oranges, an experience with a personal trainer, and 6-12-day travel packages to Tanzania, Greece, and Hawaii.

For the past 16 years, marketing agency Distinctive Assets has made the "'Everyone Wins' Nominee Gift Bag." Interestingly, the bag is unofficial and not presented at the awards ceremony itself.

The Washington Post reports:

Each bag is big enough to fit a number of human bodies and heavy enough to risk back injury if you tried to lift it with poor form...

It’s difficult to behold the collection of gifts without contemplating class war. This year’s offerings include a slate of skin-care, weight-loss and anti-aging products designed to fend off the inevitable progression of human life, as well as something called “Chao Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation.” The bag features fancy chocolates from Chocolatines in flavors unknown to the proletariat such as “Champagne Diamond” and “Ginger Sake Pearl.” We sampled the “Pomegranate Balsamic Ruby” but couldn’t taste the ruby.

This year’s most expensive offering is a $40,000 luxury trip to Tanzania from International Expeditions...

Some of the bag’s gifts make strange bedfellows.

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Man steals McDormand's Oscar, prances around party claiming it's his, finally gets arrested

Soon after Frances McDormand received her Oscar for Best Actress for her brilliant performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the statuette was stolen. After searching high and low for it, McDormand "was spotted crying emotionally outside the [Governor's] ball after giving up the search for the statuette on the premises and departing with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen," according to USA Today.

And then it was found.

A man named Terry Bryant was arrested for grand theft for taking the statue. In the video above we see him prancing around, bragging to party-goers about the award that he won. No one noticed McDormand's name, which was already engraved on the statue.

"Who wants to tell me congratulations!" he says in a state of exuberance. And, in Hollywood fashion, everyone around him congratulates him, acting like they knew who he was and what he won the Oscar for. According to USA Today:

While the Oscar was still missing in action, McDormand was spotted crying emotionally outside the ball after giving up the search for the statuette on the premises and departing with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen.

Security was then dispersed to look for the Oscar which, conveniently, already had McDormand's name engraved on it. (Oscars are engraved at the Governors Ball.)

Hours later, McDormand's representative Simon Halls confirmed to USA TODAY that the trophy and the Oscar winner were back together. No further details about the temporary separation were given, but The New York Times' Cara Buckley tweeted that a man took off with the statue, but was stopped by a photographer for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.

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An oral history of that insane Oscars fuck-up from last year

It’s been a year since the infamous Oscars broadcast in which La La Land was briefly crowned Best Picture before it was revealed that Moonlight was actually the real winner. The Hollywood Reporter has put together a really fascinating oral history of the entire night, which includes some great details, like how Warren Beatty literally held the envelopes hostage to ensure he wasn’t incorrectly blamed for the snafu. Here’s an excerpt:

LISA TABACK, Awards consultant, worked on both La La Land and Moonlight campaigns I went backstage, and I see a security guard with Warren Beatty. Warren is really tall, and he was holding his arm up as high as he could—which must be about seven and a half feet off the ground—because in his hand was the envelopes. He was saying into the phone, I believe to his wife, “I’m not giving it up to anybody!” It was dead quiet.

ANNETTE BENING, Actress, wife of Warren Beatty My impulse was to call him right away. And I did. And he picked up the phone. And I said, “Oh my God. You did a great job, but what happened?!” And he said, “I have the envelopes, and I’m not giving them to anyone!”

MARA BUXBAUM, Publicist, guest of Casey Affleck I was backstage with Casey and there was a logjam by the elevator. I don’t know if it was the [PricewaterhouseCoopers the accounting firm] people, but they were trying to get the envelopes from Warren, and he was like, “No, I need to make sure that everybody knows what this envelope says.” Warren is really smart, and he’s the first to be careful for new narratives to take over, so he would not let go of the envelopes.

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The Oscars was more proof that we're living in a simulation

The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik considers whether the bizarre ending of the Oscars could have been another of many recent (ahem) glitches in the simulation we're living in. From The New Yorker:

This wasn’t just a minor kerfuffle. This was a major malfunction. Trump cannot be President—forgetting all the bounds of ideology, no one vaguely like him has ever existed in the long list of Presidents, good, bad, and indifferent, no one remotely as oafish or as crude or as obviously unfit. People don’t say “Grab ’em by the pussy” and get elected President. Can’t happen. In the same way, while there have been Oscar controversies before—tie votes and rejected trophies—never before has there been an occasion when the entirely wrong movie was given the award, the speeches delivered, and then another movie put in its place. That doesn’t happen. Ever.

And so both of these bizarre events put one in mind of a simple but arresting thesis: that we are living in the Matrix, and something has gone wrong with the controllers. This idea was, I’m told, put forward first and most forcibly by the N.Y.U. philosopher David Chalmers: what is happening lately, he says, is support for the hypothesis that we are living in a computer simulation and that something has recently gone haywire within it. The people or machines or aliens who are supposed to be running our lives are having some kind of breakdown. There’s a glitch, and we are in it.

Once this insight is offered, it must be said, everything else begins to fall in order.

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Montage of every Best Cinematography Oscar-winning film

Race through some of the most iconic shots in film history with this lovely tribute to the art of cinematography. Read the rest

Watch these celebrities swap faces with Leonardo DiCaprio after Oscars win

When Vanity Fair asked a bunch of celebrities at the Oscars to “swap faces with Leo DeCaprio” with the MSQRD app, their responses were pretty funny. Larry David's was very Larry David. “No.”

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Video of Hollywood celebs "refusing to clap" for winner goes viral [Updated: claps]

This remarkable vine shows various famous Hollywoodites apparently refusing to applaud Jenny Beavan, the costume designer from Mad Max: Fury Road, who won an Oscar for her work last night. One suggestion is that it's because she wore a leather jacket, in keeping with the movie's fashion vibe—but how would they know until she was already walking past them?

"I've seen subtler reactions from a cartoon wolf," writes Nate Jones.

Update: @anyabike points to a longer clip that shows more nuanced and positive reactions, with clapstainers commencing clapping after the point the vine ends.

Some suggest they realized they were on camera, but to my mind this is needlessly outraged? Maybe they're all just tired after hours of Oscaring and have already starting hitting the "golf claps when people hit the stage" point. If nothing else, Cartoon Wolf Iñárritu laughing at her jacket design suggests he isn't the stick in the mud the vine depicts. Read the rest

The intensity of live TV editing of the Oscars in 1996

I don't know if things have changed much in 20 years, but this behind-the-scenes glimpse of the guy in charge of live editing the Oscars in 1996 is fascinating. I'd rather watch him than the stars. Read the rest

Between Two Ferns, Oscars edition

Zach Galafianakis' Oscars coverage is pretty much all I want to watch.

Allow the Oscars to explain why we should never, ever e-vote in a national election

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tried experimenting with electronic voting this year, to disastrous results (e.g., getting logged out if your password isn't strong enough, then waiting for the mail to deliver a new one -- after a phone call to customer service). Considering how the Oscars can barely get its act together to find out who they want to nominate (let alone win), just imagine how effective e-voting would be for a political election, a national one, that determined who runs the country. Hint: Not at all effective. In any way. At all. Let's never speak of this again. (via Moviefone) Read the rest

Oscar's first round of Best Original Song contenders: fixing last year's mistakes

Adele's Bond theme will have a shot at Oscar this year, along with many others competing under new rules.

The Simpsons might win an Oscar, heavy on the "might"

While it's probably a long shot, a four-minute Simpsons short is currently included on the list of ten (narrowed down from 56) animated shorts that are eligible for an Oscar this year. Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare" was shown (in 3D) before Ice Age: Continental Drift this past summer and featured a fierce battle between the youngest Simpson and Baby Gerald. Written by James L. Brooks and Matt Groening, The Longest Daycare's possible nod could be sweet, sweet payback for The Simpsons Movie being shut out for Best Animated Feature back in 2008. But, as I said, it might be a long-shot; other nominees include Disney's Paperman (currently being shown before Wreck-It-Ralph), Minkyu Lee's Adam and Dog, PES' Fresh Guacamole, and Raul Garcia's The Fall of the House of Usher, which is narrated by Sir Christopher Lee. The Wrap has the complete list of the ten final contenders, and the nominees will be announced January 10. (via Splitsider) Read the rest

Seth MacFarlane tapped for the Oscars

Very groovy news coming through the entertainment pipeline this morning as we find out who will host the Oscars: Seth MacFarlane! The Family Guy and American Dad creator, who just opened up Saturday Night Live's new season with a bang, has been chosen to host the next Academy Awards telecast early next year. Hopefully, he will show up to rehearsal this time! (video link)

And speaking of Saturday Night Live, they have announced their October lineup of hosts and musical guests: This Saturday, October 6 will be Daniel Craig with musical guest Muse, October 13 will be Christina Applegate -- coming back for her second time as host -- with musical guest Passion Pit, and October 20 will welcome Bruno Mars, who will do double duty as host and musical guest. (That would have been such a great Digital Short, so can Andy Samberg and Co. please come back to do just one? If anyone knows the correct person to bribe, please let me know.)

Seth MacFarlane's Big News [Oscars on YouTube]

Saturday Night Live's Backstage Blog Read the rest

Maru, internet-famous cat, goes to the 2012 Oscars

Everyone's favorite internet cat goes to the Academy Awards. Well, in poster form. You can't buy the posters, or the cat, but you can buy the book. More about the legend in this previous Boing Boing post.

(Cheezburger via Swintons via Bricorama via @antderosa) Read the rest

Pirating the Oscars: 2011 edition

Andy Baio has continued his excellent annual series, "Pirating the Oscars," which tracks each year's Oscar nominee's appearance on file-sharing networks, and keeps statistics on the method by which each nominee is captured and uploaded (camcordered, ripped from screener/pre-release cut, ripped from commercial DVD, etc). Because Andy does these stats on an annual basis, we get a longitudinal view into the way that file-sharing is changing in response to the studios' countermeasures, and in response to new technologies in general.
* This year, three films were leaked online within a day of their theatrical release -- Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland, and Harry Potter.

* The Rabbit Hole screener was leaked online eight days before its theatrical release, while Winter's Bone [ed: excellent film, but don't make the mistake I made -- it's not a date-night kind of movie!] was the slowest to leak online (so far) at 125 days after its theatrical release.

* Oscar-nominated films tend to get released late in the year, but how late? More nominated films have been released on December 25 than any other day, but the median date is October 20.

* For the first year, the first high-quality leak of a film -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- was a PPV rip, most likely from a hotel's new movie releases on pay-per-view.

* Retail Blu-Ray rips are now frequently being leaked online now before retail DVDs, so I've modified the "Retail DVD" column to include them.

Pirating the 2011 Oscars

Google Spreadsheet  Phones confiscated at preview screenings: whose hypothetical risk ... Read the rest