The 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday will have several changes in place due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But some things never change, like the lavish gifting of Hollywood celebrities during awards season.
Gifting suites and swag bags serve as a way for small businesses to get their product or service in the hands of A-list talent who can potentially elevate their brand with instant exposure. The concept of gifting celebrities dates back to the 1990s and is usually done around big awards shows like the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Primetime Emmy Awards and of course, the Oscars.
GBK Brand Bar is hosting an in-person event at the Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood. Organizers say they decided to move forward with an in-person event and take extra precautions for the guests, staff and brands. Masks are required, the brand booths are spread out, and capacity is limited to a few people at a time.
“We’re being very cautious,” GBK founder Gavin Keilly says. “We are still in Covid and we are very aware of that. So we’ve created a Covid-friendly environment. We are only having 2 celebrities here per hour and all of our staff is wearing masks. Everyone is being sanitized when they walk in.”
Oscar nominees like Viola Davis, Andra Day are expected to attend over the weekend as well as other celebrities like Anthony Anderson, musician H.E.R. and Magic Johnson.
Photos: Oscars 2021: What's Inside the Swag Suites and Gift Bags
As they walk through the event, spread out across the lobby of the La Peer Hotel and the rooftop patio, guests will be given bags stuffed with goods worth over $70,000 and meet with the brands one-on-one for a photo op.
The gifting includes a two-night trip to Fiji from Caribbean Living magazine at the private Raiwasa Resort with a dedicated staff of 12, and your own personal five-star chefs, valued at $8,000. Plus, Oscar nominees will also get a four night stay at the Sailrock Resort in Turks & Caicos, valued at $10,000.
They can jam to music from DJ Aaron Colbert who is also gifting his DJ services to celebrities. Other brands include eOn hand sanitizer, MOTEV luxury car service, SOULTOX alkaline water, movie passes from Holly.Gold, Kailo nanotech pain patches, Realm Wine, Calm diffusers by ComfyCozy, Growing Green CBD, RESET IV mobile hydration, Yassi’s Butta salve, and a full body optimization package from Beverly Hills Spine & Rehab.
Plus the stars will get limited edition prints/portraits from James Peter Henry. And a curated hand sculpture infinity box made of gold from artist Johnathan Schultz.
And let’s not forget the food. Guests will get to enjoy Chicago Stuff Pizza, OG Hot Sauce, Vice Bake Shop, local fruits and vegetables from The Farmers on Wheels, and dinner for two at The Gastro Garage inside the W Hotel.
There is also a charitable element with Goodwill of Southern California who is promoting their “Do Good, Do Goodwill” campaign to help Angelenos get back to work after the COVID crisis. And Project Ark is partnering with the World Wildlife Fund to provide an AR experience with celebrities to raise money for endangered species.
But if celebrities aren’t ready to attend this type of event in person, they can opt for a drive-thru gifting experience instead. The DPA Pre Oscars Lounge event from Nathalie Dubois-Sissoko is inviting celebrities to drive up to the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel and get their swag to go. Or they can pop into the Garden Suite for a socially distanced gifting experience with the brands.
DPA Pre Oscars Lounge guests will get luxury handbags from De Marquet, trips to Le Taha'a Island Resort & Spa and Soori Bali, health and wellness products from Maeva Wellness, Henua Organics, Mude and Nora’s Naturals and many more.
And the ECOLUXE Lounge from producer Debbie Durkin will be an invite only drive-thru experience at the Beverly Hilton. Guests will receive gifts from health and wellness, beauty and purposeful lifestyle brands to showcase the best of eco-luxury lifestyle and services.
ECOLUXE attendees will get a trip to the Garza Blanca Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mo Eyewear, Floafers shoes, RevealU skincare, Four Sigmatic Mushroom Ground Coffee, Ace Beaute cosmetics, John Paul Pet Products and much more.
If celebrities can’t commit to a drive thru experience, then they can still get their swag on with Distinctive Assets “Everyone Wins” nominee gift bag. Founder Lash Fary says this year's gift list features brands who embrace diversity, inclusion, health and philanthropy. Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and more will all get the “Everybody Wins” gift bag delivered to their door via Postmates.
The Distinctive Assets swag bag includes the PETA emergency hammer to save dogs trapped in hot cars, "Change-Maker Village," an anti-racist children's book from Once Upon a Blume, LOCI premium vegan sneakers, and The Brain Sensing Headband from Muse S.
Other items include beauty and body products from Hotsy Totsy Haus, Miage Transformative Skincare, British M Annatto Hair Oil, and wellness products such as Elixinol Good Night CBD capsules, SalTerrae broad-spectrum Hemp Intimate Oils, and a Taiyi Institute sound acupuncture device.
It’s also important to note that none of these gifting suites or gift bags are directly affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. A.M.P.A.S. or the Oscars. They are independent companies that provide gifting opportunities to celebrities.
The Academy Awards will be held on April 25, 5 p.m. on ABC.