Speed Reads

2017 Oscars

This is what's inside the unofficial and slightly controversial Oscar swag bag

Mel Gibson lost the Oscar for Best Director and Meryl Streep didn't win Best Actress, but they can at least cry into their swag bags, filled with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of random items.

This year's Oscars host, Jimmy Kimmel, and each of the nominees in the actor, actress, supporting actor and actress, and director categories received gift bags put together by Lash Fary. They were given so many products that they actually didn't come in bags — they were crammed into two large pieces of luggage. The most expensive retail item included was the $599 Oomi Intelligent Smart Home, the Los Angeles Times reports, which allows the A-listers to control their lights and security systems at home through an app. They also were gifted trips to Hawaii, Italy, Northern California, and the Golden Door spa; customizable Crayola crayons; an electric scooter; and a CPR kit.

None of this is sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and last year they sued Fary, alleging trademark infringement. Fary told the Times he makes it clear his gift bags, distributed by Distinctive Assets, are not affiliated with the Academy. He also revealed that only about 10 percent of nominees ever redeem the trip vouchers — in 2009, for example, Viola Davis, then nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category, received a free African safari, Fary said, and she calls him every year for an extension. This is a marketing expense for the companies that participate, he said, as "we're not doing this as philanthropy. One of the questions I often get is, why are we gifting people who are rich and famous? Well, a gift doesn't have anything to do with a person's means or their bank account. And it's not exactly free, because the brands get to leverage the celebrities' names."