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The Oscars

It's a wrap -- now time to unwrap those parting gifts

March 01, 2004|Ann Conway

After the award winners, it has become the Motion Picture Academy's most guarded secret: the contents of the official Oscar Gift Basket, given to presenters and performers. "It's a gift," an insider observed. "They don't want to spoil the surprise."

But last week, gift purveyors -- and their publicists -- were told they could talk about the baskets, the value of which has been estimated at up to $100,000 each, while the academy remained mum. Soon, circuits were crisping:

A certificate for a $6,000 Samsung 43" TV with Voom HD

satellite programming subscription.

A three-night stay at the Palmilla Resort in Los Cabos

($1,400 per night).

Two nights at the Carlyle Hotel in New York ($2,000).

Three days at the Opus Hotel in Vancouver ($8,000).

A $9,000 vacation in a luxury residence provided by Exclusive Resorts.

A certificate from Morton's steakhouse ($1,500)

A pair of Swarovski Hush Puppies ($500)

A Z Electric Scooter ($250)

A diamond pendant from Peace and Love Jewelry

by Nancy Davis ($500).

A certificate for a $500 Krups Novo espresso set was also selected by the basket's coordinator, Sequoia Productions, but was yanked at the last minute because news of its inclusion appeared prematurely in US Magazine. No problem: Krups sent out the certificates for the set, which included demitasse cups and saucers, to best actor and actress nominees.

Today, Distinctive Assets, a company that coordinates gift bags for the Grammys, Tonys and MTV Movie Awards, will drop off its version of an Oscar basket, a bag of swag worth $46,000, to Academy Award losers in the six major categories. Included in the mix: a $32,000 package from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, including a $5,000 shopping spree. "We want them to feel appreciated in the wake of their disappointment," said company founder Lash Fary, who explained that swag is an "acronym for Sealed With a Gift."

-- Ann Conway

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