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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 14:57 GMT
Delving into the Oscars goody bag

By Michael Osborn
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Oscars gift basket
A vision of how big and laden with presents this year's Oscars 'goody bag' is likely to be
You might assume that the biggest prize you can carry off from the Oscars is one of those famous and coveted golden statuettes.

But imagine being the recipient of a so-called "goody bag", groaning with a surfeit of luxurious gifts - who needs an Academy Award?

The convention is for Oscar nominees and award presenters to receive a treasure chest of goodies for their pains.

In 2003, it wasn't so much a neat little goody bag, but a weighty wicker basket containing a cool $20,000 (10,855) worth of items, including mobile phones, cameras, designer clothes and jewellery.

The star recipients required a couple of strong men to heave it into the boots of their cars.

Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen is no stranger to the Oscars, and was impressed by his gift haul.

"They're the most wonderful goodies. They keep you going for a year," says the Academy Award nominee.

A SELECTION OF UNUSUAL GIFTS FROM THE OSCAR GOODY HAUL
Steakhouse dinner for 10 plus a set of steak knives
Mattress (any size)
Vegetable and soya candle
Truffles in a crystal vase
Designer shoes (presented separately)
A jewel-encrusted set of ladies' lingerie
"I got two watches - one with 170 diamonds. A huge video instrument game, which I gave to the driver. Lots of goodies to eat and pamper yourself with. And earrings?! Amazing!"

Everyone loves to get something for free, and the Oscars booty haul has to be the ultimate in getting a whole lot of stuff for nothing.

If you fancy a bottle of fine champagne, a chocolate body wrap or a stay at a sun-kissed spa resort, then it's likely your prayers will be answered courtesy of the Oscar freebie.

Arguably a teeth-whitening session or the use of a luxury car is the last thing the cream of Hollywood need - because they've already got them.

Sir Ian McKellen
They're the most wonderful goodies. They keep you going for a year
Academy Award nominee Sir Ian McKellen on his Oscars gift box

And the biggest celebrities have goodies winging their way to them on a regular basis, not just at Oscar time.

For the people whose logo becomes attached to a celebrity and the biggest film event on the planet, the rewards can be rich - which is why the gift basket bulges.

Utter the word "Oscar", and there will be no shortage of manufacturers clamouring to throw their wares into the hamper for some very lucrative product placement.

Last year's Oscars ceremony was supposed to be a pared-down event because of the conflict in Iraq.

While there may have been less glitz on the red carpet, the infamous goody baskets were still being loaded up into limousines and was no less luxurious.

The war would have seemed a million miles away with tresses lathered up with truffle and champagne shampoo while fingers fiddled with a brand new personal organiser.

And how about waving away airline food and having a freshly-cooked gourmet meal delivered to your flight?

Perhaps Sir Ian McKellen had the right idea by giving some of his free gifts away, and to someone who would appreciate a new gadget or gemstone.

Designer wristwatches are often thrown into the Oscars gift basket

We can feign outrage, but we all love the idea of being invited somewhere glamorous and being handed a fistful of lovely loot.

But a hint of jealousy can creep in when we realise that none of us are likely to get an Oscars goody bag.

Come the big night, if an unlucky person loses out on that gilded statuette, they can spoil themselves on the endless treats piled high in their consolation hamper.





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