Inside the $80,000 ‘Everyone Wins’ Oscar gift bag

The day after the Academy Awards ceremony, 21 lucky losers will receive gift bags made by Distinctive Assets, a company founded by the enthusiastic Lash Fary– a man sometimes referred to as “The Gift Fairy.”  They call them the “Everyone Wins” gift bags, though in truth, only the host– who this year is Ellen Degeneres– and the 20 Oscar-nominated directors, actors and actresses who don’t take home a statue get the bags (so not exactly everyone wins). This year they’re worth $80,000 each. (Note: the median income for a U.S. household last year was just over $50,000.)

The companies who put their products in the bags pay Distinctive Assets to be part of the experience. In this era of ad-skipping, a tweet from a celebrity or a photo of an Oscar-nominated actress in your T-shirt can go a long way. (It should be noted that these gift bags are not in any way associated with any official Oscar® Bag or with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences– A.M.P.A.S®. The organization that puts on the Oscars stopped with gift bags a number of years ago.)

Last week the gift bag contents were on display at Gizara Studio — a Venice Art Studio that also put  a $5,000 gift certificate in each bag with which the recipients can choose a piece of art.

Mace, The O Shot, and lollipops (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

These bags are packed: Hair care products, jewelry, handbags, and wine and, oh yeah, something called “The O Shot,” which Fary says is a “vaginal injection that goes into the tissue meant to optimize the female orgasm.” (The men will receive gift certificates for hair transplant surgery.)

Each bag also has a $50 bottle of Canadian maple syrup, and pepper spray “guns”– hot pink for the women and camouflage print for the men. “So if they are Jennifer Lawrence and the paparazzi is handling them a little too much they can whip out their pepper spray guns and feel very safe and secure,” says Fary.

Because Oscar host Ellen Degeneres is a huge animal lover, each bag has an ample supply of Halo pet food– Degeneres’ own line– and for each bag given, she will donate 10,000 meals to animal shelters around the country.

A-listers will also be getting Ayurvedic lollipops and gift certificates for lavish trips to Japan, Hawaii, Canada, Las Vegas, and Mexico, aerial lessons, silk neckties, $750 high heels, vodka, chocolate, and to cap it all off… condoms.

Clearly, this is no regular party bag.  But do celebrities really use all this stuff?

Fary says, “I’m a big fan of regifting. I think a lot of people bring up regifting and they’ll like make little snide remarks on blogs and stuff saying, ‘Oh they’re just going to give that to their maid anyway.’ I’m like that’s fine! I think it’s really cool if somebody likes something enough to share it with people in their lives. And so we do put things in knowing that they’re going to regift but we get feedback from talent saying that’s one of their favorite things about gift bags… that’s all part of the fun of being a celebrity is sharing the spoils of the game.”

Darby Maloney produces KCRW’s The Business. Follow her @DarbyKCRW