Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Fever and the Need To Be Cool

No doubt as I type this post, people all over the US and perhaps all over the world as well, are sitting down to watch the Oscars, the night when Hollywood comes out to salute itself and let everyone else in on how the stars act, what they wear, and who they think will and should win. Don't get me wrong, I love the Oscars, and while I don't generally watch them, it's fun to see which actors/technicians and films walk away with awards and why.

This year however, as irony would have it, I got a little different look at the awards that fit in quite nicely with my little project here. A friend of mine has been nominated for an award and as a result I was allowed a little inside look at the goings on beforehand, namely, the hospitality suites.

For those of you who aren't in "the industry" as So Calers call it, hospitality suites are set up all over town the week before the Oscars and their sole purpose is to put expensive stuff in the hands of Nominees in the hopes that they will where/use them, and we, the unsuspecting public, will want to wear/use them so that we can be like them.

I only went to one suite as it was more than i could handle, but here's how it went. We showed up at the Lux hotel on Rodeo Drive and headed up to the Penthouse where about 12 tables were set up, each with a different designer. I don't really know much about these things, but there was a designer jean company, Cartier watches, designer hand bags, a spa in the back where you could get "oxidized" and a manicure, coffee bars, champagne bars, three seperate designer jewelry tables, and a ton of other stuff.

The nominee (and his friends mind you) walk around and express interest in something and if they like something, the folks behind the table work out getting it to them for the Oscars (sometimes to use, sometimes to keep). It's really quite amazing. Here are a few of the tables.

Truly amazing stuff. Of course for most of us, this stuff was off limits except for looking, as they all want these things to be going to the Academy Awards, not Uncle Bens Bean Cookoff. Fear not though, for everyone else (I declined but had to argue out of it) recieved bags with the goodies below. I'd guestimate that they were worth about $700-$800 at least. Here's what they had:

This is everything in the bag. Some closeups of favorites below.

This was one of the odder things they had. I forget what it's called but we were very specifically shown it and told that this is a mens cologne that was made specifically for one of the passengers on the Titanic and is quite expensive. Apparently smelling like a drowning victim is quite in vogue these days.

A really impressive amount of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (whihc I have to admit I ate a few handfuls of while we were there cuz they had them out in bowls).

Fiji water, facial cream and a Porsche gift certificate with a map of LA inside. The map folded out pretty cool and much to many nominees surprise I'm sure, illustrated that there is indeed a subway system here.

T-shirts, gift certificates for designer jeans, facial cream, candles, spa gift certificates, Porsche driving gloves, nail polish, and a weird gold thing that i couldn't figure out what it was.

G String underwear (of course), coffee, cocoa, hand cream, a weird pink alcoholic drink, and candy.

And everybody's favorite in the orange box, a wristwatch that is basically a small computer. Video, mp3, phone, appointments, web, you name it. I asked the guy at that table what they retial for and he told me they were about $400. Amazing.

Now if i sound off on all of this, let me explain a bit. The companies are merely doing business because what they really want is for Tom Hanks to use their wristwatch in one picture and it's been worth it. The hotel is merely renting out the space and doing business. The nominees are merely accepting gifts that others want to give them (and I should note that after hitting this suite, his first, my friend declined to go to any others as it disgusted him quite a bit). They do have a choice, and many don't do this at all, but we all like free stuff right.

I guess what bugs me is the overall transparency of how all of this, the Oscars, TV, Movies, you name it, is designed to make all of us (the little people) feel less good about ourselves unless we have the same stuff that these nominees have. It's the propagation of STUFF that get's to me. Keep in mind, this was only one of about ten or fifteen that were going on, and doesn't even take into account all of the gift bags that everyone will get tonight.

Amazing. Makes you wonder why things are the way they are huh, or maybe, it better explains it.

Enjoy The Oscars


1 comment:

here I am! said...

The stuff is called Swag and there is even a web page devoted to it. Hey if you were a real top level A lister you would ahve gotten Swag bags worth thousands. This got so outa hand that now you have to claim the bags on your taxes..A listers only.
Also called "Conspicuous Consumption" kinda sickening.