Apparently, Oscar Nominees Will Have to Pay $63K in Taxes for Their Swag Gift Bags


Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, winners of the Best Director and Best Picture award for "Everything Everywhere All at Once", pose in the press room at the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Ovation Hollywood on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California
(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Kravitz / Getty)

When you're famous, you get a ton of free stuff.

But when someone coined the phrase "don't look a gift horse in the mouth," they clearly weren't aware of how exactly the Oscars go down.

Here's the thing: All Oscars nominees get given an extremely luxurious gift bag. This year's was put together by a company called Distinctive Assets, and was named "Everybody Wins." The concept seems to be that if you don't win a gold statuette, at least you get to go on a *checks notes* prepaid three-night trip to Canada.

But while that's kind of a nice idea to begin with, it turns out these free gifts are anything but free. According to math done by the kind people at Forbes, the 2023 gift bag—whose retail value comes in at around $126k—could incur an IRS tax bill of $46,620, and (for California residents) a state tax bill of around $16k, for a total of $63,378, i.e. more than many people's annual salary. For a bunch of gifts they probably don't even want anyway. It's like if those tote bags and bouncy balls university student clubs give you turned out to be taxable income, but fancy.

That's one gift horse recipients would have done well to look squarely in the mouth, if you ask me.

Ironically, the founder of Distinctive Assets said in a press release, "While this gift bag does, as always, have an impressive value, that is neither our focus nor goal. This is a straightforward win/win.

"These nominees are in a unique position to help participating brands immeasurably by simply wearing, using and talking about these products. Marketing and advertising can and must co-exist with the ever-present reporting of bad news globally. This isn't frivolity; it is basic economics."

Anyway, if you'd like to determine for yourself whether the contents of the "Everybody Wins" bag are worth shelling out the price of a Range Rover for, here are a few of the items that were in it: a vacation on an Italian island, but also microwave popcorn kernels from Opopop; facial rejuvenation procedures from Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich, but also C60 Sexy edible massage oil. ???

I highly recommend checking out the full list, if you have a few minutes.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.