By Alicia Powell
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An Oscar nomination can open doors to bigger roles and higher pay. This year, it also comes with a cruise on a luxury yacht, cosmetic surgery, and a personal matchmaking service in a gift bag worth more than $225,000.
The gift bag, which is not affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be sent to all 20 acting nominees and the five men nominated for best director, Distinctive Assets, the Los Angeles-based company behind the goodie bags, said on Friday.
"It's the highest value we've ever put together," said Distinctive Assets founder Lash Fary, who has been assembling the bags for 18 years.
This year's top swag includes a $78,000, 12-day yacht cruise; $20,000 of facial rejuvenation treatments; and $20,000 in matchmaking services.
The nearly 80 items also include clothing, gadgets and a 24-carat gold-plated vape pen that Fary said was selected with Leonardo DiCaprio in mind. Photos of DiCaprio vaping a few years ago helped popularize the trend
More than a dozen items have philanthropic elements, including a book that empowers young girls and a cleanser that supports showers for the homeless.
Fary said the bags aren't given based on need, but appreciation.
"This is an acknowledgment of an amazing performance that they put in and, for many of them, a lifetime of amazing performances. So, you're never too rich or famous to outgrow gratitude," he said.
Because Fary is not officially connected to the academy he's allowed creative freedom with what's included and its recipients.
"I only give this to the top acting and directing nominees. So, because we're only gifting about 25 people, that means I get the most insanely priced things," he said.
It's also a chance for brands to be associated with high-profile celebrities.
"This is a business endeavor. This is about the promotion. This is about products connecting their services and their wares with the biggest trendsetters in the world," Fary said.
Each bag is delivered directly to the nominees during the week leading up to the Oscars on Sunday.
(Reporting by Alicia Powell; editing by Jill Serjeant and Jonathan Oatis)