Grammy gift bags worth $20k

Award shows have always lavished celebrities who appear at their ceremonies with gifts. But judging by the gift bags the lined up for the stars of the Grammys, it’s obvious the gifts are not only getting bigger, they are getting better and better.

Steve Stein of Hollywood Connection, a company that puts lavish gift bags together for awards shows, joked that it’s just one of those instances where the rich get richer.

For the 44th annual Grammy Awards, which will take place Feb. 27 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, stars will treated to a package worth between $15,000 and $20,000.

Stars will receive a Blackberry two-way pager, DKNY jeans, a two-night stay at any Ian Schrager hotel, a 13-inch Philips television, Lalique rings and Casio digital camera watches. Let’s not forget the mints and deodorant.

At January’s American Music Awards, performers and presenters got digital cameras and electric scooters.

The AMAs also threw in a few extras for more prestigious guests like Michael Jackson, who got extra scooters–perhaps for his inner child. Admitted Starbucks addict Britney Spears also received an extra package with Starbucks products.

But the most valuable perk at the AMAs was undoubtedly a year’s pass allowing stars and nine members of their entourage to eat free at the fast-food Mexican chain Baja Fresh. If used every day, the value could reach $30,000.

According to Stein, there have already been five celebrity sightings of stars using the VIP fast-food pass.

Presenters at the Golden Globes received two first-class plane tickets, a $250 bottle stopper, a certificate to a day spa, a customized sculpture, Microsoft’s X-box game system and his-and-hers luxury watches worth about $1,300 each.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the Golden Globes, learned all too well the importance of doling out gifts to the stars rather than receiving them.

In 1993 there were reports that voting members received all-expenses-paid junkets to New York in exchange for votes for Scent of a Woman.

The Globes came under scrutiny for their policy on promotional gifts again in 1999 after voting members received expensive Coach watches sent by USA Films on Sharon Stone‘s behalf. (Stone later received a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy for USA Film’s The Muse).

While everyone knows that Tom Hanks can go out and buy a $1,300 watch if he pleases, Scott Orlin, a board member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, told the AP the gifts are a way of thanking the stars, who otherwise do not get paid for their appearance.

“There have been celebrities who come in (to the) rehearsals and say, ‘I heard about the gift bag. Where is it?'” he said. “I think everybody likes to be appreciated.”