(photo credit: REUTERS)
If you happen to spot Jennifer Lawrence packing mud on her body at the Dead Sea or Matt Damon dining out at a trendy Jaffa eatery in the coming months, don’t rub your eyes.
It’s just that they and all the other Oscar nominees in the acting and directing categories at this month’s Academy Awards will be given a 10-day, first-class trip to Israel valued at $55,000, included among other goodies in their $200,000 gift bag.
In addition to their Mediterranean escape at five-star hotels with likely full bodyguard protection, nominees like Cate Blanchett and Leonardo DiCaprio (who has already received the bodyguard treatment on a previous visit with then-girlfriend Bar Refaeli), will receive swag like a 15-day walking tour of Japan ($45,000), a laser skin-tightening procedure ($5,500) and a lifetime supply of skin creams from Lizora ($31,000), according to a press release from Distinctive Assets, the company that puts together the luxurious gift bags.
According to Mark Feldman, the CEO of popular travel agency Ziontours in Jerusalem, the $55,000 price tag for two is a little steep, even with the royal treatment.
“Let’s say $5,000 is the price for a business class ticket from LA. If they stay in a suite at a 5 star Hotel, be it the King David and Tel Aviv Hilton for $350 per person ($700 a night), it’s another $3,500. So we’re now at $17,000, leaving $38,000 to lavish on them during their stay,” he said.
“For that money it would have to include daily spas, helicopter flights throughout the country, gourmet meals every night, VIP tours at every tourism site in the country with the heads of those sites, from a personal tour of the Israel Museum, to a world class archeologist personally escorting them on Masada.”
Whether the A-listers take advantage of their trip to Israel or donate the gift to a friend or family member will depend on their schedule and desire to visit. It’s not like they couldn’t have come before, for a lot less outlay than $55,000. But, if they walk away winners at the February 28 ceremony in Los Angeles, they probably won’t have time to enjoy all that bounty – except for the skin cream and laser treatment.