Swag giveaways are hosted throughout Oscar weekend, where stars and semi-stars can stop by and grab free products from various sponsors and retailers. Like these stars, I got my hands on quite a bit of swag this Oscar season. Based on how lucky I was, I should have played Vegas....
It started in the fall, when I attended a free showing of 127 Hours. At the event, the organizers asked attendees to like them on Facebook, with the promise that a contest would be posted on their Facebook page the next day for their followers. I "liked" them, the contest was posted, and guess who won?
I received a bounty of gifts, including a 127 Hours poster, a customized Nalgene bottle, a carabiner (a keychain, not for actual climbing), and a t-shirt like James Franco wore in the film! I wore the t-shirt on Oscar night.
Not soon after this, the thought of free screenings appealed to me and I entered an online contest for two free passes to see The Fighter. Guess what? The film was very good.
Before I move on, I will point out that, although not at all Oscar related, I won an Amazon Kindle from my bank soon after the Fighter screening. Yes, a fully functioning, $139 value, Amazon Kindle. Again, not Oscar related, but ironically, I was watching Winter's Bone when I got the phone call that I had won. Also in early February, I was notified that the publishers of the new book, Final Jeopardy!, about the IBM computer Watson playing Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, would send me a free copy as a token of appreciation for giving them feedback on some errors on their website. But I have not yet received this book, and am getting more and more suspicious that it might not be coming at all. So, I'll count it in this haul when I actually receive it.
Fast forward a couple of months to late February, when I decide to enter a contest to win free passes to AMC's 24 Hour Oscar Marathon, where in case you couldn't guess, they show all ten Best Picture nominees back-to-back in the span of 24 hours. This prize was for 2 $50 value all-access passes to the event, plus two $20 AMC gift cards. Well....
Winner winner, chicken dinner. I had already seen all ten Best Picture nominees, but I went and enjoyed myself immensely. I also won a t-shirt of The Other Guys for answering an Oscar trivia question during the event - naming the four boxing films to be nominated for Best Picture* (answer at the end).
And along comes Oscar night. Before the show, I notice that lawrence.com is hosting an Oscar prediction contest, with the top four ballots receiving two free passes to Hollywood Theaters. Needless to say, I will be attending a free movie at Hollywood Theaters soon :-).
So yes, Oscar season has been very good to me. Although I can't estimate exactly the dollar value of my winnings, you have to figure $140 for the AMC event, $10 for the AMC event t-shirt, probably $25 for the 127 Hours prize pack, and $20 for the two Hollywood Theaters passes. Can't really put a value on the Fighter passes, because it was passes to a free event, not an event everyone else in attendance had to pay for. So, around a $200 haul, just for striving to watch the ten Best Picture nominees. Of course this means I have to top that dollar amount next year.....
EDIT: Today, March 4, 2011, three things occurred: 1) My Final Jeopardy! book arrived, so I can add that to the total. 2) I guess I got more predictions right than Roger Ebert when I entered his contest, so I won a three-month membership to mubi.com, a website that streams independent and international films, and 3) I found out tied for first in the AMC Theaters Oscar Prediction Contest, so I won 10 free movie tickets! The top prize was a year's worth of movies, so if I only got one more right, I would have won that outright! But still, 10 free tickets is a $100 value, so I'm stoked!!! I can now estimate my official haul to be worth $350 worth of loot for this Oscar season!
* the four boxing films nominated for Best Picture were Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby, and The Fighter.