Text by Keith Rutowski; Photograph courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions
In many ways, the 81st Annual Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday (February 22) will be much like every other year. Tear-streaked acceptance speeches will be swapped for gold statues, and million-dollar smiles will be flashed free of charge. The difference is that this year none of the major nominees will walk away empty-handed, and perhaps the best side to be on is the losing one.
That’s because Lindblad Expeditions, a tour operator who happens to be a National Geographic partner (read a company profile), will host the non-winning nominees in the Galápagos, a picaresque setting prime for the silver screen. But they won’t be shooting a film; the trip is included as part of the “Everybody Wins at the Oscars!” gift bag, which is independently produced and distributed by Distinctive Assets, a niche marketing company specializing in the entertainment industry.
Nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, as well as host Hugh Jackman, will all receive the gift bags, entitling them to a ten-day trip in the land of blue-footed boobies and ancient tortoises. If the destination were not 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the paparazzi might be buzzing about the archipelago, undoubtedly enraging environmentalists.
But just think of the possibilities: Sean Penn talking natural selection with an onboard naturalist (Into the Wild 2, anyone?); Meryl Streep in a kayak, deftly maneuvering her way along volcanic shoreline; Mickey Rourke’s blonde, beach-ready locks blowing in the ocean breeze. Personally, I like to envision P.S. Hoffman dressed as Doubt's Father Flynn, presiding over Brad and Angelina’s vow renewals.
There won’t be a red carpet, and the nominees will have to share the spotlight with iguanas, sea lions, and penguins, but it’s a small price to pay for a trip of a lifetime—even for a Hollywood star.
- Nat Geo Expeditions