Oscar winner Viola Davis enjoys the 2018 GBK Annual Pre-Oscar Celebrity Lounge held in Beverly Hills on March 2-3, 2018. Photo courtesy GBK.
By Jenny Peters
When it comes to going all out during the Oscars, nobody does it quite like Gavin Keilly and his GBK Productions company. This 2018 Oscar season the gifting suite impresario pulled out all the stops and the stars really loved it.
The 2018 GBK Annual Pre-Oscar Celebrity Lounge happened March 2-3 in the heart of Beverly Hills, on Rodeo Drive at the elegant, three-story St. Supery Winery Tasting Room. Big stars streamed through the doors, to be greeted by winemaker Michael Sholz, who offered tastes of his lovely Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon to start the fun of visiting a plethora of interesting people with products on offer.
The gifting suite was chockablock with Oscar luminaries, both recent winners like Viola Davis, who also presented at the 90th Academy Awards on March 4, to Susan Sarandon, who took home the Best Actress prize back in 1996 and has been nominated four other times. Both women were especially enamored of the gorgeous Diamonds International/Tanzanite International jewelry on display; and Sarandon obviously enjoyed the luscious Bouvery LC dark chocolate vodka that went down like a dream, comes in a beautiful bottle and costs $40 for 375ml (better buy two, this stuff is liquid decadence).
Plenty of 2018 Oscar nominees made the rounds, too, including Doug Jones, who stars as the sea creature in “The Shape of Water,” the film that eventually won Best Picture. He was fascinated by the stylish General Electric C by GE Sol circular light, which illuminates a room with various lighting hues and features an Amazon Alexa connection as well. We’ll admit it, that thing is pretty damn cool.
Composer Alexandre Desplat, winner of two Oscars and honored with a total of nine nominations, enjoyed the Italian delicacies cooked up by Il Palato, the lounge’s presenting sponsor. With everything from risotto balls and lasagna to the best panettone you’ve ever tasted, this international dining club filled up everyone’s tummies and offered lucky stars a complete private dinner for 16 people, cooked right in their homes. “Star Wars” favorite Mark Hamill might need to invite a few Wookies to help him eat everything that the talented chefs at Il Palato cook up, but he seemed ready for that challenge.
“Star Wars” might describe one of the other companies at the GBK Pre-Oscar Celebrity Lounge, as My Sky Moment offered printouts suitable for framing of the night sky on the exact moment of a momentous life occasion. We picked our birthday, but bet that stars like Wes Studi, Thora Birch and Tom Arnold might have commemorated the date of the first job they ever got in Hollywood.
As always, The Artisan Group was one of the most in-demand stops at the GBK lounge. The group, a consortium of artisanal artists, craftspeople and other creative times, gifted a bag full of homemade products ranging from Fizz Candy Jewelry to all-natural shaving products from Three Sisters Apothecary. There were candles, a perfume-blending kit [by Mixify Beauty] and more inside that big black bag.
For celebs like ex-NBA pro basketball player and current L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who might just have a few nagging aches and pains at this point, the coMra Palm device was a really interesting offering. Designed to ease pain with laser technology, the handheld device also repairs injured tissue and nerves. Seriously, if this thing actually works, it’s a real godsend for anyone in pain! Also looking to help celebs stay healthy was Shapa, a modern scale that uses an app to motivate you toward better lifestyle choices, without that pesky weight readout every morning. Instead, you stand on it and it steers you toward healthier living via the app.
Other fun products enjoyed by celebs like “Black-ish” lead Anthony Anderson, singer Christina Milian, composer Carter Burwell and Olympic gold medalist Arielle Gold were Woodhouse Spa in Minnesota, Texere Silk, Surf Air, Swanky Retreats Magazine and Woodchuck USA, who gifted customized wooden items.
And the most sublime gift given out was a decadent one: John Kelly Chocolates, that award-winning chocolatier located right in Los Angeles, handed out small boxes of the most elegant, delicious handmade chocolate you’ve ever tasted. We wonder how many of the super-slim stars actually ate those?