Who's Guiding the 2012 Oscar Campaigns

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

This year's race is in its formative stages; it won't begin in earnest until September's Toronto festival gets under way. But the jockeying is beginning. While some studios rely on in-house strategists, others turn to independent publicists and consultants, like those listed below, to win the Academy's favor. They will all tell you the goal is simple: Just make sure your winning picture gets seen, and it will speak for itself. But they sure do a lot of whispering behind the scenes, from film debuts in Telluride and Venice to filmmaker Q&As staged for the guilds. When they are not alternately cajoling or berating awards bloggers, or lining up a critically timed appearance on 60 Minutes, Charlie Rose or even Leno, they are angling for prizes from the Hollywood Film Festival or tributes at the Palm Springs and Santa Barbara festivals. Of course, they anxiously attend the early-morning Academy nomination announcements, and when the big night finally rolls around, they will be there on the red carpet, assuaging their nominees' nerves.

TONY ANGELLOTTI

  • 2010 Client: A veteran on the scene, he works year-round for Universal's live-action and Disney/Pixar's animated movies and brought home two Oscars last year for Toy Story 3.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: Animation contender Cars 2 is one of the films he is positioning at the starting line.

DONNA DANIELS

  • 2010 Client: Based in New York, she helped Animal Kingdom's Jacki Weaver secure a nom.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method and Angelina Jolie's directorial effort In the Land of Blood and Honey.

KAREN FRIED

  • 2010 Client: Looking after Focus Features' entries, she nurtured Golden Globe winner The Kids Are All Right.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: Hopefuls include Beginners, with Christopher Plummer's affecting performance; Hannah; Pariah; One Day; and the Colin Firth starrer Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

FLO GRACE

  • 2010 Client: Last year as a Sony consultant, she was part of the team that shepherded The Social Network through the awards-season marathon.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: Currently in the process of meeting with potential clients before deciding which team to support.

MELODY KORENBROT

  • 2010 Client: As Sony Pictures Classics' regular L.A.-based consultant, she had her hands full with foreign-language nominees Incendies and eventual winner In a Better World as well as best doc victor Inside Job, directed by Charles Ferguson.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: SPC will be fielding another full house with titles that include Midnight in Paris and A Dangerous Method, Jeff Nichols' Take Shelter, Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In and Roman Polanski's Carnage.

FREDELL POGODIN

  • 2010 Client: A specialist in winning attention for documentaries and foreign films, she championed Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem, and the Afghanistan-set war doc Restrepo.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: In the case of foreign-language films, individual countries must first submit their entries, a process that's just starting to take place.

TERRY PRESS

  • 2010 Client: The former marketing chief at DreamWorks focused all her attention on promoting the virtues of The Social Network.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: She's waiting for the race to take shape before making any claims on behalf of the titles with which she expects to be involved.

MICHELE ROBERTSON

  • 2010 Client: Repping Warner Bros.' interests, she was on hand as Christopher Nolan's Inception picked up four Oscars.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: The studio is planning a major awards push for the climactic Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 while also offering Academy voters Clint Eastwood's latest, J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.

LISA TABACK

  • 2010 Client: She was part of the regal march of The King's Speech to a best picture win while also working on behalf of Blue Valentine, Winter's Bone and Biutiful.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: She'll be bringing George Clooney's latest directorial effort, The Ides of March, to Toronto while also talking up Luc Besson's The Lady, starring Michelle Yeoh, and the Weinstein Co.'s silent comedy The Artist, which drew enthusiastic applause in Cannes.

DAWN TAUBIN

  • 2010 Client: The former head of marketing at Warner Bros. and now a tenured faculty member at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, she's new to the consultant ranks.
  • Likely 2011 Clients: Teaming up with DreamWorks, she'll be championing The Help, which is already triggering buzz, along with Steven Spielberg's upcoming War Horse.
 
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