The neo-noir look and stylized visuals found in ads for Dimension Films’ “Sin City” proved irresistible to movie marketers, who showered the film with four big wins during The Hollywood Reporter’s 35th annual Key Art Awards honoring excellence in film advertising.
With nine nominations, “Sin City” was the favorite going into Friday night’s Key Art ceremony, held for the third year in a row at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland. The movie, based on the graphic novels by the film’s co-director, Frank Miller, took home trophies for action adventure trailer; teaser trailer; home entertainment-consumer audiovisual; and special recognition print for character banners designed for the film.
“I’m just excited that we got a severed head into the teaser,” editor Steve Harris quipped after “Sin City: Teaser No. 1” won the teaser trailer award.
Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Syriana” and 20th Century Fox’s “Walk the Line” took home the top best-of-show prizes. And in keeping with this year’s anniversary theme for the ceremony, hosted for the second year in a row by comedian Kevin Nealon, the show featured a special competition for best poster and best trailer of the past 35 years. A panel of media and industry judges selected 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs” for poster and the blood-drenched teaser for 1980’s “The Shining” as the best trailer of the Key Art era.
A blue-ribbon panel of judges — composed of cinematographer-director Caleb Deschanel, editor Bill Goldberg, producers Lucy Fisher, Gale Anne Hurd, Laurence Mark and Douglas Wick, filmmaker Chuck Workman and Laemmle Theatres’ Bob Laemmle — chose Warners’ “Syriana” as best of show in the print category for the poster designed by the Cimarron Group. The best of show audiovisual award went to “Walk the Line: Internet Trailer One Song,” created by Trailer Park for Fox.
The two best-of-show ads were selected from the pool of winners in the event’s 29 judged categories. The “Syriana” image of a blindfolded George Clooney first won best drama poster, while “Walk the Line’s” Web spot won in the special recognition audiovisual heat.
Among motion picture companies, Lionsgate led the pack with six awards, while Warners scored five, not including best-of-show honors for the “Syriana” poster. Among vendors, both Art Machine and Trailer Park garnered five awards each, with Trailer Park also celebrating its best-of-show prize for “Walk the Line.”
More than 460 movie advertising professionals judged a record 1,423 entries. Among the 29 winners, Lionsgate’s “Lord of War” nabbed three Key Art obelisks, including best action poster. Fox racked up an additional three awards for “Walk the Line,” including best teaser poster.
Universal Pictures’ “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” scored in the comedy poster race as well as in the copy line category for the double-entendre: “The longer you wait, the harder it gets.”
The emotional highlight of the night was the presentation of the Key Art Special Recognition Award to Robert J. Dowling, former editor-in-chief and publisher of The Reporter. Dowling was saluted for his 17-year stewardship of the annual fete and dedication to raising the stature of the event and movie marketers in general.
“Bob, you set an extraordinarily high standard in all matters, including your support of this wonderful Key Art Awards,” said Tony Uphoff, publisher and president of The Reporter, who succeeded Dowling in January.
A Dowling tribute film, produced by Herzog Cowen, featured heartfelt and humorous praise from such luminaries as DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sony Pictures’ Amy Pascal, Warners’ Alan Horn and Dawn Taubin, the Walt Disney Co.’s Dick Cook and Fox Filmed Entertainment’s Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos.
“I actually did all of this so that I could get my own Key Art Award,” Dowling joked upon receiving his trophy. “The reality is, with (any Key Art honor), the award belongs to many people, and this award really is no exception.”
In celebrating Dowling’s efforts, Key Art organizers demonstrated how far the event, and the organization behind it, has evolved from its humble beginnings in 1972 as a gathering of fewer than 100 people in the backyard of Tichi Wilkerson Kassel, the late owner and publisher of The Reporter who launched the awards. This year, more than 1,300 executives and creative gurus attended the gala and afterparty.
In poking fun at the show’s traditionally long running time — this year’s event clocked in at two hours and 39 minutes — presenter Jeff Garlin of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fame joked: “I’ve been here since 5:30! … At least it’s for charity, right? No! It’s for marketing people. A whole fucking night for marketing people.”
In addition to Garlin, presenters included Penelope Ann Miller, Andy Richter, Alicia Silverstone, Paul F. Tompkins and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis. Portions of this year’s show will air on the Starz cable channel.
The show featured a send-up of an Oscar-esque dance number titled “Narrator Beauty Pageant,” featuring dancing women and top voice-over talent strutting around onstage in bathing suits. In addition, the show featured several in-show films with anniversary themes, including Ignition Creative’s “35 Years of Trailers Montage”; “Anecdotes,” produced by Buddha Jones; and a retrospective produced by Aspect Ratio of the original gag films that have highlighted Key Art ceremonies in recent years.
Executive producer Bob Israel was at the helm of the event for the sixth consecutive year. Israel, who is also Key Art advisory board chairman, said he noted with interest that it was a filmmaker, “Shining” director Stanley Kubrick, rather than a marketing specialist whose work was deemed best trailer of the past 35 years. Kubrick produced the spine-tingling teaser trailer depicting a hotel corridor filling with a tidal wave of blood gushing through sealed elevator doors.
The panel of media judges for the historic poster and trailer competition was composed of The Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt and Anne Thompson, the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan, Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum, the Washington Post’s Desson Thomson, AdWeek’s Gregory Solman, the Associated Press’ Gary Gentile and MoviePoopShoot.com’s Christopher Stipp.
Meanwhile, the public weighed in by naming “Brokeback Mountain” favorite movie trailer on MSN Movies’ Click ‘N’ Vote campaign tied in with Key Art. And seven students were singled out for their ads, including the Art Institute of San Diego’s Jared Marshall, who won the first Key Art Publisher’s Award for his “Million Dollar Baby” print ad. Chapman University’s Brian Matsunaga captured first place in the best trailer category for his “Million Dollar Baby” spot, while Drexel University’s Marcella Zuczek nabbed best print honors for her “Sideways” poster.
As for the ceremony, Israel said “we achieved our goal, which is to keep it lean and mean with an entertaining host,” but he’s still aiming for an even leaner, if not meaner, ceremony. “We still need to lose 20-30 minutes from the show,” he said.
Sponsors of the event were American Airlines, Avid, Chicago Tribune, Corbis, Crew Creative Advertising, First Entertainment Credit Union, the Los Angeles Times, MSN and Nielsen NRG.
Awards were presented in 29 categories Friday night at ceremonies at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland, with actor/comedian Kevin Nealson serving as the evening’s host.
Among motion picture companies, Lionsgate led the list with six awards, followed by Warners with five. Among vendors, both Art Machine and Trailer Park took home five awards each.
Awards were announced in the following categories:
Comedy poster, “The 40-Year Old Virgin, Crew Creative Advertising, Universal; Drama poster, “Syriana,” The Cimarron Group, Warners; Action Adventure poster, “Lord of War,” Art Machine, Lionsgate; Teaser poster, “Walk the Line,” Illustrated Teaser #1, Studio Number One, Fox; International film poster, “Batman Begins,” Teaser, Vox.Adv, Warners International; Film Festival/Market poster, “72hr Film Shoothout,” Indika Entertainment Advertising, MTV World and Asian American.
Comedy trailer, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Guide,” Aspect Ratio, Buena Vista Pictures; Action Adventure trailer, “Sin City: Trailer #1,” The Ant Farm, Dimension; Drama trailer, “Jarhead: Domestic Trailer #1,” Universal, Universal; Teaser trailer, “Sin City: Teaster #1,” The Ant Farm, Dimension.
Internet Advertising/Movie Website, “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride,” BLITZ, Warners.
Comedy TV spot, “Hitch: Dance Off,” Aspect Ratio, Columbia Pictures; Action Adventure TV spot, “War of the Worlds: Alarm,” Trailer Park, Paramount; Drama TV spot, “Walk the Line: Black,” Trailer Park, Fox.
Outdoor advertising, “Charlies and the Chocolate Factory: Building Wrap,” Trailer Park, Warners International.
Theatrical standee, “Charlies and the Chocolate Factory,” Drissi Advertising, Inc./Trailer Park, Warners.
Best copy line, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin: International,” “The longer you wait, the harder it gets,” Crew Creative Advertising, Universal.
Best motion graphics, “Lord of War,” Mark Woollen & Associates, Lionsgate.
Consumer print ad, “Lord of War,” Art Machine/Samuels Advertising, Lionsgate; Trade print ad, “Saw II: Gross Ad,” Samuels Advertising/Art Machine, Lionsgate.
Home Entertainment – DVD/VHS packaging, “Saw: DVD Video Box,” Art Machine, Lionsgate; Home Entertainment – Special Recognition, “Saw: Uncut Edition,” Art Machine, Lionsgate; Home Entertainment – Consumer TV spot, “Alien vs. Predator: Poker,” jonnyHal, Inc., 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment International; Home Entertainment – Consumer Audiiovisual, “Sin City: Consumer Trailer #2, 3Oh!5 Creative, Inc., Dimension.
Co-Branded Print, “Chicken Little: Grapple (American Idol),”Get Fit Foods, Walt Disney Pictures; Co-Branded Audiovisual, “Chicken Little: Sears,” Y&R Chicago, Walt Disney Pictures.
Special Recognition Print, “Sin City: Character Banners,”BLT & Associates Inc., Miramax/Dimension Films; Special Recognition Audiovisual, “Walk the Line: Internet Trailere One Song,” Trailer Park, Fox; International Audiovisual, “Cinderella Man: International Trailer,” Intralink Film Graphic Design, Buena Vista International/The Walt Disney Company.