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The 56th Annual ICG Publicist Awards, honoring the best film and TV campaigns of the year, were handed out by the International Cinematographer's Guild on Friday at the Beverly Hilton.
Crazy Rich Asians took home the top honor by winning the Max Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Motion Picture Award. Nominees for the category included Black Panther, A Quiet Place, Halloween, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Bohemian Rhapsody. Meanwhile, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert won the award for Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Television Award.
The Lifetime Achievement award was given to Jamie Lee Curtis, who began her career on TV in 1977 and has acted in both mediums over the last several decades. Curtis made a case for freedom of press, in a speech that had the audience on its feet.
"I believe in the freedom of the press. I believe that you actually have the right to ask me whatever question you want to ask me. It is a dance, as you all know, that I've been doing for a very long time," said Curtis. "You see, I can't do what I do without you. And you can't do what you do, without me…Anyone who pretends like they disdain that portion of it, is full of shit. How many of these people have we grown up with, hearing they don't talk to the press until they have a movie coming out and then all of the sudden they're doing an interview? I hate them because they're fraudulent. The truth is, this is the game, this is how it's played, and I am proud to play it with you."
"Here's the complete part of the dance that we do: It's about trust. I'm going to trust you to help me navigate what is often difficult, which is journalism,” she continued. "The reason that I am standing up here today is because I have had one and only [one] publicist and her name is Heidi Schaeffer."
Curtis described how when she was a young actress, Schaeffer, a junior publicist at PMK the time, was tasked with traveling around the world with her. "Heidi had never been to Europe, and Heidi Schaeffer and Jamie Lee Curtis went around the world," Curtis laughed. "Heidi Schaeffer threw me my wedding shower. Heidi Schaeffer got engaged at my wedding. Heidi Schaeffer has held my hand through really, really, hard, hard things. Heidi Schrieffer loves this industry, and she loves the work you do. And it has been a privilege for me to walk this with her…It's not my lifetime achievement award, it's really hers because I wouldn't get a life achievement award if it weren't for her."
Chu told The Hollywood Reporter that in the case of Crazy Rich Asians' success, publicity was an instrumental part. "Especially a movie like ours where there's the story of the movie, beyond the movie itself," said Chu. "It was a master class for me to watch, going from it being really hard to recruit people to come to a free screening, to [the publicists] communicating why this is important and creating an ambassadorship with these early viewers."
On the TV side, writer Greg Berlanti (You, The Flash, Arrow) was awarded Television Showman of the Year, thanking his personal publicist Simon Halls for setting an example, both within and outside of work. "He’s not only been a friend but a true role model for me and many others, as a gay man working in this business. He was an example to me for many, many years [showing] that you could be successful, you could be kind but also have a family and be a dad. I have one now," said Berlanti. "This business is truly lucky to have someone like Simon, and those of us that work with him are the luckiest – now, if just I could get him to go and buy up all my bad reviews around town, he’d be perfect."
Kirsten Anderson was given the Bob Yeager award for community service.
Publicist awards chairs, Sheryl Main and Tim Menke opened the show with a moment of silence for publicists that had passed, including Henri Bollinger, who served five terms as the president of the Publicists Guild and 37 years as chairman of the awards committee, which organizes the awards show. IGC president Steven Poster joined them on stage to raise a toast to Bollinger, who passed away in August at age 89.
They introduced a new award, not on to be handed out annually but on special occasions. "I am proud to present the first Henri Bollinger Award to the man who inspired it," said Poster, choking up as he turned over the trophy to Bollinger’s wife, Sandy. "You’ve more than proved that family takes care of family," said Sandy Bollinger, thanking the room for their support.
Paul Bloch, who passed away last May, was also honored with heartfelt messages from Barry Gibb, Michael Keaton, Jerry Bruckheimer, Macaulay Culkin, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Rosenberg, John Travolta, among others.
See the full list of winners below.
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