Humor meets hype at ICG nods

Ford, Apatow among those feted at awards luncheon

The ICG Publicists Awards luncheon always dishes up a good-natured combination of self-deprecating humor and accolades for those who have hyped the year's film and television hits.

So "Access Hollywood" anchor Billy Bush, who emceed the 45th annual shindig Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton, was playing to a sympathetic audience of 1,000 spinmeisters and guests when he apologized for a sore-throat-induced scratchy voice.

"If you kiss as much celebrity ass as I do, you're bound to catch something," Bush said.

Even ICG Publicists president Steven Poster couldn't resist calling a spade a spade. "This event is so perfectly self-congratulatory, so perfectly Hollywood, that it couldn't take place anywhere else," he said.

Still, Harrison Ford seemed pleased with his lifetime achievement award.

"It's somewhat ironic to get the award from the publicists, because I've never really owned one myself," Ford joked.

Film hyphenate Judd Apatow and Warner Bros. Television president Peter Roth were enthusiastic in their thanks for showmanship accolades.

"It's an honor to be up here and to be honored as publicity whore of the year," Apatow deadpanned. "And you're all my pimps."

There were surprisingly few references to the writers strike other than a guffaw-inducing jibe by Apatow.

"I have 27 pages of jokes here; I've been on strike for three months and haven't been allowed to write," he said. "I was up all night laughing and looked outside my window, and Paul Haggis was outside picketing."

The Warner Bros. publicity team was feted for "300," voted the year's best movie campaign.

Television publicist Rayna Schwartz and ABC publicist Ellen Gonzalez accepted the award for best television campaign for their work on "Pushing Daisies."

Warner Bros. International publicist Mary Hunter copped the annual Les Mason Award for career achievements in publicity, and Francois Duhamel was honored for still photography.

The annual press award went to USA Today correspondent Susan Wloszczyna, and an international media award was given to French journalist Didier Allouch.