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  • Friday, Feb. 26, 2016
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Empire" Earn Top Honors At ICG Publicists Awards
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (photo courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm)
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The International Cinematographers Guild (ICG, IATSE Local 600) Publicists announced and honored winners of its 53rd Annual ICG Publicists Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Friday (2/26) afternoon. Star Wars: The Force Awakens won the top honors for Best Publicity Campaign for Motion Pictures while Empire earned distinction for the Best Publicity Campaign in Television. Barry Wetcher(Motion Picture) and Chuck Hodes (Television) received awards for Excellence in Still Photography, respectively. A special Les Mason Award was given posthumously to renown publicist Murray Weissman. The Press Award went to Bryan Alexander of USA Today, and the International Media Award was bestowed upon Yuko Yoshikawa, Reuters Japan correspondent. The Bob Yeager Award for community service was given to Elaine Lazelle, Walt Disney Studio sr. publicist.

The awards, chaired by Henri Bollinger and co-chaired by Tim Menke, took place before an audience of more than 900, including guild members, Hollywood public relations and marketing executives, producers, studio and network executives, celebrities and press.

Legendary comedian/actress Lily Tomlin received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sally Field. Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films, was presented the Motion Picture Showmanship Award by Michael Keaton (Spotlight), while John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks, received the Television Showmanship Award from award-winning writer, director and executive producer Ryan Murphy.

A Special Award of Merit went to famed lyricists and song writers Alan and Marilyn Bergman, presented by Johnny Mathis. Additional presenters of this year’s awards included Ed Asner (Up, Lou Grant), comedian Yakov Smirnoff (Happily Ever Laughter), Vanessa Cloke (The Big Short), Wayne Pére (The Big Short), and Amy Aquino (Bosch).

Steven Poster, ASC, president of the International Cinematographers Guild, addressing the publicists assembled in the room said, “This is a changing and evolutionary time in every part of our industry. The mega-speed at which you have to get the information out there...makes your job more difficult every day. Without you nobody would know who any of us are, or would like to be.”

Henri Bollinger said, “The size and spirit of today’s gathering is just a small reflection of the dedication with which publicists approach the work we do on a daily basis. It explains, also, the way our messages motivate so many people across our nation and around the world to visit movie theaters and watch shows in all kinds of mediums.”

In their opening remarks at the awards ceremony, both Poster and Bollinger remembered the late Weissman, recipient of the aforementioned Les Mason honor. Bollinger described Weissman as "a generous and kind friend" and "an icon in our profession." Poster simply uttered Weissman's name and stood silent for a moment, eliciting audience applause. And in accepting the Motion Picture Showmanship Award, Open Road Films' Ortenberg acknowledged Weissman's efforts which he witnessed first hand on a Best Picture Oscar-winning campaign for Crash.  With studios’ Academy Awards teams, Weissman during his career worked on 38 Best Picture nominees, helping capture the top Oscar for seven: The Sting, Kramer vs. Kramer, Dances With Wolves, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago and Crash.

In lieu of gift bags this year, the ICG Publicists made generous donations in honor of its members and sponsors to the Motion Picture and Television Fund, accepted by Ken Scherer, CEO of MPTF, and to The Actors Fund, accepted by Meg Thomas, Major Gifts Officer at The Actors Fund. “It is an opportunity to support organizations that address the needs of all entertainment industry professionals,” said Bollinger.

Maxwell Weinberg Award for Best Publicity Campaign for a Motion Picture:

Maxwell Weinberg Award for Best Publicity Campaign for a Television Program:

Excellence in Unit Still Photography for Motion Pictures Award:

Excellence in Unit Still Photography for Television Award:

Les Mason Award, the highest honor publicists can bestow on one of their own:
MURRAY WEISSMAN (posthumously)

Bob Yeager Award for community service:
ELAINE LAZELLE, Walt Disney Studio Senior Publicist

Press Award:

International Media Award: