Publicists fly 'Caribbean' colors at kudofest

Hollywood publicists tapped the publicity team for Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” winner of the Maxwell Weinberg showmanship award for top publicity campaign.

“Pirates,” which grossed more than $650 million worldwide, topped Sony’s “Big Fish,” Universal’s “Seabiscuit,” 20th Century Fox’s “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” and Paramount’s “School of Rock.”

Fox’s “The OC,” produced by Warner Bros. TV, won the Weinberg award for TV over Showtime’s “Dead Like Me,” ABC’s “8 Simple Rules,” CBS’ “Joan of Arcadia” and Fox’s “24.”

Kudos were presented Friday at the 41st annual publicists awards event at the Beverly Hilton, with about 900 in attendance and Jimmy Kimmel handling MC duties.

Clint Eastwood received the org’s lifetime achievement award, presented by Marcia Gay Harden. “Anyone who can bench-press 300 pounds is a little too young to be receiving this award,” she quipped.

Eastwood said publicists have a “terrifically underrated job” and thanked Warner publicists for their work on “Mystic River.” “They did everything right except they could not get me on Jimmy Kimmel’s show,” he quipped.

The publicists also tapped unit publicist Larry Kaplan for the Les Mason award and Gail Cottman for the Bob Yeager award for community service.

Press awards went to Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times and Italian journalist Alessandra Venezia; Disney studio topper Dick Cook received the motion picture showmanship award from Julie Andrews, and former Fox TV Entertainment Group head Sandy Grushow received the TV showmanship award from Kiefer Sutherland.

The publicists joined IATSE Local 600 of the Intl. Cinematographers Guild two years ago as a result of that local’s merger with Publicists Guild Local 818. Friday’s event launched with IATSE president Thomas Short noting the publicists had honored longtime business agent Marlene Mattaschiam with a dedication in the org’s directory.

Short also endorsed the recent tentative agreement by SAG and AFTRA negotiators to extend their current contract for a year to June 30, 2005. The performers unions sent out ratification ballots Friday with a March 18 deadline for return.

“The willingness of both sides to reach this agreement shows the commitment all parties have to maintaining the flow of production,” he said. “Now, it is up to the Writers Guild and the (Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers) to show the same commitment to this industry and get to the bargaining table.”

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