Praisers shine light on ‘Ray’

'Housewives' clean up at publicists' kudos

Hollywood praisers have tapped the publicity team for Universal’s “Ray” winner of the Maxwell Weinberg showmanship award for top publicity campaign.

The team for “Ray,” which grossed $75 million domestically, topped those for Fox’s “The Day After Tomorrow,” Disney/Pixar’s “The Incredibles,” Paramount’s “Mean Girls,” Warner Bros.’ “The Polar Express” and Sony’s “Spider-Man 2.”

“This is the orphan movie that no one wanted,” noted Universal exec VP Michael Moses of “Ray.”

ABC/Touchstone’s “Desperate Housewives” won the Weinberg award for TV over Fox’s “Arrested Development,” CBS’ “Cold Case,” King World/Harpo/Paramount’s “Dr. Phil” and Warner/FX’s “Nip/Tuck.”

Kudos were presented Tuesday at the 42nd annual publicists’ awards event at the Beverly Hilton, with about 800 in attendance and Craig Ferguson handling emcee duties.

Andrews hailed

Julie Andrews received the org’s lifetime achievement award, presented by Garry Marshall, after receiving a standing ovation. “Anyone with half an ounce of sense knows publicists make a lot of difference,” she said, singling out personal publicist Gene Schwam and Disney publicist Arlene Ludwig.

Annett Wolf of Wolf-Kasteler-Van Iden received the Les Mason award and Paul Gendreau the Bob Yeager award for community service.

Press awards went to Bob Strauss of the L.A. Daily News and Australian journalist Jenny Cooney; Fox studio toppers Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos received the motion picture showmanship award from James Cameron; and “CSI” producers Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue and Anthony Zuiker received the TV showmanship award from Marg Helgenberger.

Rob Schneider presented Strauss’ award after acknowledging he had been mistaken by saying in a recent ad that L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein had never won an award. Goldstein won last year’s press award from the publicists.

Schneider also joked that the org should rename its awards “The Pubies.”

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.

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