On Feb. 24 at the Beverly Hilton hotel, the Publicists Guild, a unit of the International Cinematographers Guild, will bestow trophies to many of its own members, and will accord special honors to the following entertainment stalwarts:
Motion Picture Showman of the Year
The actor has starred in more than 50 films and television shows, in addition to his theater roles and directing credits. He won his first Academy Award for the historical war drama “Glory” (1989) and a second for the crime thriller “Training Day” (2001). He began his career in New York theater productions, and rose to fame on NBC’s long-running hit television series “St. Elsewhere.” Crossing over into movies, he earned his first Oscar nomination for “Cry Freedom” (1987), as South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. Other notable credits include lead roles in “Malcolm X,” “The Hurricane,” “Remember the Titans,” “ American Gangster,” “Crimson Tide,” “Devil in a Blue Dress,” “Flight,” “2 Guns,” and the recent remake of “The Magnificent Seven.”
Washington has also successfully made the tricky transition from starring in films to directing them. His directorial debut came with the 2002 drama “Antwone Fisher,” in which he also co-starred. He followed that up with his second feature, the 2007 drama “The Great Debaters,” also based on a true story and also co-starring Washington. He recently helmed the critically acclaimed “Fences,” in addition to producing and reprising his Tony Award-winning role, winning his seventh Oscar nom for his performance.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The uber-exec’s DNA is all over many of Hollywood’s biggest hits and success stories. At Paramount he oversaw “Star Trek,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Terms of Endearment,” and “Beverly Hills Cop.” At Disney he handled “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” and “Pretty Woman.” He produced “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” the first animated film to be Oscar-nommed for best picture.
In 1994, along with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, Katzenberg co-founded DreamWorks, which produced three best picture Oscar winners — “American Beauty,” “Gladiator,” and “A Beautiful Mind.” Under his leadership, spinoff company DreamWorks Animation released 33 animated features and earned 16 Oscar noms and two wins. Katzenberg also created franchises such as “Shrek,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”
“Publicists are the unsung heroes of our business,” says Katzenberg, “and I’ve gotten to work with so many great ones, which makes this award that much more meaningful to me.”
Television Showman of the Year
One of TV’s most successful writer-director-producers, Murphy has created a wide array of successful programs, including “American Horror Story,” “Scream Queens,” “Glee,” “Nip/Tuck,” and “The New Normal.” Murphy, who’s copped four Primetime Emmys and a raft of other trophies, began as a journalist. His first program, “Popular,” a teenager comedy-drama for the WB network, ran for three seasons in 1999. More success came in 2003 with the debut of FX’s “Nip/Tuck,” and in 2009 Murphy debuted “Glee.”
In 2011, Murphy served as exec producer on “American Horror Story” and in 2014 his HBO film “The Normal Heart” debuted, chronicling the story of the onset of the AIDS crisis, winning a slew of awards. Additional credits include the new FX series “Feud,” “American Crime Story”; “Eat Pray Love”; and “The Glee Project.”
A founding partner of B|W|R Public Relations, Ryder’s A-list clients have included Renée Zellweger, Michael J. Fox, Reese Witherspoon, and Leonardo DiCaprio. She was an instrumental adviser during the formative years of such stars as Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore, and Sarah Jessica Parker. She mentored many of the mainstays in talent public relations, and helped build B|W|R into one of the largest, independently owned entertainment PR firms.
Ryder became an outspoken advocate of breast cancer support following her own diagnosis in 2000, serving as a tireless campaigner for fundraising and research. She beat cancer in a year, but was diagnosed with ALS in 2014 and has since lost the ability to talk and walk, but her fight for a cure remains unchanged. Since 2014, Ryder has led Team Nanci, with industry peers, friends, and colleagues, raising money for the ALS Assn. The org honored her efforts in 2016 with a Heroes Award, one of many distinctions she has received throughout her career.