Hollywood publicists have named Universal’s “Get Out” and Netflix’s second season of “Stranger Things” as the top publicity campaigns of 2017.

“Get Out” won the Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Motion Picture Award over Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” TriStar Pictures’ “Baby Driver,” Paramount’s “Daddy’s Home 2,” Fox’s “The Greatest Showman,” and Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman.”

The awards were presented Friday by the International Cinematographers Guild at the 55th annual Publicists Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Megan Bendis, Universal’s exec VP of domestic publicity, and Mark Markline, Universal’s senior VP of international publicity, accepted the award and noted that the studio actually ran two campaigns — one for the theatrical release a year ago, which stunned Hollywood with more than $250 million in worldwide box office; and an awards-season campaign, culminating in four Academy Award nominations.

“It’s not often that you get a chance to work on two publicity campaigns on one film,” Bendis said. “The first was about getting the word out; the second was more about what’s going on in this country.”

“Strangers Things” won the Weinberg award over “Better Call Saul,” “Feud: Bette and Joan,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” and “The Orville.”

The press award went to Mike Fleming Jr. of Deadline and the international media award was given to Alex Zane (U.K.). Scott Garfield won the excellence in unit still photography for motion pictures award, and Jennifer Clasen won the prize for unit still photography for television. The Les Mason Award went to Jan Craft of Warner Bros. Carri McClure was the recipient of the Bob Yeager Community Service Award.

The union publicists are part of the International Cinematographers Guild, which operates as Local 600 of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Rebecca Rhine, named last year as executive director of the local, gave an address at the event urging attendees to be mindful of the issues of harassment and racism.

Here is the entire address:

First of all, I want to thank you for allowing me to say a few words this afternoon. I am honored to be the National Executive Director of the International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600 which includes the wonderful publicists who have put together this incredible event.

I am especially honored to be the first woman to hold that position. Not because it’s about me, but because I know that examples matter. Seeing people that look like you, doing things you wish you could do, matters. That is what
allows us to aspire and to dream.

When I was a senior in high school in the late 70s, I longed to be named “smartest”, “prettiest”, “best actress”, or “most likely to succeed” in the yearbook. I was voted “women’s libber”, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended as a compliment. I was, however, very proud. They took a picture of me hurting Sven, the young man who had been named “male chauvinist.” We were both smiling. Well some things just aren’t as funny anymore.

Certain moments in time require us to take principled stands on difficult issues. Local 600 believes workplace safety must include being safe from bullying, harassment, and abuse. We cannot tolerate sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia nor any other forms of discrimination that exclude and marginalize others. In an industry where we can create an entire world in a day, we can surely expand access and opportunity, elevate diversity and inclusion, reject complacency and privilege and unify around the shared principle of equality.

I’m so proud to work for a union that’s taking on culture change directly, is willing to challenge it’s own unconscious bias and understand that we can’t change it until we name it. As another women’s libber Gloria Steinem once noted: “Like art, revolutions come from combining what exists into what has never existed before.”
We have that opportunity right now. Let’s not let it pass.

Stephen Poster, president of Local 600, also touched upon similar issues in his opening remarks:

We are in a new era… I’ve been saying that year after year? But we are! Some things have changed significantly. We all know that the issues of sexual harassment and discrimination are finally receiving the attention that’s long overdue.

Like my friend John Baily did through his presidency of the Academy. And at the Society of Camera Operators during their show with Meryl Streep. And Alan Caso hit it head on at the ASC Awards, I feel personally that we can’t stand these actions of insult and injury anywhere and, especially within our own ranks of colleagues and co-workers. And to those who ask “Haven’t we done enough? Nothing is enough until it all stops. And history would tell us we have not done enough.

We have to be the ones who make it stop. We also have to be the ones to change the culture, to alter the consciousness that give rise to these kinds of behavior. We can stop the behavior of racism or misogyny. But until we change the attitudes that support these behaviors we haven’t accomplished our goals. This is our responsibility. We have the power to make this stop – to change the culture, to alter the consciousness

“Can we do that as a Union and as individuals?”  Absolutely! “Do we want to? A resounding yes!

The world is changing; Has changed in fact. Learning from the past is no longer an option. And I know of no other group then all of you who can adapt to any new wave of public sentiment or rapidly changing taste or social shift in a flash. Our Unit Publicists and our Studio Marketing Publicists are highly influential in every part of bringing audiences to our product, the entertainment that not only reflects the changes in society that we’re experiencing every day, but often even influences those changes.

Whoever wins these awards are the stories of today. But the real stories are all of you sitting in our audience who have the talents and the expertise to tell the stories about our stories that are the influencers and the disrupters that keep our audiences coming and make our beloved show business successful.