As Hollywood’s entertainment industry is changing by the hour, publicists are gathering for their annual ICG Publicists Awards Lunch, a low-key celebration two days before the Oscars taking place at the Beverly Hilton hotel.
Now in its 56th year, the event will feature the presentation of the awards for the best feature film and television campaigns, plus the Les Mason Award — the top honor for the members. Honorees this year are Jamie Lee Curtis, Jon M. Chu and Greg Berlanti.
Plus, there is a new award named after the late Henri Bollinger (above, right), who passed away in August after half a century in the publicity business. The honor will be presented to Bollinger posthumously as the first recipient, with his widow, Sandy, accepting on his behalf. In the future the prize will recognize a person who “epitomizes the definition of special merit.”
“We established this award to celebrate the life and memory of a true giant of the entertainment publicity world,” says Tim Menke (above, left), who has succeeded Bollinger as chair of the ICG Publicists Awards.
“Henri has set the bar for professionalism, creativity and integrity, and has made service to the larger community a part of his second nature,” he says. “His committed leadership shaped the ICG Publicists community and helped develop future leaders and publicists nationwide.”
Menke notes Bollinger played a pivotal role in expanding the role of publicists in Hollywood, particularly as social media emerged as the predominant method for reaching much of the audience.
“He had a great understanding of how to anticipate the needs of a client and suggest more effective ways of getting information out, even at a time when social media wasn’t really being exploited,” Menke says. The studios are taking the awards more seriously now and “making an effort to come in with a presentation about what they feel was their best film campaign of the year.”
Bollinger served for 37 years as chairman of the Publicists Awards Committee, which organizes the annual luncheon, dating back to 1980. The publicists, who had operated as a local within the Intl. Alliance of Stage Employees, became part of the ICG in 2002.
“Henri was such a dedicated unionist while being very collegial and fatherly,” says ICG president Steven Poster. “The publicists are such a valuable part of this guild and their issues are very similar to those of the rest of the guild. We love their help in understanding how publicity really works at a time when there’s so much change.”
The luncheon is much more than just a chance to hand out awards near the tail end of awards season, he says. It’s a key annual event for the 900 attendees to catch up with one another and celebrate.
Rosalind Jarrett Sepulveda Remembers Henri Bollinger
(Rosalind Jarrett Sepulveda is publicist for the SAG Awards and recipient of the Les Mason Award.)
Henri Bollinger died in August at 89. His dedication to promoting the importance of publicists to the entertainment industry was unmatched. He served on the Publicists Awards Committee since its inception, was its chair for 37 of its 56 years and received both the Les Mason Award and the Bob Yeager Award. A five-time president of the Publicists Guild and later a board member of the ICG, his commitment to representing his profession never wavered. He was founder and longtime president of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society and served on both the Motion Picture Academy’s foreign-language film committee and the Television Academy’s public relations committee. Elegant in demeanor and kind with words, he set a standard for professionalism and service that all in our profession should aspire to. The new Henri Bollinger Award ensures his legacy will continue.