Publicists are often said to be the unsung heroes of Hollywood, the executives who work tirelessly behind the scenes with minimal credit when things go well and maximum blame when things don’t go well. However, once a year, thanks to the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600), publicists from all corners of Hollywood have the opportunity to bask in the spotlight of the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom for the ICG Publicists Awards.
Held on Friday, the 60th ceremony saw campaigns for Top Gun: Maverick and Abbott Elementary earn top honors in the film and television categories, respectively. Both projects ended the day as double winners (sort of) as top gun producer Jerry Bruckheimer accepted the film actor of the year award on behalf of his team, while Brunson was honored with the television actor of the year award. In their speeches, both Bruckheimer and Brunson paid special attention to the work of diligent representatives.
Bruckheimer accepted for the Top Gun: Maverick team made up of Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie and David Ellison, and did so after a tribute from one of the film’s actors, Danny Ramírez. Bruckheimer joked that he wasn’t the first to ask to be in the room.
“It came to my attention that you contacted my other three producing partners before you got stuck with me. All this to say I’m a poor stand-in for Tom Cruise, but isn’t it just about everyone? Bruckheimer joked. “I’m sure we can all agree that Tom is the consummate showman in every sentence of that word. The actor who is in perfect tune with the audience and always gives them a thrill ride.”
He said Cruise and McQuarrie would have loved to be there, but “they’re going to do it next Mission Impossible. “Bruckheimer then turned his attention to the publicists in the room, dedicating the rest of his speech to the tireless work they do on campaigns.
“On the outside, your life seems so glamorous. You hang out with movie stars, industry titans, and powerful political figures, but there’s a catch,” she explained. “You are the ones who put your lives on hold during the production of a movie. You are the ones who get up early in the morning and are there late at night. You are the ones there on the set, taking care of business and somehow doing it on your phones while the planes roar overhead. And you are the ones who make sure that everything we do as producers is presented to movie fans in the best light possible.”
Bruckheimer continued: “You share good times and not-so-good times, maybe even really horrible times, the agony and the ecstasy, if you will. But despite everything, you have our back. It has been said that if you don’t tell your story, someone else will. Tom, Chris, David and I thank you for helping us tell our story. And to all of you who do what you do [for] movies and the Hollywood community, we can’t thank you enough.”
Brunson accepted the award from her. Abbott Elementary star Lisa Ann Walter, who delivered a funny and moving tribute that brought both of them to tears. She called Brunson “the Mary Tyler Moore of our generation.” Other presenters included Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghost), Jaylen Barron (blind point), Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Amber Midthinder (Prey), Ethan Peck (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds), Ming Na Wen and Ben Mankiewicz.
Brunson, who has cleaned up the awards season circuit for the sitcom she created, executive produces and stars in, joked that she had never heard of the ICG Publicists Awards or the honor bestowed on her, “but I’m glad it exists because I think you all do amazing, crucial, and underappreciated work.”
After enumerating the necessary thanks to the network, the study and Abbott Elementary cast and crew, Brunson said she was thrilled with the last part of her speech, dedicated to all the publicists who worked to launch and promote her show.
“What was really important to me with Abbott Elementary he was making sure the message was consistent,” Brunson said. “It was a show that I felt was special, but that meant the message about the show had to be special as well. I was on another show that will remain unnamed, but I saw that the showrunner was having trouble communicating his vision to that network. I saw how that can hinder a show from becoming a success if the message is inconsistent.”
The television creator said she has become very particular in ways that she knows how to annoy the publicists on the show. “I never want to put my cast in the line of fire. I want to protect everyone,” she explained. “We have kids to protect, we have teachers to protect, and I always try to make sure we have fun, protect each other, and spread the word about the show all at the same time, and that’s annoying. I know I upset you. I know sometimes they say, ‘God, I wish he’d put on a show and shut up. I can’t because I think that’s integral to the success of a show, especially for new creatives.”
she praised abbot representatives Celia Sacks and Sarah Teicher, who were also honored by the ICG Publicists Guild with the award for their overall campaign. “Those two were so integral,” Brunson continued. “When I said, ‘Hey, I just want to make sure that we come on this talk show the right way. I want to make sure this poster looks a certain way. I want to make sure this tweet is written a certain way. That’s how annoying I am. I have these wonderful beautiful women on my show. I want to make sure that they are protected in the way that they are presented to the world. It’s little things like that that I was able to communicate with them about.”
Brunson also gave credit to ABC’s publicity team, joking that she knows “they’re mad at me too, but look, they gave us a couple of awards. I think it’s okay now.”
The full list of winners is below.
Maxwell Weinberg Award for Motion Picture Advertising Campaign
Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures/Skydance/Jerry Bruckheimer Films)
Maxwell Weinberg Award for Television Advertising Campaign
Abbott Elementary (Warner Bros. Television/ABC)
Les Mason Awards for Professional Achievement in Advertising
Karen Chamberlain, Warner Bros. Pictures
andy reyes, entertainment tonight
International Media Award
Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN News (Philippines)
Advertiser of the Year Award
Sara Hull, Walt Disney Studios
Unitary Still Photography Excellence Award: Films
Unitary Still Photography Excellence Award – Television (Tie)
Hilary Bronwyn Gayle
Bob Yeager Award for Community Service