"Strategy and Tactics of an Oscar ® Campaign: The Hollywood Insiders' Guide To Gold."
Meet the team behind the Oscar ® - winning campaigns for "Green Book," "Black Panther" and "BlacKkKlansman," plus get a sneak peek of upcoming releases our panelists are working on.
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Justin Balsamo, Vice President, Awards & Publicity at Focus Features
Scott Feinberg, awards columnist and host of the 'Awards Chatter' podcast
for The Hollywood Reporter
Ric Robertson, former COO of The Oscars ® and Principal of Robertson Taylor Partners,
a leading awards consulting firm in Hollywood
Jonathan Taylor, Principal, Robertson Taylor Partners
Erik Steigen, CEO, USA Media Rights, Inc. and president, NACC Los Angeles
Sondre Lerche is a Los Angeles-based Norwegian singer, songwriter, film score composer and artist. His eclectic and melodic debut, Faces Down, written and recorded at 16, was listed as one of the most remarkable debuts of 2002 by Rolling Stone, also winning a Norwegian Grammy for Best Newcomer.
Anticipated follow-up Two Way Monologue was a 2004 Album Of The Year in Uncut, and he toured extensively across the world both solo, with his band, and later with the likes of Air, Stereolab Elvis Costello and St Vincent. In 2006, alone, he scored a Billboard Top 5 Jazz album, Duper Sessions, recorded the rambunctious Phantom Punch, as well as composing the score and soundtrack for the Steve Carell/Juliette Binoche hit movie Dan In Real Life, which included a duet with Regina Spektor. Lerche has also collaborated on stage with Milton Nascimento and Philip Glass. Said the LA Times about 2009's lush Heartbeat Radio: "No matter what genre he's working in (...) his refrains always pay off". Lerche co-wrote the song "Dear Laughing Doubters" for the 2010 comedy Dinner For Schmucks.
In 2011 he made his second appearance on David Letterman's Late Show, performing from his spirited self-titled (and first self-released) album, while in 2012 he had the honor of appearing on an official postage stamp in Norway. The 2014 release of his score for Sundance indie-hit movie The Sleepwalker, was followed by Please, which Popmatters called "a pop masterpiece”, naming it one of the finest albums of the year. 2017’s groovy and flamboyant Pleasure was a "thrilling sonic reboot", according to Allmusic, followed by an extensive and intense 100-date world tour, and, in 2018, the stripped down come-down, Solo Pleasure + music for the Norwegian children's television icon Fantorangen.
Justin Balsamo is Vice President of Awards & Publicity at Focus Features. Since joining the company in 2017, he has orchestrated awards campaigns for titles including BlacKkKlansman, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Mary Queen of Scots, Boy Erased, Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread and Victoria & Abdul. This resulted in 22 Academy Award® nominations, 3 Academy Award® wins, 11 Golden Globe® nominations, and 1 Golden Globe® win. In this role, Balsamo is responsible for the planning, managing, and executing all facets of the awards campaigns, including but not limited to tastemaker events, industry mailings, media & advertising, and asset management, and special screenings. Titles have ranged from live action, animation, documentary and short films.
Prior to Focus Features, Balsamo served as a Sr. Manager of Integrated Marketing & Awards at Sony Pictures Entertainment. There, he worked on campaigns including Captain Phillips, American Hustle, Spectre, Passengers, Concussion, Fury and Sausage Party after joining the company in 2013. He began his career as an executive assistant in Publicity at Walt Disney Studios in 2011.
Balsamo graduated Summa Cum Laude from The George Washington University with a B.B.A. in Marketing.
Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter is one of Hollywood’s most experienced, trusted and widely-read awards columnists, employing his writing and interviewing abilities, knowledge of showbiz history and deep Rolodex to take THR readers behind-the-scenes of and inside the annual Oscar, Emmy and Tony races.
Some of Feinberg’s work appears in THR’s print editions, but most of it lives exclusively online — specifically, on his THR blog ‘The Race.’ There, he regularly posts breaking news, incisive analysis and oracular projections. (His weekly ‘Feinberg Forecast’ has long been considered the industry’s gold standard and correctly projected 21 of the 24 eventual Oscar winners in 2018, best among awards pundits.)
‘The Race’ is also where you can find Feinberg’s THR podcast ‘Awards Chatter,’ an hour-long episode of which posts at least once a week. Among the hundreds of luminaries who have been in Feinberg's hot seat: Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Lorne Michaels, Barbra Streisand, Justin Timberlake, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Gal Gadot, Warren Beatty, Angelina Jolie, Snoop Dogg, Jessica Chastain, Stephen Colbert, Reese Witherspoon, Aaron Sorkin, Margot Robbie, Ryan Reynolds, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Winslet, Jimmy Kimmel, Natalie Portman, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Gervais, Judi Dench, Quincy Jones, Jane Fonda, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, Elisabeth Moss, RuPaul, Rachel Brosnahan, Jimmy Fallon, Kris Jenner, Michael Moore, Emilia Clarke, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren, Tyler Perry, Sally Field, Spike Lee, Lady Gaga, J.J. Abrams, Emma Stone, Ryan Murphy, Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Dolly Parton, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Sacha Baron Cohen and Carol Burnett.
Ric Robertson spent three decades at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Oscars®), most of that time in a senior executive position leading day-to-day operations. In 2016 he formed Robertson Taylor Partners, a strategic consultancy that manages successful communications campaigns, builds brands and identities, and offers useful guidance to companies, associations and individuals.
Jonathan Taylor spent the first half of his career in entertainment journalism, with senior editing positions at Variety, the Los Angeles Times and others, before transitioning to strategic communications, holding corporate communications and program PR positions at Starz Media, and more. In 2016 he formed Robertson Taylor Partners, a strategic consultancy that manages successful communications campaigns, builds brands and identities, and offers useful guidance to companies, associations and individuals.