Be Like an Oscar Winner and Thank a Publicist Today
Public Relations

Be Like an Oscar Winner and Thank a Publicist Today

By Alyssa Zinar

As a public relations professional, I like to say I work with words – just as an accountant works with numbers. I write words that become stories, blogs, media pitches, press releases, media advisories, social media posts, speeches and even scripts for videos. I write lots of words, but I also listen to a lot of words from others.

So while I indulged in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s elite at the Oscars, I was struck by the repetition of a phrase uttered by those who graced the stage. It went something like, “I know I’m not supposed to thank my publicist…”

In a moment of sporadic joy that accompanies winning one of their industry’s most coveted honors, celebrities thanked the laundry list of people who helped them achieve this momentous feat. And as Emma Stone reminded, success is about a team that uses the sums of its parts to make something greater.

A publicist is defined as a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a company, a brand, or public figure. At Devine + Partners, a Philadelphia-based public relations firm, we don’t refer to ourselves as publicists, but our role is the same.

We support our clients with a full range of communications services – from message and content development and media relations to issues management and employee and community engagement – to help them achieve their goals, be it awareness, recognition, sales or maybe even an Oscar. We’re even just starting to promote an upcoming documentary: “Free Exercise: America’s Story of Religious Liberty.” We manage reputations and provide strategic counsel and advice in challenging and exciting times. The support of a publicist or PR agency team does not go unnoticed, so why should it be unappreciated on one of the world’s largest stages.

Back in 2016, the Oscars producers tried to eliminate the “thank you list” from winner speeches. They added an onscreen ticker showing all the people the awardee would like to thank and imposed a 45-second time limit on each speech.

I couldn’t find an exact rules sheet for what people can and can’t say in their speeches, but it’s clear from this year’s show that they are still encouraged to leave out their team of professionals to make room for more heartfelt moments. But as a PR professional, I’m thankful to those who defied the “rules.”

Probably most notably, Philly native and the show’s first awardee, Da’Vine Joy Randolph made sure her publicist knew how appreciative she was for her support. Randolph shared, “I know y’all say, ‘Don’t say nothing ‘bout no publicist, but you don’t have a publicist like I have a publicist! You have been by my side, and I’m forever grateful.”

Do I agree that long thank you lists at award shows can be a drag? Absolutely. But what I do know is that a simple thank you goes a long way in business and personal settings.

So, thank you to all those who helped me get to the point in my career where I can provide meaningful support for companies and organizations who are doing well – and doing good. Thank you to my teachers, mentors and other PR professional for their guidance. And thank you to you…for reading this blog.

Are you ready to tackle your goals with the support of a public relations agency? Let us help!

Reach out to Devine + Partners at to see how we can support your next big, small or even Oscar-worthy campaign.

Alyssa Zinar

Alyssa Zinar

In her role as Associate Vice President and Senior Digital News Producer, Alyssa provides client strategy and support, manages social media pages, and engages in media outreach, strategic communications, event planning, in-depth research and video content creation.