If TS really follow all this suggestions, sure die until very ugly.
boss also funny, awards presentation photos won't be a award winning photo, and really asking too much from TS.
well, with the FZ8, its a case of technical limitations.
i would advise, shooting at half tele, smallest possible F value, pre-focus on the guest of honour to get the lense in that general range so when they recipient comes into view it focusses slightly faster.
if they are all coming in from the same direction, a monopod might help with the slower shutter speeds(if not, find a wall to lean against for stability)
lots of luck!
bump iso.....only if the shutter speeds are REALLY slow, and get the WB correct!
good luck, hope your boss is satisfied!