Thirty-one writers, including John Ridley, Bob Nelson and Nic Pizzolatto, are finalists in eight categories for the 40th annual Humanitas Prize. The writers will compete for $90,000 in prize money to be handed out at the annual luncheon January 16 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The Humanitas Prize was created to honor television and film writers “whose work explores the human experience in a way that both entertains and enlightens”, the org says.

“Every year, I am amazed by the talent of the Humanitas finalists,” said Executive Director Cathleen Young. “They make me laugh and cry. They show me my world and help me understand my place in it. They explore the kinds of demons most of us have felt as well as the comforts and joys that make life worth living. They show me what is possible, and they do it with words. Always with words. Words that move us all forward into a more fully examined life.”

Previous Humanitas Prize winners include David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin (Beasts Of The Southern Wild), Denis Leary & Peter Tolan (Rescue Me), Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), Steve Levitan (Modern Family, Frasier), Ryan Murphy (Glee) and Robert & Michelle King (The Good Wife). Here is the full list of nominees:

Feature Film Category
12 Years A Slave
Written by: John Ridley

Belle
Written by: Misan Sagay

Nebraska
Written by: Bob Nelson

Sundance Feature Film Category
Camp X-Ray
Written by: Peter Sattler

Hellion
Written by: Kat Candler

Love Is Strange
Written by: Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias

Whiplash
Written by: Damien Chazelle

Documentary Category
Finding Vivian Maier
Directed by: John Maloof & Charlie Siskel

Merchants Of Doubt
Directed by: Robert Kenner

The Case Against 8
Written by: Ben Cotner & Ryan White

90 Minute Category
Mary And Martha
Written by: Richard Curtis (HBO)

Ring Of Fire
Written by: Richard Friedenberg (Lifetime)

The Normal Heart
Written by: Larry Kramer (HBO)

60 Minute Category
Homeland “The Star”
Written by: Alex Gansa & Meredith Stiehm (Showtime)

Parenthood “The Pontiac”
Written by: Jason Katims (NBC)

The Killing “Six Minutes”
Written by: Veena Sud (AMC)

True Detective “Form and Void”
Written by: Nic Pizzolatto (HBO)

30 Minute Category
How I Met Your Mother “Last Forever, Part 2”
Written by: Carter Bays & Craig Thomas (CBS)

Modern Family “Under Pressure”
Written by: Elaine Ko (ABC)

The Middle “Happy Halloween IV: The Ghost Story”
Written by: Roy Brown (ABC)

David & Lynn Angell Comedy Fellowship
Nora Sullivan, USC
Han-Yee Ling, UCLA
Jessica Blaire, UCLA

Drama Fellowship
Emily Brochin, USC
Kendell Klein, AFI
Mike MacGillivray, LMU