The 43rd annual Humanitas Prize has its finalists. Nine films from a combined 21 screenwriters will compete in three categories, a first this year. The award was created to honor film and TV writers whose work inspires compassion, hope and understanding in the human family.

The finalists are vying in the categories of drama, comedy, and family films, with three nominated films competing for each prize. The Humanitas Prize. Winners will be announced February 16 during a gala at the Beverly Hilton.

“Dividing the film awards into three genres allows us to recognize outstanding work across the broad spectrum of feature screenwriting,” said Cathleen Young, the organization’s Executive Director. “At a time of great anxiety in our country, comedy writing that is both entertaining and life-affirming is more essential than ever. We also know that storytelling aimed at children has the capacity to impart valuable messages of tolerance, resilience and positive self-image. It was very important to us that the top contributions in these categories be honored alongside inspiring dramas.”

Said group president Ali LeRoi: “The new feature award format means we have a more diverse group of films than ever before. But what struck us is how, despite being set in such different milieus and genres, they each portray characters who are struggling for knowledge, connection, freedom or justice, and inspire us in turn to see ourselves as characters in the larger human story of the struggle for these same goals.”

Here are the 2018 Humanitas Prize finalists:

Feature – Drama

MUDBOUND
Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

THE POST
Written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Written by Martin McDonagh

Feature – Comedy

LADY BIRD
Written by Greta Gerwig

THE BIG SICK
Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED)
Written by Noah Baumbach

Feature – Family

COCO
Story by Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz, Matthew Aldrich, Adrian Molina, Screenplay by Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich

FERDINAND
Story by Ron Burch & David Kidd and Don Rhymer, Screenplay by Robert L. Baird and Tim Federle and Brad Copeland

THE BREADWINNER
Screenplay by Anita Doron, Story by Deborah Ellis