Oscar contenders The King’s Speech, The Fighter and 127 Hours will face off again, this time as finalists in the feature film category for this year’s Humanitas Prizes, which recognize writers whose work “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” The series finale of DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights made the cut in the hourlong TV category alongside Fox’s House, Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and HBO’s The Pacific, while ABC’s Emmy-winning Modern Family, which shared the comedy prize in the half-hour category with Showtime’s Nurse Jackie last year, is nominated again, along with Nurse Jackie, CBS’ How I Met Your Mother and Showtime’s The Big C. (The drama prize last year was split between Glee and The Good Wife.) The winners in 6 categories will be announced at the annual ceremony slated to take place Sept. 16 at the Montage Beverly Hills where comedy veteran Gary David Goldberg will receive the Kieser Award “which is given to an individual whose work has helped promote a greater appreciation for each member of the human family.” Here is the official release:


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (July 18, 2011) – Thirty-four writers were named finalists in nine categories for the 37th Annual HUMANITAS Prize, it was announced today by HUMANITAS Executive Director Cathleen Young and President John Wells. The writers will be competing for $85,000 in prize money to be handed out at the annual luncheon which will be held on Friday, September 16, 2011 at the Montage Beverly Hills. The HUMANITAS Prize was created 37 years ago to honor television and film writers for telling stories which truly and deeply explore the human experience in a way that both entertains and enlightens.

“More than ever, HUMANITAS serves to shine a light on writers that must be heard and stories that must be told,” said HUMANITAS President John Wells. “It is our great pleasure to honor and acknowledge writers who rise to the challenge of telling meaningful stories filled with richly-drawn characters. It is not an easy feat. We applaud you.”

Gary David Goldberg will be the recipient of the Kieser Award which is given to an individual whose work has helped promote a greater appreciation for each member of the human family. The recipient’s contribution to society helps us reflect on who we are and probe our relationship to each other while also challenging us to deepen our search for meaning, freedom and love.

“Gary’s writing is funny, elegant, meaningful, nuanced and always, always, always, above all else, entertaining because of the way he allows us to see ourselves through the prism of his special brand of humor,” said HUMANITAS Executive Director Cathleen Young. “As a five-time winner of the HUMANITAS Prize for his groundbreaking show, FAMILY TIES, Goldberg personifies, in every possible way, the values HUMANITAS has championed for almost four decades.”

The Award is named after Fr. Ellwood “Bud” Kieser, C.S.P., a most unusual hyphenate – priest/writer/producer – who founded the HUMANITAS Prize. The first recipient of the Kieser Award was Bill Moyers. Other honorees include Fay Kanin, Frank Pierson, Colin Callender and Larry Gelbart.

The 2011 HUMANITAS Prize finalists are:

Feature Film Category ($10,000)

127 HOURS Written By: Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy

THE FIGHTER Written By: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson

THE KING’S SPEECH Written By: David Seidler

Sundance Feature Film Category ($10,000)

GUN HILL ROAD Written By: Rashaad Ernesto Green

MEEK’S CUTOFF Written By: Jonathan Raymond

WIN WIN Written By: Thomas McCarthy

Documentary Category ($5,000) Sponsored by OWN

BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY Written By: Philip Shane & Justin Weinstein

LOUDER THAN A BOMB Directed By: Greg Jacobs & Jon Siskel


90 Minute Category ($10,000)

REVIVING OPHELIA Written By: Teena Booth (Lifetime)

TAKEN FROM ME: THE TIFFANY RUBIN STORY Written By: Michael Bortman (Lifetime)

THURGOOD Written By: George Stevens, Jr. (HBO)

60 Minute Category ($10,000)

DROP DEAD DIVA “Good Grief” Written By: Jeanette Collins & Mimi Friedman (Lifetime)

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS “Always” Written By: Jason Katims (NBC)

HOUSE “Help Me” Written By: Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner & Peter Blake (FOX)

THE PACIFIC “Part 10” Written By: Bruce McKenna & Robert Schenkkan (HBO)

30 Minute Category ($10,000)

THE BIG C “Taking the Plunge” Written By: Darlene Hunt (Showtime)

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER “Last Words” Written By: Carter Bays & Craig Thomas (CBS)

MODERN FAMILY “The Kiss” Written By: Abraham Higginbotham (ABC)

NURSE JACKIE “Monkey Bits” Written By: Liz Brixius (Showtime)

Children’s Animation ($10,000)

KUNG FU PANDA HOLIDAY SPECIAL Written By: Jonathan Groff & Jon Pollack (NBC)

The David & Lynn Angell Fellowship in Comedy Writing ($10,000)

ROBIN W. MORTON University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Film and Television

Spec script of MODERN FAMILY “Life is Beautiful”

Fellowship in Dramatic Writing ($10,000)

AMY RIPLEY University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts

Original script of INKLINGS “Pilot”

Since its inception in 1974, The HUMANITAS Prize has awarded over $3 million to more than 283 deserving television and motion picture writers whose work affirms the dignity of the human person, probes the meaning of life, and enlightens the use of human freedom. HUMANITAS exists to encourage, stimulate and sustain the nation’s screenwriters in their humanizing task, and to give them the recognition they deserve.

The HUMANITAS Prize is funded by an endowment established through the generosity of individuals, networks, studios and foundations.

Winners of the HUMANITAS Prize have included: Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious); Steve Levitan (“Modern Family,” “Frasier”); Ryan Murphy (“GLEE”); Robert & Michelle King (“The Good Wife”); David E. Kelley (“The Practice,” “Picket Fences”); Ben Affleck & Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting); Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List); David Shore (“HOUSE”); Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing”); Tim Robbins (Dead Man Walking); Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights”); Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon & Pete Docter (WALL-E); Aseem Batra (“Scrubs”); Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl); Eric Roth & Michael Mann (The Insider); Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco (Crash); Steven Bochco (“Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue”) and Keir Pearson & Terry George (Hotel Rwanda).