It was a double double win at the Humanitas Prize ceremony today, with and Hacksaw Ridge taking the top feature film award and Ava DuVernay’s 13th and Jim: The James Foley Story sharing top documentary honors. Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation won in the Sundance Feature Film category. (see full winners list below).
“I write for my children,” Parker told the crowd while accepting his award today at the Four Seasons. “As I write, I always ask myself, ‘What do I owe them?’” The 2016 Sundance winner added, “This moment doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the little kids.”
The lunch for the 42nd annual awards also saw wins for Black-ish’s Kenya Barris and This Is Us’ Dan Fogelman in the prize celebrating film and TV scribes whose work inspires “compassion, hope, and understanding.”
This year’s Humanitas Prize awarded $10,000 each to the winners in its nine categories during today’s ceremony, emceed for a second year in a row by David Hudgens. Of the winners, five will be giving the cash prize to nonprofits: DuVernay, who was not at today’s awards due to filming part of A Wrinkle in Time in New Zealand, plans to hand the money over to ARRAY NOW, the film collective she founded; and Parker said he will donate to the foster-child supporting Together We Rise. Hacksaw Ridge scribes Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight will give their award money to Doctors Without Borders and OXFAM, respectively. Just days before this year’s Academy Awards, This Is Us creator Fogelman says his cash prize will go to the Motion Picture Television Fund.
“Fear is the greatest motivating factor in my life and drives all writers at their core,” said Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker in his keynote speech. “It’s like being a boxer — fear is part of the job,” he added. In his well-received remarks, Coker also addressed the “overt racism,” “daily deportations” and other consequences he sees from the administration of Donald Trump. “We can’t be afraid, we have to get our swagger back,” Coker told the room of writers, advocating “bigger truths” in the work they produce.
President Trump was a topic of many a speech today, with one in particular giving a poignant context. “Donald Trump is running this country like Suge Knight did Death Row,” Black-ish creator Barris said to laughter and applause when accepting his prize. His speech also emphasized the hard work that writers do and the hard work he believes the industry and individuals must do in this era.
See the full list of today’s Humanitas Prize winners below plus the six PLAY LA winners:
Feature Film (tie)
Hidden Figures, written by: Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
Hacksaw Ridge, written by: Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight
Sundance Feature Film
The Birth of a Nation, written by: Nate Parker
Black-ish (“Hope” episode), written by: Kenya Barris
This Is Us (Pilot), written by: Dan Fogelman
Sofia The First (“Dads and Daughters Day” episode), written by: Laurie Israel & Rachel Ruderman
Children’s Live Action
An American Girl Story (“Melody 1963: Love Has to Win” episode), written by: Alison McDonald
13th, written by: Ava DuVernay
Jim: The James Foley Story, written by: Chris Chuang with Heather MacDonald and Brian Oakes
The David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship
Magdalen Silberman, University of Texas at Austin
The Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Fellowship
Munis Rashid, American Film Institute
New Voices: Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Morenike Balogun, Andrea Wachner, Tyler Greene, Kim Izzo
PLAY LA winners, who will receive $1,500 each for their new projects:
Patrick Burleigh is a screenwriter and playwright from Los Angeles. He has written screenplays for Dreamworks, Prana, Lin Pictures, Anonymous Content and Archer Gray, among others. His plays have been seen and heard at Atlantic Theater Company, The Blank Theater, The Echo, New York Stage & Film, Naked Angels, Edinburgh Fringe and Dublin Fringe. He was educated at Dartmouth and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Sigrid Gilmer makes black comedies that are historically bent, totally perverse, joyfully irreverent and are concerned with issues of identity, pop culture and contemporary American society. Her work has been performed at the Skylight Theatre, Pavement Group, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Cornerstone Theater Company and Highways Performance Space. She is a winner of the Map Fund Creative Exploration Grant, the James Irving Foundation Fellowship and is a USA Ford Fellow in Theatre.
Corey Hinkle won the 2015 Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville for his play, This Quintessence of Dust, which premiered at the Humana Festival. He is also the recipient of two Jerome fellowships and a McKnight Advancement Grant. In Los Angeles, he has developed plays with Moving Arts and the Playwrights Union.
Meg Miroshnik’s plays include The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (Yale Rep, Alliance), The Droll (Undermain, Pacific Playwrights Festival), The Tall Girls (Alliance, O’Neill, La Jolla DNA Festival), and Lady Tattoo (Pacific Playwrights Festival). She is a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center and the recipient of a Whiting Award. Upcoming projects include commissions for Steppenwolf and Yale Rep and a Marivaux adaptation for the Olney Theatre Center. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is a founding member of The Kilroys.
Tatiana Suarez-Pico is a playwright and a screenwriter. Residencies and fellowships include: Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program Fellow at The Juilliard School, Dramatists Guild fellow, Royal Court Theatre fellow, Mary Louise Rockwell Scholar at ESPA/ Primary Stages, MFA Playwrights’ Workshop at The Kennedy Center and the Lark’s US/Mexico Exchange. Television credits include Parenthood, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. She earned an MFA at the Actors Studio Drama School/New School University.
Chelsea Sutton is a playwright and fiction writer. Her plays have been developed locally with Rogue Artists Ensemble, Skylight Theatre, The Vagrancy, and Brimmer Street Theatre. She has been a finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn Playwrights Conference, Ingram New Works Lab, Stanley Drama Award, Woodward/Newman Drama Award and Reva Shiner Comedy Award. She is a 2016 Emerging Voices Fellow with Pen Center USA.
David Hudgins repeated his MC role for the second year in a row for the Humanitas Awards today.