EXCLUSIVE: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I truly treasure the Peabody because of the way in which it is determined, said Array founder Ava DuVernay on Tuesday as she and the decade-old collective were unveiled as this year’s recipient of the Peabody’s Institutional Award.
Citing the “tremendous honor,” the Oscar-nominated director (and recent Yale honorary Doctor of the Arts, among a trophy case of recognition) went on to note that “the body that decides this honor is diverse, in cultural background, but also in professional expertise and areas of interest. It’s just a beautiful honor.”
Chosen by the Peabody Board of Jurors, the Institutional Award spotlights groups, outlets and specific projects “for their enduring body of work and their iconic impact on both the media landscape and the public imagination,” according to the Peabodys themselves.
“It was 10 years ago when Ava DuVernay created a unique, multi-platform arts and social impact collective dedicated to narrative change,” said Winfrey in a video celebrating the award to the When They See Us filmmaker and the 40-member-strong Array. “Now this vision manifested into a production organization led by a quartet of mission-driven entities,” the OWN boss added “The film distribution arm Array Releasing, the content company Array Filmworks, the programming and production hub Array Creative Campus and the nonprofit group Array Alliance.”
You can see and hear more from DuVernay and Winfrey in the video below that accompanies today’s news:
“As an Academy Award nominee and multiple Peabody and Emmy Award winner, Ava has leveraged her remarkable success to amplify and uplift women directors and storytellers of color,” Peabody executive director Jeffrey Jones told Deadline on Tuesday. “Array has produced an incredible slate of projects centered around Black experiences and has led many inspirational initiatives to support up-and-coming filmmakers of color. It’s an honor to name Array winner of this year’s Institutional Award.”
This latest acclaim for CAA-repped DuVernay and the ever-expanding Array follows the collective linking earlier this month with the long reach of Google. The tech giant and Array (run by Tilane Jones and Mercedes Cooper, both of whom received well-deserved shout-outs today) have created a new $500,000 feature film grant available to up-and-coming creatives from historically underrepresented communities through the below-the-line focused Array Crew platform launched earlier this year.
In terms of the Peabody Institutional Award, other winners over the pat few years include The Simpsons, 60 Minutes, Sesame Street, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Kartemquin Films, Frontline and ITVS. More overall winners of the 81st annual Peabody Awards will be revealed virtually over the next three weeks.