UPDATED with final winners: The Oscar-winning documentary Summer of Soul, Bo Burnham’s Emmy-winning musical comedy special Inside, Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad and Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes are among the final list of winners of 2022 Peabody Awards.
The Peabodys, in their 82nd year, honor the year’s most powerful content across the fields of entertainment, documentary, news, podcast/radio, arts, children’s and youth, and public service programming. The organization based at the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia wrapped up a a weeklong rollout of all 30 winners Thursday.
This year’s awards were presented by the likes of Melissa McCarthy, Morgan Freeman, John Legend, Kevin Bacon, H.E.R., Ethan Hawke, Jon Stewart, Hasan Minhaj, Riz Ahmed, LeVar Burton, Jenny Slate, Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Scott.
Newsman Dan Rather and Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross have already won this year’s Career Achievement Award and Institutional Award, respectively.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), from Hulu, Fox Searchlinght and Onyx Collective, chronicles the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. It won the Arts category today for what the Peabody says “puts us in the front row of a seminal event that should be as legendary as Woodstock but had been relegated to the dusty and neglected storage bins of history.”
Amazon Prime Video’s limited series The Underground Railroad, Jenkins’ adaptation of the Colson Whitehead novel, and Bo Burnham’s Inside from Netflix round out the Entertainment category winners list that includes FX’s Reservation Dogs, Hulu’s Dopesick, HBO Max’s Hacks and HBO Max/CBC’s Sort Of, ABC’s The Wonder Years, and Peacock/Channel 4’s We Are Lady Parts.
This year’s Documentary winners include Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes, a sweeping account of racism in America, along with PBS’ Mayor, A Thousand Cuts, Mr SOUL! and Philly D.A., Betsy West’s documentary My Name Is Pauli Murray and HBO’s In the Same Breath.
Here is the full list of 2022 winners with the Peabodys’ descriptions:
Bo Burnham: Inside
Bo Burnham’s comedy special doubles as a multimedia tour de force, an artistic manifesto, and a lockdown diary. Every new comedic musical number, with titles like “FaceTime with My Mom (Tonight),” “Problematic,” and “White Woman’s Instagram,” feels like a call for help—the kind that gets louder and all the more disquieting the more it drones on. Burnham wrote, directed, edited, and performed this special from the confines of a single room for what feels like months on end, making it the perfect piece of Covid Era art.
The Underground Railroad
In Colson Whitehead’s 2016 novel, the figuratively magical network that aided enslaved people in their pursuit of freedom took on a real mythical valence: the miracle of The Underground Railroad was powered by a literal locomotive. Director Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of Whitehead’s book follows the enslaved Cora, weaving in an immersive sensory experience of the land that both aided and foiled her, poignant moments of connection between characters spanning generations, and weighty lessons about the utter devastation of the transatlantic slave trade.
Plan B, PASTEL, Big Indie with Amazon Studios (Amazon Prime Video)
We Are Lady Parts
The rebellious spirit of the Sex Pistols meets the guiding wisdom of the Quran in We Are Lady Parts, Nida Manzoor’s subversive British comedy about an all-female, all-Muslim punk band. Dressed in hijabs and ripped jeans, niqab face scarves and combat boots, the women are poised to infiltrate London’s punk patriarchy with original songs like “Voldemort Under My Headscarf” and “Ain’t No One Gonna Honour Kill My Sister But Me.” This irreverent, charming, and utterly fresh series, obliterates MENA and South Asian stereotypes and fearlessly tackles taboos about Islam, offering a multifaceted depiction of Muslim women rarely seen on screen.
Working Title Television, a part of Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group (Peacock, Channel 4)
The Wonder Years
Masterfully altering the comedic premise of the original series to expound on the uniqueness of Black American life in the late 1960s—the pilot opens the week Dr. King was killed—this reboot points out how much there is to overcome, still, in our current time of racial reckoning. What makes it work is the crisp, pitch-perfect timing of narrator Don Cheadle as the older, wiser version of main character Dean Williams, and the wonderfully natural portrayal of Dean in his youth by Elisha “EJ” Williams.
20th Television (ABC)
HBO Max’s Hacks became a word-of-mouth hit thanks to the brilliantly funny intergenerational pairing of Jean Smart as standup legend Deborah Vance and Hannah Einbinder as Ava Daniels, the desperate young comedy writer sent to freshen up Deborah’s act. Created by Broad City writers Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky, the series follows Deborah and Ava as they try to revive their respective careers despite the entrapments of Vegas culture and the sexism that haunts multiple generations of women in comedy.
Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Paulilu, First Thought Productions, Fremulon Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment (HBO/HBO Max)
Sabi is set on changing their life. They really should leave that part-time nanny job behind. They really should dump that homo-ish boyfriend of theirs. They really should move to Berlin with their BFF and start a newer, queerer life abroad. But then an accident forces Sabi to choose the kids they nanny over their own brighter future. With its blazingly original comedic sensibility, Sort Of spins a somewhat simple sitcom-sounding premise into a dry-humored and tender portrait of a queer nonbinary individual embracing the multitudes they contain within.
Sphere Media Toronto (CBC, HBO Max)
Dopesick brings to life the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States, courtesy of the now-infamous Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, the company responsible for the drug OxyContin. The Michael Keaton-starring limited series is truly a gut punch, forcing us to see, constantly and unwaveringly, how the choices the Sackler family and its company made directly led to the destruction of countless lives and families.
Hulu, Danny Strong Productions, John Goldwyn Productions, The Littlefield Company, 20th Television (Hulu)
Reservation Dogs follows the scrappy adventures of four indigenous youth—Elora, Bear, Cheese and Willie—as they drift through life in Oklahoma. Co-creators Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo, citizen of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, offer a long-overdue show that takes seriously the hopes, dreams, and electricity of its youthful native protagonists while tackling fatherless households, addiction, discrimination, and grief with aplomb. The series brims with surrealist imagination and deadpan humor that vividly captures a sense of defiant joy in the face of withering dislocation.
FX Productions (FX)
Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
In the concert documentary film Summer of Soul, musician and debut director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson puts us in the front row of a seminal event that should be as legendary as Woodstock but had been relegated to the dusty and neglected storage bins of history: the Harlem Cultural Festival in the summer of 1969. The film weaves together interviews with attendees and cultural commentators for context with astonishing footage of festival performances from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, and many more.
A Vulcan Productions Inc. Production, In Association with Concordia Studio, Play/Action Pictures, LarryBilly Productions, Produced by Mass Distraction Media and RadicalMedia (Hulu, Searchlight Pictures, Onyx Collective)
Exterminate All the Brutes
In our current moment of intense dispute and contestation, when the clash of narratives and history are reduced to disputes over truth and feelings, disinformation, and gaslighting, Raoul Peck’s documentary series is an uncompromising commitment to evidence, science, ethics, and morality. It asks viewers to consider the continuing impact of racial hierarchies, land seizure, and the plunder and profit of cultures throughout the world, placing important historical movements, narratives, and alliances on the global stage rather than leaving them merely as isolated national or local stories.
HBO Presents a Velvet Film Production (HBO/HBO Max)
How do you run a city when you don’t have a country? The documentary Mayor answers this question by following Musa Hadid, the charismatic and compassionate mayor of Ramallah, as he goes about his daily duties running the Palestinian, West Bank city of 60,000 people. Deadpan municipal humor, quiet outrage, and civic duty in the face of staggering injustice drive this engaging film from director David Osit.
American Documentary | POV, Rosewater Pictures (PBS)
In the Same Breath
Nanfu Wang’s beautifully realized film is a personal essay-cum-verité chronicle of the early months of the pandemic in Wuhan, China. A towering achievement, the documentary offers viewers unprecedented access to the frontline workers in Wuhan hospitals during the months when no one knew much about a novel coronavirus, with many of Wang’s camera operators opting for anonymity even in the film’s credits—a powerful reminder of the risk they took in capturing what state media carefully kept out of view.
HBO Documentary Films Presents a Motto Pictures/Little Horse Crossing the River/ Little Lantern Company Production (HBO/HBO Max)
A Thousand Cuts
FRONTLINE’s A Thousand Cuts introduces viewers to Maria Ressa, the Nobel Prize-winning journalist who dared to champion press freedom in the face of President Rodrigo Duterte’s authoritarian crackdown on the news media in the Philippines. Directed by Ramona Diaz, the documentary takes us inside the escalating conflict between the government and Ressa’s online news site, Rappler, highlighting systems of oppression fostered by autocratic regimes and fueled by profit-driven social media networks.
FRONTLINE with CineDiaz, Motto Pictures and Concordia Studio (PBS/GBH/FRONTLINE)
My Name is Pauli Murray
A towering figure in mid-twentieth century law—Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall cited them as an intellectual influence—Pauli Murray finally gets their due in Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s My Name is Pauli Murray. Using Murray’s own words and excavating the personal history that informed the distinguished lawyer, poet, priest, and writer, Cohen and West have crafted an indelible portrait of a figure who deserves to be better known.
Drexler Films, Storyville Films, Participant (Amazon Prime Video)
The Philadelphia District Attorney at the heart of this Independent Lens docuseries is Larry Krasner, a criminal justice reform-minded lawyer who approached his role as a chance to rethink how the city of Philadelphia understood criminality. As Krasner ushers in a new era in the D.A office, facing blowback both from career staffers and local officials (including the increasingly combative police department), Krasner’s story becomes emblematic of the challenges facing those intent on restructuring a broken system.
All Ages Productions, Department of Motion Pictures, PBS, ITVS, Topic (PBS)
High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America
Building on the research of food historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris, High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America charts the evolution of Black foodways with both clarity and awe. Taking viewers across the Atlantic from Benin to South Carolina and up the eastern coast of the United States, High on the Hog serves as a corrective to histories that have excluded Black people’s contributions from this country’s culinary records.
A One Story Up Production and Pilgrim Media Group for Netflix (Netflix)
A joyful tribute to the local television program SOUL! and its creator, the impresario Ellis Haizlip, the documentary film Mr. SOUL! is a loving celebration of Black creative achievement and vitality in late twentieth-century America, capturing the majesty, confidence, and revolutionary force of Black artists, intellectuals, writers, and performers. The time between 1968 and 1972 was an extraordinary period in American broadcast television and cultural history, and Haizlip’s SOUL! was uncompromisingly and unapologetically Black, serving as a visual and sonic record of Black Americans at their most radical.
Shoes In The Bed Productions, ITVS, Black Public Media (BPM), WNET (PBS)
The task of fleeing Eritrea, the small nation sometimes reductively called the North Korea of Africa, is the kind of perilous journey that often goes unchronicled for fear of retaliation. Amid threat of incarceration, torture, and execution in a country with no free press, the subjects and filmmakers of the FRONTLINE documentary Escaping Eritrea conducted an unprecedented, years-long investigation. With rigor and care, the film captures not just the myriad abuses faced by Eritreans within the country and on various treacherous migration routes, but also the historical roots of the current regime.
FRONTLINE, Channel 4 (PBS / GBH / FRONTLINE)
After nearly 50 years of legal precedent with the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, The Appointment follows 21-year-old college senior “Madi,” who after discovering she is six weeks pregnant, must navigate life under the restrictive abortion ban levied last year in Texas. With concise explanations and empathetic reporting, The Appointment lays out just how common Madi’s predicament is and diligently documents the lengths Madi must go in order to obtain an abortion. Her story poignantly demonstrates the entrapments that would become more widespread after the fall of Roe.
ABC News Nightline (ABC News)
Reporter Chris Vanderveen’s investigation into the deadly use of the prolonged prone restraint technique by police officers, and the department policy that supported it, proves the power of collective local reporting with direct national impact. Researching body camera footage, autopsy reports, and court filings, Vanderveen created a searchable database that provided specific patterns so reporters could report similar cases in their areas. Over two years, the database became a catalyst for multiple news stories in other cities and for uncovering preventable deaths.
KUSA-TV, KARE-TV (KUSA)
Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol
In a masterful display of forensic journalism, this 40-minute documentary video from The New York Times meticulously reconstructs January 6, 2021, when, at the President Trump-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, a mob sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and stifle the peaceful transfer of power. The result is a culmination of a six-month investigation and reporting from thousands of cell phone videos, police radio dispatches, news broadcasts and footage, photographs, livestreams, social media postings, and police bodycam footage that pinpoints what happened that day—and shows just how close the political insurrection was to being successful.
The New York Times (The New York Times)
January 6th Reporting
On January 6, 2021, as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the victor of the 2020 presidential election, PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins was the only reporter broadcasting live on television in the halls of the building, outside the lockdown. Her reporting provides a critical and singular document of the historic day’s events as they happened, invaluable for viewers’ understanding in the moment as well as for historians of the future.
PBS NewsHour (PBS NewsHour)
NBC Bay Area: “The Moms of Magnolia Street” & “No Man’s Land: Fighting for Fatherhood in a Broken System”
In two stories focused on unhoused mothers and fathers, the NBC Bay Area news teams examine the complexity and reach of the housing crisis produced by ineffective public policy and predations of economic greed. “The Moms of Magnolia Street” reports on a group of unhoused mothers, from their decision to occupy an abandoned house, to their eviction, and finally to collective action efforts that led to their partnership with the city of Oakland to purchase the home. In “No Man’s Land: Fighting for Fatherhood in a Broken System,” the investigative team follows the lives of single men and their children as they navigate housing bureaucracies, sensitively challenging stereotypes of single fathers, Black fathers, and formerly incarcerated fathers.
NBC Bay Area (NBC Bay Area)
ABC15 Arizona’s reports on the arrests of street protesters and the very questionable tactics used against them by local police is a compelling series that warns us of the present-day erosion of our civil liberties. The investigation found that, in 2020, Phoenix police and county prosecutors routinely exaggerated and lied to grand juries to obtain felony charges against protesters. As a direct result of this series, 39 felony protest cases were dismissed, high-level officials resigned, the police chief was suspended, dozens of officers and prosecutors were reassigned, and the Department of Justice opened a sweeping pattern-of-practice investigation.
ABC15 Arizona (KNXV)
Vice’s series Transnational spotlights the stories of various trans communities around the world: from the ballroom scene in Detroit to a government-sponsored safe haven in Mexico City, with stops in the United Kingdom and Indonesia along the way. In grouping them together and cutting across them—building, as it were, a trans-national collective—Vice’s team pushes back against notions of the global trans community as being any kind of monolith, honoring collectivity in individuality, the many in the few.
Vice News (Vice News Tonight)
“‘So They Know We Existed’: Palestinians Film War in Gaza”
In just a heart-wrenching 14 minutes, “So They Know We Existed” captures the devastation to daily civilian life during the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May 2021 in Gaza. Citizen cell phone footage from the attacks and interviews after the fact document a harrowing portrait of life amid warfare, from a 10-year-old girl to teenage sisters; a young man who lost his father; a musician who lost his livelihood to an explosion, among others. The piece presents a range of civilian Palestinian perspectives and bears witness to the resilience of those who continue to survive the trauma of war long after ceasefire.
The New York Times (The New York Times)
Finn and the Bell
Finn and the Bell assembles a quiet portrait of a small Vermont community grappling with a young man’s suicide, and the beauty of its method lies in how the piece universalizes the feeling of a wake. Using a drifting, non-narrated format that emphasizes the voices of those left behind, podcast host Erica Heilman gently guides the emotion through the overwhelming pang of loss toward celebration of a life, giving us a tender treatment of a community in grief.
Rumble Strip (Rumble Strip)
In Southlake, a northwest Dallas suburb where a 2018 video of white high school students chanting the N-word went viral, the uproar and reckoning the controversy stirred would have put the mostly white enclave on a more inclusive path were it not for the way a school board election allowed the incident and its fallout to become a lightning rod for debate about race and “critical race theory.” In this podcast, NBC reporters Mike Hixenbaugh and Antonia Hylton take listeners through the sordid four-year history of a local story that has national implications for us all.
NBC News Audio (NBC News)
Throughline: Afghanistan: The Center of the World
Throughline’s magisterial three-part miniseries on Afghanistan offers the long view of a country that Americans often treat as a threat, afterthought, or tragedy, particularly after the chaotic withdrawal of the U.S. military in 2021. By centering the country in its own story and pulling back the frame to consider Afghanistan as a full “civilization,” the team restores a necessary sense of scale to what is often lost in our understanding of the region across the decades and centuries of countless western media reports.
CHILDREN & YOUTH
City of Ghosts
The winsome charm of Elizabeth Ito’s City of Ghosts lies in its simple premise: to commune with haunting specters is not a scary prospect. Instead, it’s an opportunity to learn about local history, a chance to reconnect with one’s heritage. Centered on a “Ghost Club” led by Zelda, a young girl who doesn’t blink when encountering a fluffy ghost haunting a restaurant or a drumming one keeping a cafe owner up at night, this animated mockumentary series is a love letter to Los Angeles and a textured mosaic that understands the sunny city contains as many stories as it does people and buildings.
A Netflix Original Series (Netflix)