DreamWorks’ Academy Award-nominated War Horse, Twentieth Century Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Rio, and Alcon Entertainment’s Dolphin Tale lead the diverse field of 58 nominees for The Humane Society of the United States’ 26th Genesis Awards.

Honoring the news and entertainment media for their outstanding reporting and creative portrayals of animal protection issues in 19 categories, The HSUS’s 26th Genesis Awards, hosted by Dancing with the Stars’ Carrie Ann Inaba, will be presented at a gala ceremony on Saturday, March 24, 2012, at The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, Calif. The event will air as a one-hour special on Animal Planet in May.

Celebrity presenters will include Bill Maher, Kristin Bauer and Pauley Perrette.

“It was an outstanding year for major feature films with strong animal protection content and, most significantly, a combined domestic box office gross of $468 million – $1.17 billion worldwide. Animal welfare concerns, such as chimpanzees being used in research which is addressed in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, are reaching huge audiences, thanks to the quality and engaging storylines of these films,” says Beverly Kaskey, senior director of HSUS Hollywood Outreach and executive producer of the annual Genesis Awards.

In other major categories, the IMAX film Born to be Wild 3D, Buck and One Lucky Elephant are nominated for the Feature Documentary award, while Gordon Ramsay: Shark Bait (BBC America), Madonna of the Mills (HBO) and Nature’s Broken Tail: A Tiger’s Last Journey (PBS) are in contention for the TV Documentary honors. Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Fox’s The Cleveland Show and ABC Family’s Melissa & Joey are up for the Sid Caesar Comedy Award, and A&E’s The Glades and CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 are in line for the Dramatic Series award. Contesting the Talk Show category are the doyennes of television, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Martha Stewart Show.

The world of television, print and online journalism continues to be a constant and groundbreaking source of animal protection coverage, with many notable contenders in this year’s various news media categories, including: ABC’s 20/20 and World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, NBC’s TODAY and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, HLN’s Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Vanity Fair, O, The Oprah Magazine, National Geographic magazine, NY Times.com, The Atlantic.com, and McClatchy Newspapers.

Tickets are available at humanesociety.org/genesis.

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