Thirty-Two writers were named finalists in nine categories for the 42nd Annual HUMANITAS Prize, it was announced today by HUMANITAS Executive Director Cathleen Young and President Ali LeRoi.

The writers will compete for $100,000 in prize money to be handed out at the annual luncheon, which will take place on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. The HUMANITAS Prize was created in 1974 to honor film and television writers whose work inspires compassion, hope and understanding in the human family.

“We received a huge number of worthy submissions this year, which made narrowing the field down to these exceptional finalists especially challenging — and rewarding,” said Young. “These were truly the best of the best, writers whose work engaged, illuminated, inspired and entertained, all while exploring the range of human experience from fresh and diverse perspectives. Or as HUMANITAS founder Father Bud Keiser put it, works that ‘tackle the big questions…and challenge us to seek out our own answers.’”

“At a time of great cultural and political division in our country and around the world, it’s easy to write off entertainment as a frivolous distraction,” added LeRoi. “But great stories can play an essential role in people’s lives by reminding us of our common humanity and motivating us to be our best selves. Many of the extraordinary works by this year’s finalists touch on issues of inclusion, equality and tolerance, ideas that are of particular importance in today’s conflict-ridden world.”

The HUMANITAS Prize finalists are:

Feature Film Category
ARRIVAL Written by: Eric Heisserer
HACKSAW RIDGE Written by: Robert Schenkkan
HIDDEN FIGURES Written by: Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

Sundance Feature Film Category

THE BIRTH OF A NATION Written by: Nate Parker
FIRST GIRL I LOVED Written by: Kerem Sanga
TALLULAH Written by: Siân Heder

30-Minute Category

BLACK-ISH “Hope” Written by: Kenya Barris
GRACE & FRANKIE “The Party” Written by: Alexa Junge
THE REAL O’NEALS “The Real Grandma” Written by: Casey Johnson

60-Minute Category

THIS IS US “Pilot” Written by: Dan Fogelman
MADAM SECRETARY “Waiting for Taleju” Written by Joy Gregory
THE NIGHT OF “The Call of the Wild” Written by: Richard Price & Steven Zaillian

Children’s Animated Category

THE LION GUARD “Never Judge a Hyena by Its Spots” Written by: Kevin Hopps
NINA’S WORLD “Nina’s Brother for a Day” Written by: Maria Escobedo
SOFIA THE FIRST “Dads and Daughters Day” Written by: Rachel Ruderman & Laurie Israel

Children’s Live Action Category

AN AMERICAN GIRL STORY “Melody 1963: Love Has to Win” Written by: Alison McDonald
DEGRASSI: NEXT CLASS “#TurntUp” Written by: Courtney Jane Walker
GIRL MEETS WORLD “Girl Meets The Forgiveness Project” Written by: Matthew Nelson

Documentary Category

13th Written by: Ava DuVernay
JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY Written by: Chris Chuang & Heather MacDonald

David & Lynn Angell Comedy Fellowship

Magdalen Silberman, University of Texas at Austin
Jonathan Talbert, Loyola Marymount University
Beau Ballinger, University of Texas at Austin

Drama Fellowship

Daniel James Boddicker, Columbia University
J.J. Braider, University of Southern California
Munis Rashid, American Film Institute

Since its inception in 1974, The HUMANITAS Prize has awarded over $3 million to more than 330 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: Wash Westmoreland & Richard Glatzer (Still Alice); John Ridley (12 Years A Slave); Damien Chazelle (Whiplash); Larry Kramer (The Normal Heart); David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook); Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild); Denis Leary & Peter Tolan (“Rescue Me’); 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 and 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 and Pete Docter (WALL-E); Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl); Eric Roth & Michael Mann (The Insider); Paul Haggis (Crash); Steven Bochco (“Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue”) and Keir Pearson & Terry George (Hotel Rwanda).

For more information, please visit the HUMANITAS Prize at

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