Humanitas nominees announced

Award reps human values in film, TV

Nominations for this year’s Humanitas Prize, recognizing film and television writers whose work champions human values, were announced Tuesday.

Last year, in conjunction with the Sundance Institute, the Humanitas organization announced a new prize category and an additional $10,000 award created to honor writers of independent films.

The winners of this year’s eight Humanitas Prizes, selected from 439 entries, will be announced at the org’s annual luncheon July 12 at the Hilton Universal Hotel.

Nominees include “The Straight Story” written by John Roach and Mary Sweeney; “The Insider” written by Eric Roth and Michael Mann; and Neil Jordan’s adaptation of “The End of the Affair” in the feature film category.

In the TV category, there are three nominees for network offerings of 90 minutes or longer: “Anya’s Bell,” by David Alexander; “Joan of Arc,” part two, by Michael Alexander Miller and Ronald Parker; and “Tuesdays With Morrie,” by Tom Rickman.

As for 90-minute-plus cable/PBS offerings, noms go to “Dash and Lilly,” by Jerry Ludwig; “Freedom Song,” by Phil Alden Robinson and Stanley Weiser; and “A Lesson Before Dying,” by Ann Peacock.

In the running in the 60-minute category are two episodes of “The West Wing” (“In Excelsis Deo,” written by Aaron Sorkin and Rick Cleveland and “This Sabbath Day” written by Sorkin with the story credited to Lawrence O’Donnell Jr. and Paul Redford and Sorkin); and an episode of “Once and Again” (titled “Strangers and Brothers” written by Richard Kramer).

In the 30-minute category, an episode of “The Smart Guy” titled “Never Too Young” written by Steve Young; an episode of “Frasier” called “Something About Dr. Mary” written by Jay Kogen; and an episode of “3rd Rock From the Sun,” “Dick Who’s Coming to Dinner,” written by David Goetsch and Jason Venokur, are nominated.

Vying in the Sundance feature competition are Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges’ screenplay for “What’s Cooking?,” Gina Prince-Bythewood’s screenplay for “Love and Basketball” and Roger Rueff’s screenplay for “The Big Kahuna,” all competing for $10,000.

Past Humanitas winners include Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption”) and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (“Good Will Hunting”).

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