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‘Going Clear,’ ‘The Jinx,’ ‘What Happened, Miss Simone’ Named 2015 Peabody Awards Winners

HBO’s documentaries scored high marks from the annual Peabody Awards, winning nods for four of its efforts: the Scientology expose “Going Clear”; an intimate exploration of autism, “How to Dance in Ohio”; “Night Will Fall,” about the making of a Holocaust film; and the true crime phenomenon “The Jinx,” about Robert Durst.

These documentary and education winners, including Netflix’s riveting “What Happened, Miss Simone” round out the Peabody 30, the coveted annual awards which are administered by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass CommunicationPead

The entertainment and children’s winners, including ABC’s “Black-ish” and USA’s “Mr. Robot,” and the news, radio and web winners, which included “This American Life” and HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” were previously announced. A full list of winners is available at peabodyawards.com.

The awards will be handed out on May 21 at a ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

Here’s the full list of winners in the documentary and education category, followed by description from the judges:

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” (HBO)

Jigsaw Productions, HBO Documentary Films and Sky Atlantic 

More than an exposé, more like a demolition, Alex Gibney’s film about the history and hardball tactics of the Church of Scientology draws its persuasive power from letters and documents contradicting the fabrications of its late founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and from blistering testimonials by prominent ex-church officials and former members about abuse and corruption.

“How to Dance in Ohio” (HBO)

HBO Documentary Films, Gidalya Pictures and Blumhouse

Filmmaker Alexandra Shiva focuses on three young women in Columbus, Ohio, who are living with autism and facing the daunting prospect of their first spring formal. The power and beauty of this closely observed, intimate documentary is that it doesn’t patronize its subjects or its viewer with easy sentimentality.

Independent Lens: “India’s Daughter” (PBS)

Assassin Films, BBC Storyville, UK-INDIA, and Tathagat Films in association with Gamini Plyatissa Foundation, Vital Voices Global Partnership, DR, Plus Pictures Aps, CBC News Network, SVT, IKON, RTS, SRF and RAI

The internationally infamous 2012 gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical student, in Delhi is the impetus for this unflinching, deeply unflattering examination of the misogyny embedded in Indian society.

“ISIS in Afghanistan” (PBS/WGBH)

Frontline

Making the most of a difficult, dangerous assignment, Afghani journalist Najibullah Quraishi and his producing team got deep into ISIS-held territory to document its growing power and appeal in Afghanistan, its conflict with the Taliban and, most unnerving, its indoctrination and weapons training of children as young as 5.

“Listen to Me Marlon” (Showtime)

Showtime Documentary Films Presents, A Passions Pictures Production, Cutler Productions

Thanks to an imaginative director, a collection of audio tapes that Marlon Brando recorded over the years and a voice-synched, holograph-like image of the late, great “method” actor, we get to hear Brando share deeply personal thoughts about how he became the man and artist he was. It’s strange and wonderful, like a CGI resurrection.

“Night Will Fall” (HBO)

Spring Films, Angel TV, and Ratpac Documentary Films in association with HBO Documentary Films

“Night Will Fall” deftly weaves two stories into one documentary tale – one about the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps, the other about the changing policies of postwar reconstruction that pulled atrocity images in and out of public view. The film artfully shows us an obscure moment in Holocaust history that attests to the enduring power of visual documentation.

POV: “Don’t Tell Anyone” (No Le Digas a Nadie) (PBS)

A co-production of Portret Films, American Documentary | POV And Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) with major funding provided by The Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB).

An activist on behalf of young, undocumented immigrants like herself, 24-year-old Angy Rivera, a New York City resident since she was 4, is the eloquent focus of this documentary. What makes it even more memorable is how filmmaker Mikaela Shwer uses Rivera’s story to illuminate the plight of untold numbers of immigrants living in secrecy and fear.

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” (HBO)

Hit the Ground Running

Andrew Jarecki’s seductive true-crime documentary takes viewers through a dark looking glass, down a rabbit hole and into the mind of Robert Durst, a real-estate tycoon’s heir and an elusive suspect in three murders, who tells a self-serving tale but then, stunningly, offhandedly and on-microphone, confesses.

“What Happened, Miss Simone?” (Netflix)

A Radical Media Production in association with Moxie Firecracker for Netflix

Tracing Nina Simone’s rise from classical piano prodigy to jazz/pop star, civil rights activist and expatriate, while showcasing her brilliance without dodging her mental-health problems and explosive personal life, this finely-crafted documentary is both a celebration and a compassionate post-mortem.

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