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‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘Grace & Frankie,’ ‘13th’ and More Top List of Finalists for Humanitas Prize

Writers for the socially conscious “Hidden Figures” and “Tallulah” are among this year’s finalists for the 42nd annual Humanitas Prize, announced Wednesday by Humanitas executive director Cathleen Young and president Ali LeRoi.

Thirty-two different writers will compete for $100,000 in prize money, awarded to those whose work “inspires compassion, hope and understanding in the human family.” The winners will be announced at the annual luncheon in February at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

Episodes from “Madam Secretary” and “The Night Of” compete in the 60-minute category, while the non-fiction “120 Days: Undocumented in America” goes up against “13th” in the documentary category. Finalists also include professors from various universities vying for the drama fellowship and David & Lynn Angell Comedy Fellowship.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Added LeRoi, “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.”

Past winners of the Humanitas Prize include the writers of “12 Years a Slave,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Precious.” Over $3 million has been distributed to these and more than 330 other writers since 1974.

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 categorize

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