The 44th Annual Humanitas Prize Announces Winners, Including: “Dear White People,” “On the Basis of Sex,” “Mary Poppins Returns”

By Rebecca Norris · February 9, 2019

The writers of Netflix’s “Dear White People,” Focus Features’ “On the Basis of Sex,” and Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” were among those who took top honors at the Humanitas Awards ceremony on Friday night. The annual Humanitas Prize, now in its 44th year, honors film and television screenwriters whose work explores the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way, and also seeks to empower the next generation of writers.

Humanitas was created in 1974 by Fr. Ellwood “Bud” Kieser, who passionately sought to change the television landscape. According to Humanitas, Kieser felt that broadcast television could have tremendous power to both “entertain” and “uplift,” but that it wasn’t reaching its potential. “People aren’t born fulfilled human beings,” said Kieser. “The become fulfilled through a long humanizing process. Film and television have incredible power to help that humanizing process by which we all become more compassionate, more loving and more forgiving.”

58 writers were nominated in 30-minute comedy, 60-minute drama, children’s teleplay, independent feature film, drama feature film, comedy feature film, family feature film, and documentary categories. College students were also honored via The David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship and The Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Fellowship. The winning writer in each college category receives $20,000 in prize money.

This year, Humanitas recognized “Friends” and “Grace and Frankie” co-creator Marta Kauffman with the Kieser Award, and “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris with the Voice for Change Award.

In addition to its annual awards, Humanitas hosts the New Voices screenwriting grant program, pairing up-and-coming writers with seasoned industry mentors, and Play LA, a program that selects new Los Angeles-area playwrights to work on new plays from the ground up. Both competitions for emerging writers offer grants to the recipients.

Prize winners were announced at the annual Humanitas event on Friday, Feb. 8 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

With the exception of those in the independent feature film and college fellowship categories, all prize recipients choose a nonprofit focused on nurturing the next generation of writers to be the recipient of their winnings.

The full list of the 44th Annual Humanitas winners and finalists is below:


30-minute Comedy Category
Winner: “Dear White People,” “Volume 2: Chapter VIII” – Written by Jack Moore
“One Day at a Time,” “Hello, Penelope” – Written by Michelle Badillo and Caroline Levich
“The Good Place,” “Jeremy Bearimy” – Written by Megan Amram
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Mid-way to Mid-town” – Written and directed by Amy

60-minute Drama Category
Winner: “God Friended Me,” “Pilot” – Written by Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt
“Orange Is The New Black,” “Be Free” – Written by Brian Chamberlayne
“The Good Doctor,” “More” – Written by David Shore and Lloyd Gilyard Jr.
“This is Us,” “This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life” – Written by Kay Oyegun

Children’s Teleplay Category
Winner: “Alexa & Katie,” “Winter Formal, Part 2” – Written by Matthew Carlson
“My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, “Surf And/Or Turf” – Written by Brian Hohlfeld
“Muppet Babies, “You Say Potato, I Say Best Friend” – Written by Laura Sreebny
“Z-O-M-B-I-E-S” – Written by David Light and Joseph Raso, based on “Zombies & Cheerleaders”

Independent Feature Film Category
Winner: “Brian Banks” – Written by Doug Atchison
“Laugh Or Die” – Screenplay by Heikki Kujanpää and Mikko Reitala
“Sorry To Bother You” – Written and directed by Boots Riley
“The Grizzlies” – Written by Moira Walley-Beckett and Graham Yost
“The Rider” – Written and directed by Chloé Zhao

Drama Feature Film Category
Winner: “On the Basis of Sex” – Written by Daniel Stiepleman
“Black Panther” – Written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, based on The Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
“Boy Erased” – Screenplay by Joel Edgerton, based on the memoir “Boy Erased” by Garrard Conley
“What They Had” – Written and directed by Elizabeth Chomko

Comedy Feature Film Category
Winner: “Love, Simon” – Screenplay by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker, based on the novel “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli
“Boundaries” – Written and directed by Shana Feste
“Crazy Rich Asians” – Screenplay by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, based on the novel “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan
“Eighth Grade” – Written and directed by Bo Burnham

Family Feature Film Category

Winner: “Mary Poppins Returns” – Screenplay by David Magee, screen story by David Magee, Rob Marshall, John Deluca, based upon the “Mary Poppins” stories by P.L. Travers
“Christopher Robin” – Screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Tom Mccarthy and Allison Schroeder, story by Greg Brooker and Mark Steven Johnson, based on the characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard
“Incredibles 2” – Written and directed by Brad Bird
“Isle Of Dogs” – Screenplay by Wes Anderson, story by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Kunichi Nomura

Documentary Category
Winner: “Stolen Daughters: Kidnapped By Boko Haram” – Written and produced by Karen Edwards, directed by Gemma Atwal
“Transmilitary” – Concept by Fiona Dawson, written by Jamie Coughlin and Gabriel Silverman, directed by Gabriel Silverman, co-directed by Fiona Dawson
“The Fourth Estate,” “Part 3: American Carnage” – Directed by Liz Garbus and Jenny Carchman, produced by Liz Garbus, Jenny Carchman, Justin Wilkes
“The Price Of Free” – Story by Davis Guggenheim, Derek Doneen, Sarah Anthony, directed by Derek Doneen, produced by Davis Guggenheim and Sarah Anthony

The David And Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship
Winner: “Fernando” – Adam Lujan (NYU)
“Band Of Mothers” – Sabrina Brennan (USC)
“Head Case” – Ellie Goodman (Northwestern University)

The Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Fellowship
Winner: “Rue Pigalle” – Jessica Shields (Columbia University)
“The Bargeman” – Joe Hemphill (Boston University)
“Wilcox Park” – Omar Willis (USC)

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