The History of the Humanitas Prize

There is a distinguished award that is given out annually to special writers for some of the greatest shows that we have seen in the history of American film and television. The award is called The Humanitas Award and was created in 1974 by Father Ellwood “Bud” Kieser. Father Kieser was also the founder of Paulist Productions. The award was meant to create an image of human dignity and meaning for American television and film. The famed journalist Barbara Walters once said that “what the Nobel Peace Prize is to literature and The Pulitzer prize is to journalism, The Humanitas Award is to American television.” President Ali LeRoi also stated that the film and television writers are the source for humanizing the characters that we see on television and film and should therefore be rewarded for their skills, talents and efforts.

The first Humanitas award had only 3 categories that included: 30 minute, 60 minute and 90 minute television. It was given out in 1975 on The Today Show. The categories for this 2018 year will be: Documentary, Sundance Feature Film, 30 Minute, 60 Minute, Children’s Live Action and Children Animation.

The year of 2018 will mark the Forty Third time that the Humanitas Award will be given to great American film and television writers. The award choice will be difficult, according to Ali LeRoi, “as we have a renaissance of writers that could win.” Some of the finalists for this year’s Humanitas award are well known shows that include: “The Game of Thrones”, “Black-ish”, “The Big Bang Theory” and the film “Human Flow.”

From its inception in 1974 and the beginning of handing out awards beginning in 1975, The Humanitas Award has been given to approximately one hundred sixty recipients including special awards. Mostly in the 30 minute, 60 minute and 90 minute categories, with the other categories of Sundance, Children Live action and Children Animation being added on in later years. Please see the list of former winners and nominees within the reference link below.1)

Great films and episodes within some of the best television shows like Good Times, Mash, The Barney Miller Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, Roots, The Waltons, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, The Cosby Show, Cagney and Lacey, Blue Blood, Whitewash, Do You Remember Love, Archie Bunker’s Place, One Day at a Time,NYPD Blue, Hotel Rwanda, Wonderful World of Disney, Life With Louie, Antwone Fisher, George Wallace, Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, Law and Order, Picket Fence and The Flintstone Kids are just some of the winners and nominees for the coveted Humanitas award.

And while there are certainly great actors and actresses in American television and film, it is the writer who is solely responsible for creating the stories with characters that come to life on your television screen. The Humanitas Award is the embodiment of what can be done with a story that has a great writer behind it. And for this reason the Humanitas Award was created. With a rich history of some of the best American films and television shows, the Humanitas Award will always be treasured in the hearts of those writers who created and continue to create American film and television history and legacies. It will also be loved by television viewers who are lucky enough to experience what the writer envisioned

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