At a ceremony in Los Angeles on February 22, the organization Humanitas announced the recipients of its 42nd Annual Humanitas Prize, recognizing the screenwriters behind two films and one television series from 21st Century Fox. Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder, who wrote Fox 2000’s Hidden Figures, tied with Robert Schenkkan of Hacksaw Ridge to win the Feature Film category, while Nate Parker and Dan Fogelman were honored for writing Fox Searchlight’s The Birth of a Nation and the 20th Century Fox Television production This Is Us, respectively. The Humanitas Prize celebrates onscreen stories that reflect a dedication to social progress and inspire compassion, hope and understanding.
“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,” said Humanitas executive director Cathleen Young. “Stories that inspire, engage and bring together are more important than ever in a world fractured along political and culture fault lines.”
The Humanitas Prize includes an award of $10,000 to each of the winners, many of whom announced their plans to donate the winnings to a nonprofit. Fogelman will donate his cash prize to the Motion Picture Television Fund, which provides health care services to those in the entertainment community. Parker will make his contribution to Together We Rise, which supports foster child programs across the United States.
“I write for my children,” Parker said during his acceptance speech. “As I write, I always ask myself, ‘What do I owe them?’ …This moment doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the little kids.”
Hidden Figures continues to serve as the center of social impact campaigns encouraging young women and people of color to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and math. The film was the basis for the Search for Hidden Figures scholarship contest last fall, and 21CF recently partnered with AMC Theatres to host free screenings of the film in order to celebrate Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, as well as build broader awareness of the film’s true story and inspire younger generations to follow their dreams.
Learn more about the 2017 Humanitas Prize, including the full list of this year’s winners.