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Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell Finalists for 2013 Humanitas Prize

By Aaron Couch

July 17, 2013

The Humanitas Prize has announced the finalists for its 39th annual awards honoring film and television writing. In the feature film category, the finalists are Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and John Gatins (Flight).

The $95,000 in prize money honors writing that explores the human experience in an entertaining and delightful way. In the Sundance feature film category, Ryan Coogler is nominated for his festival favorite Fruitvale Station, Jeff Nichols earned a nomination for the Matthew McConaughey-toplined Mud and Michael Starrbury is in contention for The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.

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On the television side, 30-minute nominees include Modern Family, Nurse Jackie and The New Normal. Sixty-minute offerings include episodes of Bones, House and Monday Mornings.

“Humanitas does a simple thing. It gives credit where credit is due,” said Humanitaspresident Ali LeRoi. “To take time, and be of the mind, to write something that should be written, and provoke feelings that should be felt, is in itself an honorable thing. But it helps to know that someone was moved enough to say so, and thus inspire others that this quiet nobility, being the writer of something good, is worth it, if for no other reason than someone knows it can be done, and someone else would like to see if they can do it too.”

Added executive director Cathleen Young, “These gifted storytellers made us laugh and cry and ultimately, brought us closer together as a family by deeply exploring what it means to be human!”

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Since beginning in 1974, the Humanitas Prize has handed out more than $3 million in winnings to 310 writers. Recipients include Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Denis Leary and Peter Tolan (Rescue Me), Geoffrey Fletcher(Precious), Steve Levitan (Modern Family, Frasier) and Ryan Murphy (Glee).

Find the complete list of nominees below, and visit the Humanitas website for more information.

Feature Film Category

FLIGHT Written by: John Gatins

DJANGO UNCHAINED Written by: Quentin Tarantino

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK Written by: David O. Russell

Sundance Feature Film Category

FRUITVALE STATION Written by: Ryan Coogler

MUD Written by: Jeff Nichols

THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER & PETE Written by: Michael Starrbury

Documentary Category

ETHEL Written by: Mark Bailey

MEA MAXIMA CULPA Written by: Alex Gibney

PROJECT NIM Directed by: James Marsh

90 Minute Category


BETTY & CORETTA Written by: Shem Bitterman and Ron Hutchinson (LIFETIME)

FIRELIGHT Written by: Ligiah Villalobos (HALLMARK HALL OF FAME)

60 Minute Category

BONES “The Patriot in Purgatory” Written by: Stephen Nathan (FOX)

HOUSE “Everybody Dies” Written by: David Shore, Eli Attie & Peter Blake (FOX)

MONDAY MORNINGS “Truth or Consequences” Written by: Karen Struck & David E. Kelley (TNT)

30 Minute Category

MODERN FAMILY “Party Crasher” Written by: Danny Zuker & Christopher Lloyd) (ABC)


THE NEW NORMAL “The Godparent Trap” Written by: Mike Scully (NBC)

Children’s Live Action – WINNER

LET IT SHINE Written by: Eric Daniel & Don D. Scott (Disney Channel)

The David & Lynn Angell Fellowship in Comedy Writing – WINNER

Jason Romaine University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Film and Television

Original script LATE BLOOMERS “Pilot”

Fellowship in Dramatic Writing – WINNER

Taylor Martin University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts Original script of A SPECIAL EDUCATION “Pilot”