by Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter
The Peabody Awards has named Watchmen, Dickinson, Stranger Things and When They See Us among this year's winners.
The other winners in the entertainment category are Chernobyl, David Makes Man, Fleabag, Ramy, Succession and Unbelievable.
The nods mark the first Peabody wins for Apple TV+ (Dickinson), which just launched in late 2019, and Oprah Winfrey's OWN network (David Makes Man).
Noteworthy documentary winners include Apollo 11; For Sama; Hale County This Morning, This Evening; Surviving R. Kelly; The Edge of Democracy; and True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight for Equality.
The Peabody Awards has also named The Simpsons and Frontline as recipients of its institutional awards, given to programs that have made a significant impact on media programming and the cultural landscape. Those honors join this year's career achievement award, given to Cicely Tyson, which was announced on Monday.
“This year’s winners are a vibrant collective of inspiring, innovative, and powerful stories. True to the spirit and legacy of Peabody, our winners are also distinguished by the presence and resilience of many emerging and diverse voices,” Peabody executive director Jeffrey P. Jones said in a statement. “We are especially proud to celebrate Frontline as an unwavering source for truth through quality journalism when both are actively under attack, and The Simpsons, one of the most consistently funny and culturally important satirical sitcoms over the last three decades.”
In honoring The Simpsons, the Peabody Awards praises the program for expanding "notions of what the sitcom could be."
"It gifted us a wonderful family caught between the poles of father Homer’s delightful ignorance and daughter Lisa’s endearing brilliance, a family that would fumble, fight and fail and yet who loved each other in spite of it all," the organization writes in its announcement. "It boldly and inventively ushered animation back into primetime. And it has found ways to remain funny, fresh and insightful while trusting and respecting its audience’s intelligence."
With respect to Frontline, which has won 20 Peabody Awards since its launch in 1983, the Peabody Awards writes, "At a time when trust in the media is challenged, when journalists are casually cast as the 'enemy of the people' and when fact-based reporting is often overshadowed by opinion and ideology masquerading as truth, Peabody honors the consistent, stalwart and excellent journalism Frontline offers the American public and the world."
PBS won the most awards this year, with seven, followed by HBO and Netflix with four wins each and CNN and NBC with two apiece.
The honored projects were selected from 60 nominees, unveiled in May, of the most compelling and empowering stories released in 2019 across TV, radio and digital media.
Jurors, including The Hollywood Reporter's editor-at-large Kim Masters, selected the winners out of nearly 1,300 entries. Nominees and winners must be unanimously chosen by the board of jurors.
Although judged earlier this spring, seven of this year's winners focus on racial issues within the criminal justice system, including True Justice, When They See Us, Watchmen and podcast In The Dark: The Path Home. Other winners that tackle police problems include Unbelievable, Unwarranted and A Different Kind of Force: Policing Mental Illness.
Peabody is also producing a special with PBS featuring a conversation with all 10 directors of this year's winning documentaries. Sundance director Tabitha Jackson will moderate panels with the filmmakers around the issues their projects explore. The program will be available on PBS' digital channels on Tuesday, June 23.
This year's Peabody Awards ceremony has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic but many recipients recorded video acceptance speeches, almost all of which were recorded prior to the recent worldwide protests in the wake of George Floyd's death.
A full list of the 2020 Peabody award winners, along with the jurors' comments about each selection and presented in alphabetical order by category, follows.
An unforgettable account of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster shows what happens when science is censored to the detriment of people’s lives and offers a bold testament to the humanity, courage, and suffering of ordinary citizens in extraordinary circumstances.
HBO Miniseries and SKY in association with Sister, The Mighty Mint, and Word Games (HBO)
David Makes Man
Tarell Alvin McCraney’s visually stunning coming-of-age drama contemplates identity as fluid, plural, restrictive, and powerful, immersing viewers in the heart-wrenching world of a gifted 14-year-old African American boy growing up in the South Florida projects.
Page Fright and Outlier Productions in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television
(OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Director of Photography: Todd Dos Reis, ASC
Creator Alena Smith lovingly and playfully embraces anachronism, bringing a contemporary sense, sensibility, and soundtrack to 19th-century New England and the world of poet Emily Dickinson. Hailee Steinfeld offers a standout performance in a show that excels at being fun while crackling with energy and wild originality.
Apple / wiip / Anonymous Content / Tuning Fork Productions / Sugar 23 Productions (Apple TV+)
Production Designer: Loren Weeks
The enchanting show from Phoebe Waller-Bridge about a woman struggling with the death of a friend and her attraction to a hot priest pushed the creative bar to new heights in its second season, maintaining a nearly unmatched ability to be playful and devastating, hilarious and poignant, at the same time.
All3Media International Limited and Amazon Studios (Prime Video)
Ramy Youssef writes and stars in this touching, thoughtful, and very funny sitcom focusing on a first-generation American Muslim and his family in New Jersey. Tracing its origins back to his stand-up routine, and also starring Hiam Abbass, Amr Waked, Laith Nakli, Mo Amer, and May Calamawy, the groundbreaking series is masterful in its weaponization of the tension between faith and secularism, East and West, and men and women.
Hulu, A24 Television (Hulu)
Director of Photography: Claudio Rietti
Writer-producers Matt and Ross Duffer perform yet another masterful act of chemistry, mixing homages to a cavalcade of 1980s media to create a show that bubbles over with original fun and inclusiveness in its third season. Part science fiction, part horror, part government conspiracy drama, it fleet-footedly veers between modes and expectations, keeping viewers on their toes and the edge of their seats.
Monkey Massacre Productions & 21 Laps Entertainment (Netflix)
Jesse Armstrong’s gleeful, brainy send-up of New York City media conglomerates and one percenters revels in the dysfunction of the Roy family and its members’ outlandish antics to control the clan’s empire. Brian Cox has established himself as one of TV’s most delicious villains of all time and standouts Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, and Jeremy Strong give equally rich and complex performances.
HBO Entertainment in association with Project Zeus, Hyperobject Industries, and Gary Sanchez Productions (HBO)
Drawing from a true story, Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman, and Michael Chabon expertly pen a rape investigation for the #MeToo era, showing not just what police work should look like, but what a mediated account of rape should entail. With standout performances from Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, and Kaitlyn Dever, the series serves as a model for how storytellers can implore society to believe women but also how to shift the ways we talk about rape.
Timberman-Beverly Productions, Sage Lane Productions, Escapist Fare, Katie Couric Media, and CBS Television Studios for Netflix (Netflix)
Damon Lindelof’s revolutionary series provides new answers to classic comic book genre questions about what it means to mask one’s identity and who gets to be a superhero. More than that, it offers a frank, provocative reflection on contemporary racialized violence, the role of police and how Americans understand their place in the world after a large-scale disaster.
HBO in association with White Rabbit, Paramount, Warner Bros. Television and DC (HBO)
When They See Us
Devastating and commanding, Ava DuVernay’s powerful miniseries about the Central Park Five case and the lives it ruined is a touchstone for its historical moment, and a powerful registry of the inhuman practices and degrading effects of 20th-century racial injustice and state violence.
Participant Media, Tribeca Productions, Harpo Films, Array Filmworks for Netflix (Netflix)
Editor: Terilyn A. Shropshire, ACE