The official word: A record 39 recipients of the 70th Annual Peabody Awards were announced today by the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The winners, chosen by the Peabody board as the best in electronic media for the year 2010, were named in a ceremony in the Peabody Gallery on the University of Georgia campus. . . .
The latest Peabody winners reflect diversity in content, genre and sources of origination. The recipients included The Pacific, an epic HBO miniseries about American soldiers and sailors fighting in the Pacific theater of World War II; Men of a Certain Age, TNT’s world-wise comedy-drama about three middle-aged pals; Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian, an Independent Lens documentary that entertained as it set the checkered cinematic record straight; and The Moth Radio Hour, where the ancient art of storytelling is honored and expanded weekly.
International recipients included Report on a New Generation of Migrant Workers in China, a report by Hong Kong’s Phoenix InfoNews Channel about challenges facing the latest wave of Chinese workers abandoning rural life for urban, and Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children, BBC Four’s presentation of Xoliswa Sithole’s secretly-filmed documentary about the abysmal living conditions of her homeland’s youngest citizens.
The entertainment programs selected included The Good Wife, a CBS dramatic series about a political spouse’s life after her husband’s scandalous downfall, and Justified, FX’s modern-day Western set in the wild, wild hills and hollows of Appalachia. Peabodys also went to Sherlock: A Study in Pink, Masterpiece/Mystery!’s ingenious 21st century update of Sherlock Holmes, and Temple Grandin, an inspirational, visually creative HBO movie about an animal-rights activist who is autistic. Degrassi, the long-running youth drama, was honored for My Body Is a Cage, a two-part episode that dealt sensitively and forthrightly with a transgender teenager.
In the realm of the arts, two American Masters documentaries won Peabodys: LennonNYC, a poignant, revelatory documentary about John Lennon’s life and work in his adopted home city, and Elia Kazan: A Letter to Elia, an homage to the theatrical and film director by Martin Scorsese. Peabodys also went to William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible, an Art21 film that provided an intimate look at the creative process of a multifaceted artist whose work includes sculpture, animation, theater and tapestries, and Macbeth, a Great Performances production that sets Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy in a modern, militaristic society.
Continues after the jump, including capsules about each winner.
An especially rich year for radio yielded seven Peabody winners in addition to The Moth. They included WNYC’s series Radiolab, part theater of the mind, part scientific expedition; Lucia’s Letter, a cautionary composite of several Guatemalan girls’ accounts of abuse at the hands of “coyotes” hired to sneak them into the U.S.; The Promised Land with Majora Carter, a forum for deep, eye-opening conversations about the environment and justice; and Trafficked, a Youth Radio investigation of child-sex-trafficking made more powerful by first-person accounts.
Three examples of National Public Radio’s journalism won Peabodys: Covering Pakistan: War, Flood and Social Issues, reports that made the country vivid beyond the headline disasters; Behind the Bail Bond System, an investigation that revealed inequities and conflicts of interest; and Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes, a study of sexual assaults at colleges and the shockingly light penalties that the perpetrators often receive.
In the area of news, Peabodys went to Reality Check: Where Are the Jobs?, in which WTHR-TV reporters exposed grossly inflated job-creation statistics by Indiana state agencies and officials; KSTP-TV’s Who Killed Doc?, an investigation of a Minnesota sailor’s accidental electrocution in Iraq; and Bitter Lessons, a probe by Dallas station WFAA-TV of government-funded “career” schools that fail miserably to do their jobs. A Peabody also went to The Lord Is Not On Trial Here Today, presented by WILL-TV of Champaign, Ill. This artfully assembled documentary examined the landmark court case that established separation of church and state in public schools.
C-Span’s new Video Library—a free, searchable website uploaded with every program the public-affairs channel has televised since 1987—was honored with a Peabody for its contribution to history, scholarship and public life. And CNN was cited for comprehensive Coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill that encompassed every impact from economic to environmental to political.
The documentary honorees underscored the robust, diversified state of the non-fiction form. They included If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise, Peabody-winner Spike Lee’s survey of New Orleans’ ongoing recovery, five years after Hurricane Katrina; Wonders of the Solar System with Brian Cox, a dazzling, simulated tour of our celestial neighborhood; and Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals, a touching, surprising history of two iconic athletes rivalry and enduring friendship. The world of sports also was represented with commendable depth, breadth and insight by the Peabody-winning 30 for 30, a collection of documentaries commissioned by ESPN for its 30th anniversary.
Wars, past and ongoing, were the focus of several Peabody-winning reports. They included My Lai, an elegiac American Experience documentary that shed new light on the worst atrocity in U.S. military history; The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, a P.O.V. account of one man’s deeply personal decision and its lingering impact; The Wounded Patrol, a FRONTLINE special that dealt with the psychiatric casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and The Cost of War: Traumatic Brain Injury; Coming Home a Different Person, a multimedia Washington Post website report about soldiers’ concussive injuries and the science being used to treat them.
Rounding out the list of documentary winners were a trio of HBO films: For Neda examines what the life and death of Neda Agha-Soltan, whose senseless shooting made her the international face of Iranian opposition, has meant for her family, friends and country. 12th and Delaware takes stock of the unending abortion debate via the metaphoric coincidence of an abortion clinic and a pro-life pregnancy center on facing street corners in Ft. Pierce, Fla. Burma VJ chronicles the heroism of video journalists who clandestinely recorded the Burmese government’s vicious crackdown on human-rights protests in 2007 and smuggled the images to the outside world.
“The Peabody Awards were established with deep respect for the critical role played by electronic media in contemporary society and culture,” said Newcomb. “The annual announcement of the recipients continues in that spirit to recognize work that sets the highest standards for the media industries.”
The Peabodys, the oldest awards in broadcasting, are considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media. The Peabody Awards recognize excellence and meritorious work by radio and television stations, networks, webcasters, producing organizations and individuals. The 16-member Peabody Board is a distinguished panel of television critics, industry practitioners and experts in culture and the arts. Selection is made by the board following review by special screening committees of UGA faculty, students and staff.
All entries become a permanent part of the Peabody Archive in the University of Georgia Libraries. The collection is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most respected moving-image archives. For more information about the Peabody Archive or the Peabody Awards, see www.peabody.uga.edu.
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in advertising, digital and broadcast journalism, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and mass media arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see www.grady.uga.edu or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.
Complete list of recipients of the 70th annual Peabody Awards:
FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television
Part morality play, part character study, this engrossing modern-day Western drama sets its showdowns in the wild, wild east of Appalachian Kentucky.
Great Performances: Macbeth(PBS)
Thirteen for WNET.ORG, Illuminations Television Ltd.
Director Rupert Goold takes Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy on location to the countryside and the trenches to riveting effect.
Coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill (CNN)
The science, the economics, the politics, the toll on human livelihoods and animal lives – CNN’s coverage of the Deepwater Horizon disaster defined comprehensive.
Immersive and boundlessly imaginative, the series uses pithy prose and state-of-the-art sound to illuminate complicated scientific and philosophical subjects.
A Playtone and Dreamworks Production in association with HBO Miniseries
The Pacific theater of World War II proves to be gripping theater indeed in this richly detailed miniseries.
Sherlock: A Study in Pink(PBS)
A Hartswood Films Production for BBC CYMRU Wales, Co-produced with Masterpiece
The venerable Victorian sleuth is audaciously updated for today’shigh-tech times, and the game is afoot all the quicker.
WGCU Public Media
A literal cautionary tale, the harrowing “letter” is a composite of several young Guatemalan women’s enslavement by “coyotes” hired to smuggle them into the United States.
THIRTEEN’S America Masters, Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right, Dakota Group
A portrait of John Lennon’s life and work, after he chose to make New York his home, it’s beautifully composed and lovingly rendered but not blind to his imperfections.
Magic Hour Films in co-production with WG Film, Mediamente, Kamoli Films, The Danish Film Institute and DR TV in association with HBO Documentary Films
The documentary chronicles the heroic ingenuity of underground video journalists (VJs) who captured the 2007 Burmese human-rights protests—and the brutal government retaliation—on handy cams and smuggled the video out to the web and the world.
Men of a Certain Age(TNT)
A series about three longtime pals, “regular” guys, navigating middle age, it’s comical, poignant and harrowing, sometimes all at once.
The Dallas station’s investigation exposed abuses by government-funded “career” schools that provide poor training and sometimes leave desperate students deeper in debt than they started.
Trafficked: A Youth Radio Investigation(NPR/All Things Considered)
Youth Radio, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Huffington Post online
A wide-ranging exposéof America’s child-sex trade, it was made especially powerful by first-person accounts by teen victims.
Independent Lens: Reel Injun: On the Trail of the HollywoodIndian (PBS)
Rezolution Pictures, National Film Board of Canada, CBS News Network, ARTE Germany, Documentary Channel Canada, Radio Canada, ARTV, Knowledge Network, APTN, AVRO, Independent Television Service (ITVS)
A Cree filmmaker takes an affectionate but nonetheless pointed look at how movies have portrayed and misrepresented Native Americans over many decades.
The Promised Landwith Host Majora Carter (American Public Media Stations)
Launch Minneapolis, American Public Media
If there’s such a thing as eye-opening radio, Carter’s series, devoted to helping her audience envision a more just, sustainable world, is it.
Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals(HBO)
Not your average sports biography by a long jump shot, it examines the different cultures from whence these NBA legends sprang, their unusually long rivalry and their unlikely friendship.
Covering Pakistan: War, Flood and Social Issues(NPR)
Islamabad-based correspondent Julie McCarthy goes beyond the headline disasters, making the country vividly individual with reports on topics like child labor, blasphemy laws and the plight of war widows.
Wonders of the Solar System with Brian Cox(Science Channel)
Science Channel, BBC
In this amazing, simulated travelogue, the boyish physicist flies us to the moon and lets us play among the stars. And gawk.
Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes(NPR and npr.org)
With first-person interviews and computer-assisted records checks, an NPR investigative unit documented how perpetrators of sexual assaults on college campuses often face few or no consequences.
Degrassi: My Body Is a Cage(TeenNick)
True to its history, the durable high-school serial’s two-parter about a transgender teen neither trivializes nor overdramatizes its subject.
C-SPAN Video Library (cspan.org/videolibrary)
Every program C-SPAN has shown since 1987, from State of the Union addresses to budget hearings, is now available and searchable online—for free.
The worst atrocity in American military history is given new meaning and significance in the documentary enriched by fresh interviews and never-before-heard audio made by the original Pentagon investigators.
The Moth Radio Hour(Public Radio Stations)
The Moth, Public Radio Exchange, Atlantic Public Media
Storytelling, likely the oldest art, is revered and reinvigorated by this weekly hour for everyday raconteurs.
Mentorn in association with Antony Thomas Productions for HBO Documentary Films
A powerful portrait of Neda Agha-Soltan, martyr, and the larger Iranian struggle for freedom, this documentary was filmed on the sly and at great risk in Tehran.
Behind the Bail Bond System(NPR/All Things Considered and Morning)
Changes in the bail bond system are already underway as a result of this three-part exposéof inequities and conflicts that penalize its poorest clients.
12th and Delaware(HBO)
A Loki Films Production for HBO Documentary Films
A street corner in Ft. Pierce, Florida, where an abortion clinic and a pro-life center face each other, embodies the ongoing clash over reproductive rights in this thoughtful, fair documentary.
Elia Kazan: A Letter to Elia(PBS)
Sikelia Productions, Far Hills Pictures in association with America Masters
Director Martin Scorsesereflects on the nature of art’s influence on artists and how the brilliant but controversial Kazan continues to inspire him.
If God Is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise(HBO)
40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks for HBO Documentary Films
Spike Lee’s team checks up on New Orleans five years after Katrina hit and the levees broke and documents the city’s successes and failures in a video patchwork by turns beautiful, depressing and optimistic.
Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children(BBC Four)
Filming undercover with great ingenuity and courage, Xoliswa Sithole and Jezza Newman documented the horrible conditions, especially for the young, in Zimbabwe.
William Kentridge: Anything is Possible(PBS)
The multi-faceted Kentridge is creativity personified, a one-man seminar, and he gave filmmakers from ART21 a veritable all-access pass to his mind and work process.
30 for 30(ESPN)
Commissioned for the sports channel’s 30th anniversary, these 30 diverse documentaries about sports in America, well, they shoot, they score.
POV: The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers(PBS)
American Documentary, POV, ITVS
A fascinating true-life political thriller, Ellsberg’s remembrance of his historic actions is made even more compelling by the inventive presentation.
Report on a New Generation of Migrant Workers in China (Phoenix InfoNews Channel)
Phoenix Satellite Television Co. Ltd.
The report by Hong Kong’s Phoenix Satellite Television poses hard questions about the ramifications of China’s continuing urban migration.
Reality Check: Where Are the Jobs?(WTHR-TV)
The Indianapolis station’s digging revealed the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s job-creation claims were grossly overstated and that companies given tax-incentive to create employment had actually axed workers by the hundreds.
A Ruby Films, Gerson Saines Production in association with HBO Films
Claire Danes is remarkable as the autistic animal-expert and author, and the biography is further enriched by visual creativity that lets viewer occasional glimpse the world as Grandin experiences it.
The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today(WILL-TV)
Jay Rosenstein Productions
A beautifully researched documentary by a Champaign, Illinois station, it examines a First Amendment case critical to the establishment of separation of church and state in public schools.
The Cost of War: Traumatic Brain Injury; Coming Home a Different Person(www.washingtonpost.com)
A fascinating, poignant multimedia report, it details the experiences of five different wounded soldiers and the science behind their medical treatment.
Who Killed Doc?(KSTP-TV)
KSTP, St. Paul
The St. Paul-Minneapolis station’s investigation of a Minnesota sailor’s ill-explained death in Iraq has the Armed Forces reexamining everything from shower safety to how families of the fallen are notified.
The Wounded Patrol(PBS)
FRONTLINE, Mongoose Pictures
The documentary is a dark, troubling tale of a military health system overwhelmed by psychiatric casualties and of one platoon’s post-traumatic nightmare.
The Good Wife(CBS)
Scott Free Productions, King Size Productions, Small Wishes, CBS Productions
In this densely layered dramatic series, the dutiful wife of a disgraced politician resumes her legal career and finds satisfaction, self-worth and moral quandaries of her own.