Nominees for Humanitas Prize announced

'Slumdog,' 'Milk' and 'Doubt' writers among the finalists

Finalists for the 2009 Humanitas Prize, which honors writers whose work "affirms the dignity of the human person and reveals our common humanity" include the scribes behind "Slumdog Millionaire," "Milk," "The Secret Life of Bees," "Doubt" and "Wall-E."

Awarded by the non-profit, Human Family Educational and Cultural Institute, the winners, who will collect $95,000 in prize money, will be announced at the group's annual luncheon on Sept. 17 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The David & Lynn Angell Fellowship in Comedy Writing, worth $10,000, will be presented to Scott Rutherford for the pilot of "Venice Beach, G.E.D." The Humanitas Student Drama Fellowship, also worth $10,000, will be given to Joey Falco for the pilot of "Fortunate Sons."

The writers cited in the feature category, which carries a $10,000 prize, are Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog"), Dustin Lance Black ("Milk") and John Patrick Shanley ("Doubt") as well as Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon, who were nominated for the "WALL-E" screenplay and Stanton & Pete Docter, nominated for "WALL-E's" original story.

In the Sundance feature film category, the nominees are Cherien Dabis for "Amreeka," Shana Feste for "The Greatest" and Marie Noelle for "The Anarchist's Wife."

Black was a double-nominee since he was also nominated in the 90-minute category for "Pedro," his portrait of "Real World" participant and AIDS activist Pedro Zamora, which aired on MTV. Also nominated are John Pielmeier for "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" and Lt. Col. Michael R. Strobl and Ross Katz for "Taking Chance."

In the 60-minute, the nominees are Amanda Green, "Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit: Swing," David Hoselton, "House: Unfaithful," Jason Katims, "Friday Night Lights: Tomorrow Blues," and David Zabel, "ER: Heal Thyself."

Sitcoms turned up in the 30-minute category, earning noms for Aseem Batra, "Scrubs: My Last Words," Robert Carlock, "30 Rock: Believe in the Stars," John Frink, "The Simpsons: All About Lisa" and Jamie Rhonheimer, "How I Met Your Mother: Happily Ever After."

In the category of children's live action the nominees are Andy Gordon, for the pilot of "True Jackson, VP"; Dan Kopelman for "The Rival" episode of "Jackson"; and Arika Lisanne Mittman for "South of Nowhere: Spencer's 18th Birthday."

"For over three decades, Humanitas has honored worthy writers who tell stories that make us think and feel and learn," chairman of the board Frank Desiderio said. "In this era of reality television, our mission is more important than ever."
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