Final Draft Awards to Honor Issa Rae and Robert McKee

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Issa Rae

The 12th annual ceremony, hosted by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, will be held on Feb. 23.

Final Draft, the entertainment industry screenwriting software, on Thursday announced the honorees for its 12th annual awards ceremony, set for Feb. 23.

Instead of recognizing specific film and TV releases from the past year, the reworked awards ceremony will now hand out three honors: a Hall of Fame award honoring a writer whose work has had a profound influence on the industry; the New Voice award, recognizing a rising and vital talent; and the Big Break screenwriting contest, which awards aspiring writers with more than $80,000 in cash and prizes.

The New Voice award will be presented to Issa Rae, co-creator, star and executive producer of HBO's Insecure. The Hall of Fame award will be given to screenwriting teacher Robert McKee.

McKee is a Fulbright Scholar and the multi-award-winning writer of Story and Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage and Screen. His former students include more than 60 Oscar winners, 20 Emmy winners, 1,000 Emmy nominees, 100 WGA winners, 250 WGA nominees, 50 DGA winners and 100 DGA nominees. McKee is also a project consultant for major film and TV production companies.

Multihyphenate Quincy Jones, actor Brian Cox, screenwriter Margaret Nagle and author Steven Pressfield will speak on behalf of McKee and his contributions to screenwriting. Previous Hall of Fame award winners include Nancy Meyers, Lawrence Kasdan, Paul Schrader, Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Robert Towne, Oliver Stone and Sydney Pollack.

“Robert McKee is one of the most sought-after screenwriting lecturers in the world. Considered a guru by many, his seminal work Story is a staple on screenwriters’ bookshelves,” Final Draft president Scott McMenamin said in a statement. “We are honored to celebrate his tremendous contribution to the art of screenwriting with this year’s Hall of Fame award.

McMenamin added, “It’s also exciting to recognize one of the brightest rising stars in the industry with our inaugural New Voice award. Issa Rae is an undeniably inspiring new voice who is breaking ground with her YouTube content and HBO series Insecure.”

The Final Draft Awards will be hosted for the third year in a row by comedy writers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant and take place at the Paramount Theatre on the Paramount Pictures lot.