The Peabody 30 - Complete Winner’s List
Wes Unruh - 5/3/2016
2015 Peabody Award Winners
- Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)
A superbly acted, strikingly photographed film about an African warlord training an orphan child to join his guerrilla army, it never loses sight of their humanity, brutal acts notwithstanding.
A bright, boisterous, big-hearted comedy about an affluent African American family working overtime to keep it real, black-ish doesn’t let jokes get in the way of insights about race, class, guns, and other hot-button topics that most popular entertainment shows scarcely mention.
WTAE reporter Paul Van Osdol provided a four-alarm public service when he doggedly investigated the wildly varying response times of Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire departments and found a chronically inefficient system that hadn’t changed substantially since the days of horse-drawn trucks and bucket brigades. His sleuthing prompted legislative hearings and the passage of bills aimed at quickening response and saving lives, as well as public questioning of the dependence on volunteers instead of professional municipal services.
Reporting on the men, women and children fleeing Syria and other Middle Eastern war zones, NewsHour‘s Desperate Journey series captured the life and breath of the worst displaced person crisis since World War II: the initial, inspirational hospitality of European hosts, the eventual resistance as the waves of humanity became overwhelming, and the hopes and horrors experienced by the refugees themselves.
A suspenseful, well-acted spy drama that takes place a few years before the Soviet bloc cracked and told from the perspective of East Germans and West Germans, it reheats Cold War conflicts in surprising ways.
Visiting Do Not Track may leave you feeling like a moth in a spider web. Focused on internet economics and privacy issues, the website’s personalized episodes provides a wealth of provocative information about the science of cookies, tracking and who is profiting from your social media participation. The user is shocked at the breadth of information he or she regularly gives up in the course of routine and mundane activities across digital and mobile platforms.
The BBC reminded us why it’s the gold standard of electronic-media news with its wide-ranging, richly detailed, deeply humane television and radio reporting about the reality and ramifications of the surge of millions of Middle Eastern refugees into Europe.
More than an exposé, more like a demolition, Alex Gibney’s film about the history and hardball tactics of the Church of Scientology draws its persuasive power from letters and documents contradicting the fabrications of its late founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and from blistering testimonials by prominent ex-Church officials and former members about abuse and corruption.
Filmmaker Alexandra Shiva focuses on three young women in Columbus, Ohio, who are living with autism and facing the daunting prospect of their first spring formal. The power and beauty of this closely observed, intimate documentary is that it doesn’t patronize its subjects or its viewer with easy sentimentality.
The internationally infamous 2012 gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old medical student, in Delhi is the impetus for this unflinching, deeply unflattering examination of the misogyny embedded in Indian society.
Making the most of a difficult, dangerous assignment, Afghani journalist Najibullah Quraishi and his producing team got deep into ISIS-held territory to document its growing power and appeal in Afghanistan, its conflict with the Taliban and, most unnerving, its indoctrination and weapons training of children as young as five.
Mairi Hedderwick’s popular books about a feisty, wee, red-headed girl (the splendid Cherry Campbell) and the Scottish island community she’s growing up in are exquisitely realized in this series. Timeless, perhaps old-fashioned, but never precious or blindly idyllic, Katie Morag deals honestly and gracefully with death, loss, rivalry and other serious themes.
Thanks to an imaginative director, a collection of audio tapes that Marlon Brando recorded over the years and a voice-synched, holograph-like image of the late, great “method” actor, we get to hear Brando share deeply personal thoughts about how he became the man and artist he was. It’s strange and wonderful, like a CGI resurrection.
This one part superhero saga, one part neo-noir program asks unpopular questions about power and consent, while constructing vivid and compelling characters. Krysten Ritter helps us to discover the strengths and vulnerability of Jessica, a hard-boiled private detective who has rejected the role of superhero but must still figure out how to overcome the evil that threatens her, her friends and her community.
By turns profound and mundane, ridiculous and deadly serious, this imaginative, shape-shifting comedy chronicles the misadventures of Dev (series creator Aziz Ansari), a 30-year-old Indian-American who’s still trying to figure out what to do with his life. To say it resonates with young-adult viewers is an understatement.
Fascinating, intelligent, enlightening podcasts devoted to the work of current classical composers. The show integrates music with thoughtful conversation about it without distracting from either.
A riddle wrapped in a mystery shrouded in a hoody, MR. ROBOT‘s hero, Elliot, is a tormented, anti-social cyber-security whiz caught up in techno-anarchy conspiracy. The series’ twisting, turning, Rubik plot is almost as startling as its overtly anti-corporate stance. Occupy Prime Time?
Night Will Fall deftly weaves two stories into one documentary tale – one about the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps, the other about the changing policies of postwar reconstruction that pulled atrocity images in and out of public view. The film artfully shows us an obscure moment in Holocaust history that attests to the enduring power of visual documentation.
Inspired by a single 911 call for help that failed fatally, WXIA reporter Brendan Keefe launched an ambitious, enterprising multi-media probe that revealed government oversights and technical shortcomings in supposedly smart iPhones and in telecommunications infrastructure that were causing needless deaths across the country.
An activist on behalf of young, undocumented immigrants like herself, 24-year-old Angy Rivera, a New York City resident since she was four, is the eloquent focus of this documentary. What makes it even more memorable is how filmmaker Mikaela Shwer uses River’s story to illuminate the plight of untold numbers of immigrants living in secrecy and fear.
Reporting from Congo, Tanzania and Kenya, Real Sports documented the billion-dollar, criminal enterprise that is the ivory trade, the sickening slaughter of elephants that fuels it, the devotion and bravery of rangers trying to protect them, and the delusion of trophy hunters who insist the money they bring to Africa somehow slows the decimation.
Horrifying and infuriating although, alas, not surprising, this unforgettable report documented the U.S. Army’s testing of an abominable chemical weapon on some 60,000 of our own World War II soldiers, most of whom were black.
In a collection of powerful, personal stories about the nexus of education and race, “This American Life” weighs the statistical benefits of desegregation against the pressure, even humiliation, that many minority students experience. The broadcast is a bold, honest examination of what can happen when social engineering meets reality.
Andrew Jarecki’s seductive true-crime documentary takes viewers through a dark looking glass, down a rabbit hole and into the mind of Robert Durst, a real-estate tycoon’s heir and an elusive suspect in three murders, who tells a self-serving tale but then, stunningly, offhandedly and on-microphone, confesses.
Launching its probe six months before a Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, WMAQ’s relentless, unrivaled reporting brought to light a host of police procedural infractions, official disinformation and outright lies and contributed to a police department shake-up.
After an inexplicable global cataclysm - a massive random harvest - thins Earth’s population by 140 million, the survivors in this challenging, deeply philosophical, boldly imagined drama are left to figure out how to get on with life in a world that’s stopped making sense.
Jeffrey Tambor’s transsexual Maura is not just the lead character of this bold, honest dramedy, she’s the catalyst for her typically dysfunctional modern family’s ongoing reevaluation of itself. Its broadened scope and lively sense of self-awareness, along with irreverent wit and poignant moments, made Transparent‘s second season even stronger than the first.
A spot-on, behind-the-scenes send-up of ersatz “reality” shows like The Bachelor, UnREAL makes viewers care about venal producers and petty contestants even as it skewers them.
Tracing Nina Simone’s rise from classical piano prodigy to jazz/pop star, Civil Rights activist and expatriate, while showcasing her brilliance without dodging her mental-health problems and explosive personal life, this finely-crafted documentary is both a celebration and a compassionate post mortem.
Based on Hilary Mantel’s celebrated novels about the intrigues of Henry VIII’s court, Wolf Hall is an intimate, humanized history, told from the viewpoint of the king’s main man, Thomas Cromwell. Enhanced by literate scripting and superb acting with historic-location and natural-light filming, this exceptional series sets a new standard for the genre.
Tuesday, April 12: Individual/Institutional winners press release.
Tuesday, April 19: News, Web, Radio/Podcast and Public Service winners press release.
Friday, April 22: Entertainment & Children’s Programming winners press release.
Tuesday, April 26: Documentary & Education winners press release.