The Peabody Awards have never disappointed when it comes to recognizing artists and talent that reflect the times and the social landscape — and this year’s nominees aren’t an exception. The Board of Jurors has selected 60 nominees that represent the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and streaming media during the past year. 2020 wasn’t the best year, but these nominees kept us informed, inspired and entertained.
The nominees were chosen by a unanimous vote of 19 jurors from over 1,300 entries from television, podcasts/radio and the web in entertainment, news, documentary, arts, children’s/youth, public service and multimedia programming.
“During an incredibly turbulent and difficult year, these nominees rose to the occasion and delivered compelling and empowering stories,” said Martha Nelson, chair of the Peabody Board of Jurors. “From COVID-19 coverage to poignant explorations of identity, each nominee not only told a powerful story but also made a significant impact on media programming and the cultural landscape. We’re thrilled to recognize their outstanding and inspiring work.”
The nominated programs encompass a diverse range of pressing issues, including COVID-19 (Hao Wu’s 76 Days) voting rights (Amazon’s All In: The Fight for Democracy) as well as immigrant rights (Netflix’s Immigration Nation). 2020 was a particularly important year for news with 16 nominations coming in that category.
In addition the critically acclaimed documentary about the history of the disability rights movement Crip Camp was nominated while LGBTQ stories were put in the spotlight. Sam Feder’s Netflix docu Disclosure gave a critical look at the history of transgender representation on screen while David France’s Welcome to Chechnya documented a group of activists risk their lives fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in Chechnya.
A plethora of projects also got their much-deserved recognition including Time, Belly of the Beast, Euphoria, Gentefied, I May Destroy You, La Llorona, Never Have I Ever, Small Axe, among many others.
Programs and narratives impacting marginalized communities were appropriately recognized including 20/20 and The Courier Journal‘s “Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor” as well as The Washington Post‘s “The Life of George Floyd”.
Also nominated was Center For Asian American Media’s five-hour film series Asian Americans which documented the role that Asian Americans have played in U.S. history. In addition, “Muslim in Trump’s America (Exposure)” received a nomination.
“Peabody is proud to continue its tradition of recognizing diverse and emerging voices, those telling powerful stories that audiences need to engage with and hear,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody. “Once again, our nominees offer moral clarity for how we as ethical citizens might respond.”
Read the complete list of nominees below.
CHILDREN’S & YOUTH
Three siblings have a special next-door neighbor: a wise panda named Stillwater. His friendship and stories give them new perspectives on the world, themselves, and each other.
Apple / Scholastic Entertainment / Gaumont (Apple TV+)
“The Owl House”
Accidentally sent to the world of the Boiling Isles before a trip to summer camp, a teenage human named Luz longs to become a witch, with the rebellious Eda and pint-sized demon King at her aid.
Disney Television Animation (Disney Channel)
Hao Wu’s brilliant documentary captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan.
76 Days LLC / MTV Documentary Films (virtual cinema)
“All In: The Fight for Democracy”
Examining voter suppression and barriers to voting in the US, the film interweaves personal experiences with activism and historical insight to expose a problem that has existed since the country’s founding.
Story Syndicate (Amazon Studios)
“American Experience: The Vote”
One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, “The Vote” deftly tells the dramatic culmination story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote.
A 42nd Parallel Film Production for American Experience (PBS)
A timely and important five-hour film series that casts a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played.
CAAM, WETA, Flash Cuts, LLC., Tajima-Peña Productions, ITVS (PBS)
This comprehensive documentary focuses on the gymnasts who survived USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse and the reporters who exposed USAG’s toxic culture.
A Netflix Original Documentary in association with Impact Partners, Artemis Rising Foundation, Meadow Fund, Dobkin Family Foundation, Chicago Media Project, Grant Me the Wisdom Productions and An Actual Films Production (Netflix)
“Atlanta’s Missing & Murdered: The Lost Children”
Turning the true crime documentary on its head, this five-part docuseries examines the role of politicians, law enforcement, news media and community leaders who insufficiently deal with the killing of at least 30 African-American children and young adults from 1979-81 in Atlanta.
HBO Documentary Films, Show of Force, Get Lifted Film Company and Roc Nation (HBO)
This gripping documentary follows a crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.
Alexander Nanau Production, Samsa Film HBO Europe (HBO Europe)
This documentary about a groundbreaking summer camp gives us a history of the disability rights movement and the path toward greater equality.
A Higher Ground and Rusted Spoke Production in association with Little Punk / JustFilms / Ford Foundation for Netflix (Netflix)
A critical look at the history of transgender representation on screen, the film offers heartfelt perspectives from leading trans creatives and thinkers about Hollywood’s impact on the trans community.
Disclosure Film in association with Field of Vision and Bow & Arrow Entertainment for Netflix (Netflix)
With unprecedented access to ICE operations, as well as moving portraits of immigrants, this docuseries takes a deep look at US immigration today.
A Reel Peak Films Production for Netflix (Netflix)
“In My Blood It Runs”
A beautiful film about Dujuan, a ten-year-old Arrernte/Garrwa child healer whose family advocates for him to have a culturally sustaining education that affirms his Arrernte identity, while he also navigates western schooling in Australia.
Closer Productions, American Documentary | POV (PBS)
“Independent Lens: Belly of the Beast”
An essential story in the fight for reform of the criminal justice system, this film exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons, through intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people.
Co-production of Belly of the Beast LLC, Idle Wild Films Inc., Black Public Media (BPM) and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS)
“Kingdom of Silence”
An in-depth look at Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s life, work, and murder amidst the complexity of U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations. Exclusive interviews explore Khashoggi’s connections as well as his enduring global legacy.
Showtime Documentary Films presents Jigsaw Productions (Showtime)
This soulful film follows political activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, a daring political activist who decides to run for political office in Kenya after several years of fighting injustice in his country.
LBx AFRICA, American Documentary | POV, We Are Not The Machine, Eyesteel Film, Doc Society, BBC (PBS)
Amidst air strikes and bombings, a group of female doctors in Ghouta, Syria struggle with systemic sexism while trying to care for the injured using limited resources.
A Danish Documentary Production, in Co-Production with Ma.Ja.De Hecat Studio Paris Madam Films for National Geographic Documentary Films (National Geographic)
“The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show”
In 1968, entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte took over Johnny Carson’s seat on “The Tonight Show” for one historic week, honestly confronting a fractured and changing country through legendary guests like Robert Kennedy and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. months before their assassinations.
Big Beach (Peacock)
“The Speed Cubers”
This uplifting documentary captures the extraordinary twists and turns in the journeys of Rubik’s Cube-solving champions Max Park and Feliks Zemdegs.
A Netflix Original Documentary / A Saltwater/Romano Films Production in association with Wieden + Kennedy Studios (Netflix)
In this intimate yet epic love story filmed over two decades, matriarch Fox Rich strives to raise her six sons and keep her family together as she fights for her husband’s release from the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Concordia Studio, GB Feature, LLC and Amazon Studios (Amazon Studios)
“Welcome to Chechnya”
A group of activists risk their lives fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in Chechnya.
Public Square Films, Ninety Thousand Words, Maylo Films, BBC Storyville and HBO Documentary Films (HBO)
“Euphoria Special: Part 1: Rue ‘Trouble Don’t Last Always’”
Zendaya shines in a one-act dialogue and rumination on the struggles, depths and challenges of addiction and self-loathing, and what loving and forgiving oneself really means.
HBO in association with Reasonable Bunch, A24, Little Lamb, Dreamcrew, ADD Content Agency | HOT | TCDY Productions (HBO)
Offering community and honesty, this series features the Morales cousins who scramble to save their grandfather’s taco shop—and pursue their own dreams—as gentrification shakes up their LA neighborhood.
“I May Destroy You”
In this deeply powerful series, Michaela Coel plays a carefree, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when her drink is spiked, she must question and rebuild every element of her life.
HBO in association with BBC, Various Artists Limited, and FALKNA (HBO)
Accused of the genocide of Mayan people, retired general Enrique is trapped in his home by massive protests. The indignant old man and his family must face the devastating truth of his actions and the growing sense that a wrathful supernatural force is targeting them for his crimes.
LA CASA DE PRODUCCIÓN (Shudder)
“Never Have I Ever”
Mindy Kaling’s uplifting, warm-hearted coming-of-age story following a South Asian teenage girl grappling with high school, romance, and her family after the death of her father.
Producer: Universal Television, in association with 3 Arts Entertainment, Original Langster, and Kaling International
A masterful collection of five original films by Steve McQueen, set from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s, tells personal stories from London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination.
BBC Studios Americas, Inc. and Amazon Studios (Amazon Studios)
Jason Sudeikis is Ted Lasso, an American football coach hired to manage a British soccer team—despite having no experience. This charming and hilarious show is a master class in radical optimism and the ripple effect it can have in transforming communities structured by toxic masculinity.
Apple / Doozer Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and Universal Television (Apple TV+)
“The Good Lord Bird”
Based on the award-winning novel by James McBride, this limited series from Ethan Hawke about radical abolitionist John Brown offers a humorous yet serious study of one of the most significant first steps by a white American in confronting and eradicating the nation’s original sin.
Showtime Presents Blumhouse Television, Mark 924 Entertainment, Under the Influence Productions (Showtime)
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”
Broadcasting from his home in South Carolina, Stephen Colbert rewrote the role of the late-night television host with his humanity and kindness—and moral outrage—on bright display as the nation grappled with a global pandemic and President Donald Trump.
CBS Studios (CBS)
A Hasidic Jewish woman in Brooklyn flees to Berlin from an arranged marriage and is taken in by a group of musicians — until her past comes calling.
Studio Airlift and RealFilm for Netflix (Netflix)
“ABC News 20/20 in collaboration with The Courier Journal: Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor”
As the nation continues to seek accountability and justice, this collaborative reporting features personal home videos, new interviews of key players, and police body camera video from the night of Breonna Taylor’s death.
ABC News 20/20 + Courier Journal (ABC)
“Battle For Hong Kong”
With unique access inside the battle for Hong Kong, FRONTLINE follows five protesters through the most intense clashes over several months of pro-democracy protests against the growing influence of the Communist government in mainland China.
FRONTLINE (PBS / GBH)
“Bravery and Hope: 7 Days on the Front Line”
A team of CBS News journalists, embedded with emergency physicians and critical care specialists at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, gives us an intimate story about the complex ethical decisions of who lives and who dies at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
CBS (CBS News)
A special undercover report from China’s secretive Xinjiang region, FRONTLINE investigates the Communist regime’s mass imprisonment of Muslims, and its use and testing of sophisticated surveillance technology against the Uyghur community.
FRONTLINE (PBS / GBH)
“COVID’s Hidden Toll”
In this examination of how the COVID crisis has hit vulnerable immigrants and undocumented workers, FRONTLINE follows the pandemic’s invisible victims, including crucial farm and meat-packing workers who lack protections.
FRONTLINE (PBS / GBH)
“FIRE – POWER – MONEY: Holding PG&E Accountable”
ABC10’s examination of the connection between deadly wildfires, PG&E and its influence on California politics, demonstrates what a committed local news station does for citizens.
KXTV-TV ABC10 (KXTV-TV)
Arizona’s “Brady list” system is designed to track police officers with histories of lying and committing crimes. This hour-long special exposes the failure of Arizona’s law enforcement and prosecutors to effectively keep and enforce these lists.
KNXV-TV ABC15 (KNXV-TV)
Sky News spends 48 hours inside Idlib uncovering evidence of war crimes and humanitarian disasters.
Sky News (Sky News)
“KARE 11 Investigates: Cruel & Unusual”
After preventable deaths, botched investigations, falsified records and a suicide crisis, this thorough and well-rounded local Minneapolis investigation exposes a suspicious pattern of inmate deaths.
KARE 11-TV (KARE 11-TV)
“Muslim in Trump’s America (Exposure)”
Director and journalist Deeyah Khan exposes the extreme anti-Muslim ideology that President Donald Trump has normalised—and ruthlessly exploited—in the fight for votes.
Fuuse Films (ITV)
“PBS NewsHour COVID-19 Coverage: Global Pandemic / MAKING SENSE: The Victims of the COVID Economy”
Two superb pieces of journalism from PBS cover the pandemic globally and nationally, showing the diversity of responses to the pandemic from five continents and the impact of the pandemic on the US economy and its workers, including hard hit sectors such as retail, restaurants, and African American-owned businesses.
PBS NewsHour (PBS)
“PBS NewsHour: Desperate Journey”
This remarkable two-part series documents the extraordinary journey of migrants as they traverse the hostile jungles of Southern Panama on foot. The reporting highlights the global migration crisis and the dangerous lengths people go to as they seek a better life.
PBS NewsHour (PBS)
“Policing the Police 2020”
In the wake of racial justice protests over the killing of George Floyd, reporter Jelani Cobb returns to a troubled police department he first visited four years ago to examine whether reform can work, and how police departments can be held accountable.
FRONTLINE (PBS / GBH)
“Undercover in the Schools that Chain Boys”
A skillful and impactful investigation uncovering systemic child abuse and evidence of sexual abuse inside Islamic schools in Sudan.
BBC News Arabic Documentaries (BBC)
“VICE on Showtime: Losing Ground”
A smart look at the little-known issue of “heirs property,” reporter Alzo Slade examines how many black landowners lose their homesteads due to legal loopholes often exploited by white developers.
VICE News (Showtime)
“Whose Vote Counts”
Jelani Cobb reports on allegations of voter disenfranchisement, how unfounded claims of extensive voter fraud entered the political mainstream, rhetoric and realities around mail-in ballots, and the pandemic’s impact on voter turnout in the 2020 election.
FRONTLINE, Columbia Journalism Investigations, USA Today Network (PBS / GBH)
Revisiting Hurricane Katrina, “Floodlines” offers a story from the people who lived through the flood and its aftermath—a story of rumors, betrayal, and one of the most misunderstood events in American history.
The Atlantic (theatlantic.com; podcast platforms)
“Language Keepers Podcast Series”
This six-part podcast series honors the amount of work and care that goes into preservation as it explores the struggle for Indigenous language survival in California.
Emergence Magazine (Emergence Magazine)
This podcast from teenagers offering stories in their own voices, relays raw and real testimonials on subjects like the stress of living between two homes after a divorce, adjusting to life after a father’s deportation, dealing with drug pressures at school, and what it’s like being at odds with your identical twin.
CBC Podcasts (CBC Podcasts / TRX from PRX)
“Post Reports: The Life of George Floyd”
We all know about the death of George Floyd. This special episode of “Post Reports” gives us a full treatment of his life, and tells the story of Floyd’s family, his upbringing and how racism hobbled his ambition.
The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com; podcast platforms)
“The Land That Never Has Been Yet”
This podcast series with John Biewen and Chenjerai Kumanyika excavates our well-worn narratives about American democracy and demands a re-examination of our history. Our democracy is in crisis. But how democratic was America ever meant to be?
Scene on Radio (PRX)
“The Promise: Season 2”
An immersive series about inequality and the people trying to rise above it, “The Promise” grapples with public education and race in Nashville, with one school trying to stay afloat, a neighborhood divided over race and economics, and a city that’s resisted school desegregation every step of the way.
Nashville Public Radio (Nashville Public Radio)
“This American Life Episode #713: Made to be Broken | Act 1 – Time Bandit”
A captivating and contemplative audio experiment, “Time Bandit” sits with composer and musician Jerome Ellis, who at an annual New Year’s Day performance event, got on stage with no instrument and broke a small rule in a monumental way.
This American Life (thisamericanlife.org; podcast platforms)
“Cops and Robbers”
Animation and activism unite in this multimedia spoken-word response to police brutality and racial injustice.
Lawrence Bender Productions (Netflix)
This multi-part series from Seattle’s KING 5 leads viewers through uncomfortable interviews and the issues of racial injustice and inequality in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd to show us what accountability looks like.
KING 5 (KING-TV)
“Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020”
LeBron James leads artists, athletes, musicians, commencement speakers, influencers, and cultural icons as they show their support for the High School Class of 2020 in a virtual graduation ceremony for the nation’s seniors who were denied the in-person rite of passage due to the pandemic.
The Entertainment Industry Foundation, XQ Institute, Springhill Entertainment, Done & Dusted (Simultaneously ran on 46 broadcast networks and digital/social media platforms)
A moving film on resilience and public health, Shania tells an evocative story of a group of friends who encounter life-changing obstacles that mirror the day-to-day challenges faced by many adolescent girls and young women in Zimbabwe.
Quizzical Pictures, USAID (Zimbabwe television)
“Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché”
This remarkable documentary gives us a portrait of Alice Guy-Blaché who, as the world’s first female movie director, screenwriter, producer, and studio owner, was involved in over 1,000 films, but whose importance and impact in the history of cinema has been largely ignored.
Be Natural Productions (Turner Classic Movies)