"Lars," "Diving Bell" top Humanitas honors

Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:03am EDT
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By Kimberly Nordyke

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Lars and the Real Girl" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" edged out "Juno" to tie for top feature film honors at the 34th annual Humanitas Prize Awards on Wednesday.

The awards honor scripts that "affirm the human person, probe the meaning of life, and enlighten the use of human freedom." Each award carries a cash prize, with a total of $95,000 handed out during the ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

In an emotional acceptance speech, "Lars" writer Nancy Oliver discussed the difficulty of "trying to sell a story about loss and grief and aggravation that's a comedy." The film revolves around the romance between a man and a blow-up doll.

"Diving Bell" writer Ronald Harwood was unable to make the event. The French film is based on the true story of a paralyzed man who dictated a book by blinking his eyelid.

In the TV categories, writers on two historical-themed HBO projects were recognized: "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," written by Daniel Giat, in the 90-minute category, and "John Adams (Part 1)," written by Kirk Ellis, in the 60-minute category.

Ellis -- following remarks by a couple of presenters onstage in reference to a "hockey mom," i.e., vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin -- also brought up politics in his acceptance speech.

"We don't want to have a beer with (our political leaders); we want them to lead," he said. "We don't want them to 'be like me' but to be as exceptional as the men and at least one woman, Abigail Adams, who founded this country." He went on to say that "John Adams" depicted "a time when intelligent men spoke complex thoughts in complete sentences."

"Scrubs" writer David Tennant won in the 30-minute TV category for an episode titled "My Long Goodbye" that dealt with a character's death. After joking that he won over his fellow nominees "because God likes me better," he turned serious, telling the audience that he felt like when he was writing the episode, he was really writing his own goodbye to his late father via one character's dialogue.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Cast member Ryan Gosling (L) poses with co-star Patricia Clarkson at the premiere of "Lars and the Real Girl" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California October 2, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>