Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

New York

‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ among Christopher Award winners

By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE | Published May 19, 2017

NEW YORK (CNS)—The films “Hidden Figures” and “Hacksaw Ridge,” both of which were Best Picture nominees at this year’s Academy Awards, are both winners in the 68th annual Christopher Awards.

Winners in movies, television and books were announced March 28 by the Christophers, who started the awards in 1949 to honor writers, producers, directors, authors and illustrators whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” The Christophers’ motto, taken from the ancient Chinese proverb “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,” guides the organization’s awards, publishing and radio initiatives.

“Hidden Figures,” which tells the story of three African-American women hired as “computers” in the early days of the manned space flight program, is the second Christopher Award for writer-director Ted Melfi, who also won in 2014 for the movie “St. Vincent.”

“Hacksaw Ridge,” based on the story of World War II conscientious objector Desmond Doss, who was awarded a Medal of Honor by Congress for saving 75 lives without firing a shot in the Battle of Okinawa, was directed by actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson, a Catholic who has stirred controversy over the years, including with his film “The Passion of the Christ.” “Hacksaw Ridge” is the first film he has directed in 10 years.

Other movies that won Christophers are “Queen of Katwe,” about a poor Ugandan girl whose talent for chess is discovered and cultivated so that she becomes an international champion, and “The Hollars,” about the loving and complex dynamics between parents and their children when a medical crisis exposes their vulnerabilities.

Two dramas and four documentaries won Christophers in the TV and cable category.

The pilot episode of NBC’s new series “This Is Us” and the made-for-TV movie “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love,” also on NBC, were the drama winners.

A segment of CBS’ “60 Minutes” called “Gold Star Parents” showed how mothers and fathers whose children have been killed while serving in the military begin healing from their loss. HBO’s “Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing” looked at the struggle of those who lost limbs during the Boston Marathon terror attack of 2013 to reclaim their lives. A&E’s “Born This Way: Bachelor Pad” showed how adults with Down syndrome take to living on their own. And an episode of the World Channel’s “America ReFramed” called “In the Game” depicts a girls’ soccer team in an inner-city neighborhood as friendships are forged and their coach drives them to pursue big dreams despite their poverty.

Six books for adults and six books for children also were named Christopher Award winners.

The adult titles are:

– “Carry On” by Lisa Fenn.

– “The Hundred Story Home” by Kathy Izard.

– “Love That Boy” by Ron Fournier.

– “Operating on Faith” by Matt Weber.

– “Pint-Sized Prophets” by Chuck Dietzen.

– “Spaceman” by Mike Massimino.

The six children’s titles are:

– “Baby Wren and the Great Gift” (preschool and up) by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jen Corace.

– “What Do You Do With a Problem?” (kindergarten and up) by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom.

– “Ida, Always” (ages 6 and up), by Caron Levis, illustrated by Charles Santoso.

– “Ada’s Violin” (ages 8 and up) by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport.

– “Soar” (ages 10-12) by three-time Christopher Award winner Joan Bauer.

– “Unbound” (young adult) by Ann E. Burg.

Winners were honored May 16 at a dinner in New York.