For over 40 years The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors has provided an opportunity for the best and the brightest talent to network and voice the ‘creative conscience’ of the Television Industry.

The Caucus is leading the evolution of television by providing a creative forum for Producers, Writers and Directors to explore the issues of the ever-changing landscape of content and exhibition.

Actor and event host James Pickens, Jr

Hosted by actor James Pickens, Jr for the sixth year in a row, the 38th Annual Caucus Awards gala – which is traditionally held at the Skirball Center in Beverly Hills – was adapted to a virtual awards gala during these times of COVID-19.  The virtual ceremony opened with a poignant introduction from one of the Caucus founders – legendary producer Norman Lear.

Producer and Caucus Co-Founder Norman Lear

In his remarks, Lear recalled how the Caucus started at a Chinese Restaurant by a group of writer/producers who called themselves “12 Angry Men.” While the founders not only recognized the need to create a bonafide organization, they also made creating opportunities for those who follow a part of the Caucus’ DNA. This early sentiment was echoed in Lear’s remarks as he spoke of the potential of today’s young people.

“The next generation can yell just as loud as we did. LOUDER…when they look up from their cell phones.”

Danish director Susanne Bier (The Undoing) received the Director of the Year Award, presented by Academy Award®, Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy winner Nicole Kidman.  Kidman – who joined the virtual gala from Sydney, Australia – warmly congratulated Bier by saying, “Susanne, you’re not just a director, you are an artist with a vision.”

In his acceptance speech for the Writer of the Year Award, Academy Award®-winning writer, producer, and director Aaron Sorkin invoked the spirit of New York Yankee’s hero Lou Gherig’s legendary speech when he said, “All due respect to Lou Gehrig, but I’m pretty sure I’m the luckiest man in the world. Or, at least, I’m in a tie.”

Producer Gail Katz, Professor of Cinematic Arts at USC, the Mary Pickford Endowed Chair, and the Faculty Chair of the School of Cinematic Arts received the Educator of the Year Award, presented by Shaun Cassidy and St. Louis Community leaders and philanthropists Jeanne and Tom Townsend were awarded with the Caucus’ Humanitarian Award presented by Caucus Co-Chair James Hirsch, followed by a special performance by Pianos for People student prodigy Royce Martin.

Actress/producer Reese Witherspoon (Photo credit: John Russo)

Presented by Academy Award®, Golden Globe, SAG, Actress Octavia Spencer, Academy Award®, Golden Globe, and Emmy winner and Hello Sunshine Founder, Reese Witherspoon and, spoke eloquently of how she and her team led by Hello Sunshine’s President of Film and Television Lauren Neustadter are carrying on the legacy of the Caucus in their work as they accepted the Producers of the Year Award. “I’m so thrilled that tonight’s honor is an opportunity for us to pay it forward,” Witherspoon said.  “Our whole company is dedicated to creating a more inclusive Hollywood community.”

Actress/producer Marsai Martin

Actress and executive producer Marsai Martin (Black-ish / Little) was presented with the Rising Star of the Year Award by Donna Langley, Chairman Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and  Vin Di Bona, Chairman, Vin Di Bona Productions closed out the evening with his acceptance of the prestigious Caucus Legend Award, presented by America’s Funniest Home Videos host presented by Alfonso Ribeiro.

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