Winner 2004

Something the Lord Made

Cort/Madden Productions, in association with HBO Films

Something the Lord Made is the story of two men, Dr. Alfred Blalock, an ambitious white surgeon, and Vivien Thomas, a brilliant black carpenter turned lab technician. Together they defied the racial strictures of the Jim Crow south, devised groundbreaking surgical techniques, and pioneered the field of heart surgery. But this film is also the story of two men who come to respect and depend on one another, and in their own way, to love one another. Thomas’ amazing ability to comprehend biological processes and to invent technical devices and surgical strategies both assist and guide Blalock’s drive to understand the human heart and to repair it when flawed. Their years together span major developments in medical research and practice and also years of struggle for civil rights and human dignity. Even when they cannot repair every flaw in their own relationship or in a larger system flawed by prejudice and hate, their reliance on one another exceeds their individual limitations. Alan Rickman as Blalock and Mos Def as Thomas offer moving and fully realized characterizations of these two figures. Supporting them are principle cast members Mary Stuart Masterson, Gabrielle Union, Merritt Wever, Clayton Lebouef, Charles Dutton, and Kyra Sedgwick. The script by Peter Silverman and Robert Caswell comes to life under direction by Joseph Sargent, photography by Donald M. Morgan, production design by Vincent Peranio, editing by Michael Brown, and a score by Elmer Bernstein. Visual effects were created by Digiscope under visual effects supervisor Ron Simonson. David Madden, Eric Hetzel, and Robert W. Cort served as executive producers, with Julian Krainin and Mike Drake as producers, and Irving Sorkin as co-producer. For exploring the anatomy of the human heart and the “heart” of human exchange, a Peabody Award goes to Something the Lord Made.