Winner 2021

The Underground Railroad

Plan B, PASTEL, Big Indie with Amazon Studios

In Colson Whitehead’s 2016 novel, the figuratively magical network that aided enslaved people in their pursuit of freedom took on a real mythical valence: the miracle of The Underground Railroad was powered by a literal locomotive. Director Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of Whitehead’s book adds yet another layer of fantastical meaning to the story, approaching its characters and landscape with a stunning reverence and a palpable sense of imagination. In tracing the path of Cora, the story’s enslaved protagonist, The Underground Railroad weaves in an immersive sensory experience of the land that both aided and foiled her, poignant moments of connection between characters spanning generations, and weighty lessons about the utter devastation of the transatlantic slave trade. The resulting production is a meticulous, wrenching work that remains faithful to the emotional core of historical narratives while incorporating an evocative score and sweeping cinematography. For its daring, expansive adaptation of Whitehead’s sprawling novel, The Underground Railroad wins a Peabody Award.


Network/Station/Platform:  Amazon Prime. Creator:  Barry Jenkins, Based on the Novel by Colson Whitehead. Showrunner:  Barry Jenkins. Executive Producers:  Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Colson Whitehead, Richard Heus, Jacqueline Hoyt. Consulting Producer:  Nathan C. Parker. Producer:  Richleigh Heagh. Associate Producers:  Lindsey Molnar, Chiara Rivera. Co-Producers:  Jamie Feldman, Shawn Petersen. Director:  Barry Jenkins. Writers:  Barry Jenkins, Jacqueline Hoyt, Nathan C. Parker, Allison Davis, Adrienne Rush, Jihan Crowther. Editors:  Joi McMillon, ACE, Alex O’Flinn, Luke Doolan, Matthew Willard, Daniel Morfesis. Production Designer:  Mark Friedberg. Costume Designer:  Caroline Eselin-Schaefer. Cinematography:  James Laxton, ASC. Composer:  Nicholas Britell. Sound Supervisor:  Onnalee Blank.