Home / Arts & Life / Review: ‘The Pulitzer at 100’ Celebrates Awards More Than Winners

Review: ‘The Pulitzer at 100’ Celebrates Awards More Than Winners


The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, in “The Pulitzer at 100.”

First Run Features

Although the Pulitzer Prizes go to literature and drama, they still don’t recognize cinema. But adding movies to the list might only raise questions. Who would judge? Should fiction and documentary receive separate awards?

An excellent example of what not to award, however, comes from “The Pulitzer at 100,” an hour and a half of congratulatory platitudes timed to the prizes’ centennial. Although produced independently, this documentary, directed by Kirk Simon, plays as if the Pulitzers were presenting an award to themselves.


Trailer: ‘The Pulitzer at 100’

A preview of the film.

By FIRST RUN FEATURES on Publish Date July 18, 2017.

Image courtesy of Internet Video Archive.

Watch in Times Video »

Past winners, including Wynton Marsalis, Paula Vogel, Tracy K. Smith and Tony Kushner, share insights on their writing processes and how the recognition has affected their careers. Celebrities like Natalie Portman and Martin Scorsese read from winning works, with which they are sometimes oddly paired.

The best anecdotes aren’t simple victory laps. Nicholas D. Kristof, a New York Times columnist, who received the award for his reporting on the Tiananmen Square democracy movement and his columns about the genocide in Darfur, notes “a certain irony in gaining from a surge in human misery.” Carol D. Leonnig of The Washington Post recounts her prizewinning coverage of Secret Service lapses. John Filo and Nick Ut explain how they photographed famous images of the Vietnam era. Reporters from The Times-Picayune recall Hurricane Katrina.

Yet couching these achievements in a testament to Joseph Pulitzer’s enduring genius seems trivializing. The novelist Michael Cunningham admits that a different jury might not have awarded his book “The Hours” (“another reason the prize goes into the sock drawer,” he says). More charitably, Junot Díaz says he is surprised by how often the prizes get it right.

Continue reading the main story

About admin

Check Also

Hear the Best Albums and Songs of 2023

Dear listeners, In the spirit of holiday excess and end-of-the-year summation, we’re about to make …