‘The Muppets,’ ‘The Help,’ ‘The Way’ among Christopher Award winners

Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer in "The Help". The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/DreamWorks)

NEW YORK (CNS) — The feature films “The Muppets,” “The Help,” “The Way” and “War Horse” were among the winners of this year’s Christopher Awards.

Another winner: Mother Dolores Hart, who once starred alongside Elvis Presley, then became a cloistered Benedictine nun. She has been tapped as the winner of the 2012 Christopher Life Achievement Award. Her latest movie appearance was as the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary “God is the Bigger Elvis.”

This year’s awards, the Christophers’ 63rd, will be presented May 24 in New York.

In addition to “The Muppets,” “The Help,” “The Way” and “War Horse,” cinema winners of Christopher Awards included “Of Gods and Men,” which dramatized the true story of French monks in Algeria torn between their desire for safety and their commitment to serving the medical and social needs of the local populace during the nation’s civil war. The other film winner was the documentary “Buck,” about real-life horse whisperer Buck Brannaman.

The Emmy Award-winning “American Experience” documentary “Freedom Riders” was one of several TV and cable winners of Christophers. Another PBS entry, Father Robert Barron’s 10-part miniseries “Catholicism,” also was awarded a Christopher.

Other TV and cable Christopher winners included the Oprah Winfrey Network’s first original documentary, “Serving Life;” HBO’s Oscar-winning documentary “Strangers No More;” and a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV movie, “Have a Little Faith,” which aired on ABC.

Winners of Christophers in the category of books for adults were “A Good and Perfect Gift” by Amy Julia Becker; “An Invisible thread” by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski; “I Shall Not Hate” by Izzeldin Abuelaish; “Kisses From Katie” by Katie Davis and Beth Clark; and “Little Princess” by Conor Grennan.

In the books for young people category, Christopher winners were:

Preschoolers: “Shine: Choices to Make God Smile,” written by Genny Monchamp and illustrated by Karol Kaminski.

Kindergarteners: “Waiting for the Biblioburro,” written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra.

Ages 6-8: “You Can Be a Friend,” written by Tony and Lauren Dungy and illustrated by Ron Mazellan.

Ages 8-10: “Hooper Finds a Family” by Jane Paley.

Ages 10-12: “Words in the Dust” by Trent Reedy.

Also, Marty Lyons, a defensive lineman from 1979 to 1989 for the New York Jets and now a radio analyst for Jets games as well as vice president of marketing and public relations for the Landtek Group, will receive the 2012 James Keller Award, named after the Christophers’ founder, for his work with the Marty Lyons Foundation, which has offered hope and inspiration to 6,000 seriously ill children and teens over the past 30 years.

The Christopher Awards, created in 1949, are presented to writers, producers, directors and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit.