webby awards

America loves award shows. The red carpets, the flashbulbs, the afterparty rumours — we’re fascinated with the winners and losers alike. But there’s something that might leave us a little empty inside. Is it all about beauty? What about brains, inventiveness, and ingenuity? That’s why the Webbys are so refreshing. Have you ever seen an article titled “Who Wore It Wrong at the Webbys?” Maybe that’s coming, but it’s not here yet. The Webby Awards are reserved for the reserved — even the acceptance speeches are constrained to only five words.

So the Webbys isn’t the most glamorous award show, but let’s breathe a little geeky glory into this nearly two-decade tradition: pour a glass of champagne, spread some goat cheese on a cracker, settle into your well-worn chair, and offer your full attention to the words below. They were carefully crafted by one who poured through TWENTY-SEVEN pages (real paper pages, not Web pages) to extract the most interesting and relevant awards for this very special audience, which includes you. So do something with your hair, OK?

Our condensed ceremony begins with Webby’s General Website category. This year’s winner in Television was Hulu.com, beating out Crackle, Bloomberg, and WebGeol, among others. This was the only award Hulu.com won, but they doubled the recognition by earning both the official Webby and the People’s Voice Webby. Netflix.com did the same, beating out Hulu.com and Crackle by earning both awards in the “Media Streaming” category. Since you can’t stream without a device, and you can’t buy a device without reading lots of reviews, kudos goes to The Verge for winning the People’s Voice Webby for Consumer Electronics. The Verge also won People’s Voice in four other non-Web categories, including Podcast, News, and Writing. The official Webby went to Coloud, makers of high-tech headphones.

In Movie & Film, a category for websites that promote, supplement, or review movies, the official Webby went to The Hunger Games Capitol Tour. If you’re a Hunger Games fan, you’ll understand this; if not, you might get more out of Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, the People’s Voice winner. Also take a look at some of the nominees, which include ScreenCrush, The Carp and the Seagull, and the Lincoln Theatrical Website.

Websites, whatev. Shows are where the real fun is, and that’s why Webby has an entire award segment for exclusively online entertainment. The Webby for a Comedy Long Form or Series went to Burning Love, a parody of reality TV dating shows. People’s Voice in this category went to Bad Lip Reading, a YouTube channel of anonymously produced spoofs. (I wonder who will do the five-word speech for that one.) The Documentary Series winner, taking both awards, was ESPN’s 30 for 30. In Drama, the winner was The Beauty Inside, a social film that plays out on Facebook and gives audience members the chances to audition for lead roles. People’s Voice went to The Walking Dead: Cold Storage, a four-part web series based on the television show.

Webby recognizes the Experimental & Weird by awarding YouTube show The Last Goodbye with the official award in this category. What is The Last Goodbye, you ask? It’s “the inevitable end of a passionate, volatile relationship, told through contemporary pole dance.” OK! After watching that weirdness, move your YouTube dial over to The Glitch, the People’s Voice winner. I’m not sure what it’s about, but it’s weird for sure.

The two winners in Entertainment for the Video Channels and Networks portion are in sharp contrast to each other. Pitchfork.tv, an independent music video channel founded by one person and based in Chicago, took the Webby. Crackle.com, a Sony-owned streaming media and online entertainment site, earned People’s Voice. This was the only award Crackle.com received this year, but it was nominated in six categories. HuffPost Live took the Webby in the News & Information category, but that’s not a big surprise: its founder, Ariana Huffington, is a primary member of the Webby’s organizational group, The International Academy of the Digital Arts and Sciences. The People’s Voice winner, The Young Turks Network, has no such clout but is obviously a fan favorite.

Well, you’ve probably finished your goat cheese. If you want more, and there is LOTS more, visit the Webby Awards at www.webbyawards.com.

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