The Webby Awards winners have been revealed in a wide range of categories, including Web sites, online film and video, interactive advertising, and mobile Web sites. In addition, nearly half a million votes were cast by people around the world for their favourite sites, videos, and ads in The Webby People's Voice Awards presented by Nokia.
The big winners included the NYTimes.com, which picked up eight awards; The Onion (7); PostSecret (4); National Geographic (4); Apple.com (4); Hometown Baghdad (3); You Suck at Photoshop (3), Flickr (3); FactCheck.org (3); BBC (3); TED.com (3); ESPN.com (3); and CondeNet (3).
Achieving both critical and popular consensus, 27 sites won both a Webby Award and a People's Voice Award including: Huffington Post (Blog-Political), PostSecret (Blog-Cultural), FT.com Alphaville (Blog-Business), National Geographic (Magazine), NYTimes.com (Newspaper), FactCheck.org (Politics), Flickr (Community), 30 Second Bunnies Theatre: Brokeback Mountain (Animation); and You Suck at Photoshop (Do-It Yourself/How-To-Video).
You Suck at Photoshop is of special note to digital creatives as it satirizes poorly-made Photoshop video tutorials and is full of dark comedy as elements of the fictional creator's crumbling personal life keep intruding into his tutorials.
A difference of opinion
The judges and public parted ways in several popular categories. For Viral Video, pop phenomenon Chocolate Rain earned the public's top votes, while dotcom spoof Here Comes another Bubble was selected by the judges. For Weird, the Academy chose Passive-Aggressive Notes, while fans selected I Can Has Cheezburger?. And for Social Networking, judges embraced Flock The Social Web Browser, while the public voted for Facebook.
Online video continues to spark comedy innovation. Notable winners include: Wainy Days (Comedy - Long Form or Series) from director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) starring Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones, and Jonah Hill; Tom Green's House Tonight (Variety); Onion News Network; and You Suck at Photoshop.
Crossing over to become pop phenomena, Trevors the Mentos Intern (Online Guerilla Marketing) and Coca Cola Happiness Factory (Game or Application) were singled out for outstanding interactive advertising.
Winners will be honored at two New York City ceremonies: The 12th Annual Webby Awards on June 10th featuring Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live as host; and The Webby Film and Video Awards on June 9th with Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock as emcee. In keeping with Webby tradition, winners will be limited to five-word acceptance speeches. Past speeches include Al Gore ("Please don't recount this vote"), Beastie Boys ("Can anyone fix my computer?"), and Prince ("Everything you think is true.")
The power of 'truthiness'
Organizers also announced an initial list of Webby Special Achievement awards, including Stephen Colbert as Webby Person of the Year. Colbert will be honored for the innovative way he has used the Internet to interact with fans of The Colbert Report - from Google bombing to make him the top search result for "greatest living American" to challenging the "truthiness" of Wikipedia. In his presidential campaign, the One Million Strong for Stephen T. Colbert Facebook group attracted more than 78 members per minute in its first week, while his supporters have raised more than $250,000 for the education charity DonorsChoose.org.
Webby Film and Video Person of the Year was given to Michel Gondry. From his legendary music videos to his pioneering work in film, Gondry's inventive visual style and storytelling consistently set new motion picture standards. His latest film, Be Kind Rewind, in itself a celebration of low-budget, do-it-yourself filmmaking, introduced 'sweding' to the internet, inspiring filmmakers to follow his lead in recreating scenes from their favorite films and sharing them online. His Rubik's Cube videos, showing Gondry solving the puzzle with both his feet and nose, have become a viral hit of their own.
In a year that saw Internet video become a dominant political force, The Black Eyed Peas' frontman, songwriter and producer will.i.am will be recognized for the songs and Internet videos he created in support of US presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Yes We Can video, featuring Scarlett Johansson, John Legend, and Herbie Hancock, has been viewed more than 17 million times since its February premiere.
Comedy heroes Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim will be honored for their cult hit timanderic.com. Poster children for the kind of weirdness that could only take off online, their skits won them a rabid fan base and a contract with Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network.