Webby Nominees Out! Democracy Begins!

Maybe it’s really old media of me to say this, but if the New York Times says you’re the “Oscars of the Internet,” that’s probably what you are. (Of course, the NYT can afford to pay the Webbys submission fee, so they’re perhaps a little biased.) Some thoughts upon looking over yesterday’s announcement of the Online Film and Video nominees:

  • The Animation category seems oddly focused on series as opposed to standalones, which are often better animated (usually by virtue of being standalone). It’s great to see 30-Second Bunnies get recognition, but while it is good animation, that series’ real appeal is in the writing and performance.
  • The choice to nominate a single episode vs. an entire series seems somewhat arbitrary. And in technical categories like Best Editing, that choice may give shorts like WallStrip’s Haha an advantage over entire series, which are less easy to encapsulate. The Emmys usually specify episodes nominated for technical achievement — why don’t the Webbys?

  • The Best Use of Animation/Motion Graphics category is a great way to embrace the easily blurred lines between animation and live action on the web. It’s also a solid set of nominees, including Jesse Cowell and Erica Langworthy’s Drawn by Pain.
  • Super Deluxe, CollegeHumor and The Onion News Network took the Comedy: Individual episode nominations. While all of those pieces are hilarious, was there really no room for anyone from the Funny or Die world?
  • I didn’t think anyone could love Sir Ian McKellan more than me — but the Webbys proved me wrong. A Conversation With Sir Ian is nominated not only for Best Documentary: Individual Episode, but also two Website Webbys. And seriously, it should be nominated for all the Webbys, ever. Guys, Sir Ian talks to you about Shakespeare! It’s like he’s really there in the room with you! It’s like you’re friends!
  • Collectively, the New York Times racked up seven nominations. Maybe they (and I) aren’t so old media after all.
  • My favorite nomination on this list? You Suck at Photoshop for How To/DIY video.

  • With any awards show, you get frustrated by oversights and omissions — and the Webbys is no exception. For some categories, it seems like it would make sense to waive the submission fee — if only so that the awards were able to be a bit more representative of the actual online video world.
  • Nowhere is this more true than in the Viral Video category. While three of the nominees — Chocolate Rain, Obama Girl, Tony vs. Paul — have some street cred, the other two are complete mysteries to me. Here Comes Another Bubble has gotten 274,526 views over four months on YouTube. I’m sorry, but that is not a virus. That is a scraped knee, at best.

All crankiness aside, there’s a lot of interesting stuff to explore on this list, and I’m excited to dig in and work out who I’m voting for, especially in categories like Documentary and Experimental, where I’m less familiar with the nominees. Where is your ballot currently leaning?

The correct answer to that question, by the way, is “Sir Ian McKellan.”

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