The Streamys Nominees: Celebrities, Underdogs and Our Very Own Avatar

Well, the Streamy nominations are out, and it’s a beautiful morning for Crackle (whose series Angel of Death and The Bannen Way dominated the Drama categories) and ICM (per agent George Ruiz’s Twitter, its clients received 23 nominations.

But taking a step back, what do we gather from this list — and the Streamys in general? To start this off, let’s have some full disclosure: Not only did I vote for the nominees as a member of the IAWTV, but I participated in a pre-judging screening round, where some IAWTV members were asked to pare down the number of nominees in certain categories, due to the overwhelming number of options submitted. However, while there were a few options that I wish I’d been able to nominate when I went to select my choices, overall I didn’t find it too difficult to make my picks.

And going through today’s nominees, there are several small ones that I’m glad to see. Just some of them: Unauthorized Dr. Horrible prequel Horrible Turn‘s nod for best original music, Young American Bodies‘s Joe Swanberg for best director for a drama, INST MSGS for best experimental series and the gorgeous Hong Kong-set LUMINA for cinematography. In addition, if Valemont‘s game-changing interactivity doesn’t win the big prize in April, I’ll be full of serious woe.

However, the acting categories are a bit disappointing, as that’s where the bias towards the talent established by other mediums can be seen. Looking at the Best Female Actor in a Comedy category, for example, the only person there who would be considered a true veteran of the web series world is Felicia Day — who was already vaguely known prior to The Guild for her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Male Actor in a Comedy category is somewhat more balanced, with Amir Blumenfeld and Sandeep Parik offsetting Zach Galifianakis and Tony Hale, and Craig Frank for Compulsions and Sophie Tilson for OzGirl are inspiring to see. But there’s a heavy emphasis on Hollywood here that doesn’t necessarily reflect the real talent pool currently acting in web video.

And personally, I’m pretty torn about The Bannen Way, as my opinion of it since my first review hasn’t changed. For me, it’s the Avatar of the Streamys this year — too popular not to nominate, but derivative despite all its polish.

Ultimately, the Streamys will always probably struggle to find the right balance between celebrating homegrown heroes, helping lesser-known talent get new recognition, and honoring the Hollywood influx that has increased the medium’s profile. But that very dilemma is itself a larger metaphor for the current state of this industry.

The intrusion of old media into new media is an issue we all go back and forth on, I think. It’s great to have the potential of web video recognized by “the mainstream,” and the mainstream brings validation and money with it. But everyone likes to root for the underdog and the home team, and independent creators, working without the benefit of old media recognition, represent both — and provide the unique voices which help this medium thrive.

Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): Fact or Fiction: Where Is Branded Online Video Going?

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