The Webby Awards is almost like a yearbook for everyone involved in digital media. Now in its 16th year, the annual event distills the online zeitgeist into one place. That place will be the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Monday, May 21, in a fun-filled shindig hosted by actor and comedian Patton Oswald.
Among this year’s fraternity pledges are Google+, Funny or Die, HBO Go, Spotify, Tim Tebow, Pinterest, Mashable, Michael J. Fox, Twitter, YouTube, AOL and Facebook.
The event itself has grown far from its roots as a night where almost everyone in the room knew each other personally. The Webby Awards nominees this year include famous actors, renowned musicians, advertisers, corporate communications departments, insurance, financial services, ecological concerns, philanthropists and more. The entire list is available here.
Presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), the Webbys are judged by IADAS members including Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, musician and artist David Bowie, and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom. This year the Webbys have introduced a new People’s Voice Award that the public can vote on between now and April 26. Also part of the public voting is the inaugural People’s Special Achievement Webby for Social Change, in recognition of the digital media’s 2011 emergence as a key to advancing and organizing the masses.
Comedy has always been a strength of the Webbys, which is one thing that hasn’t changed. Among the nominees in that genre are Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes and Jim Carrey in the FunnyorDie.com original Drunk History Christmas; Tim Tebow in ESPN First Take’s All He Does Is Win; and Zach Galifianakis for Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.
Other household names whose online appearances garnered them a Webby nomination are Ben Stiller, Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Jack Black, Kevin Spacey and President Bill Clinton in A Decade of Difference: The Clinton Foundation – Celebrity Division benefiting the 10th Anniversary of The William J. Clinton Foundation; and Wieden+Kennedy’s work for Nike’s Back for the Future, which featured Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Bill Hader, and benefited The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
The 16th Annual Webby Awards will be streamed live in HD on May 21 starting at 5:30 PM EST.
Webby Awards – official site
Webby Awards – 2012 list of nominees
Patton Oswalt – official site
TED blog – 5 Webby nominations for TED.com