WINNERS OF 12th ANNUAL WEBBY AWARDS ANNOUNCED; STEPHEN COLBERT, MICHEL GONDRY, will.i.am TO BE HONORED FOR SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT
New York, NY (May 6, 2008) - The winners of this year's Webby Awards will be saluted alongside a remarkable slate of special achievement honorees, including Stephen Colbert, director Michel Gondry and, artist and producer will.i.am, organizers announced today.
The Webby Awards winners were revealed today in a wide range of categories, including Websites, online film and video, interactive advertising, and mobile Websites. In addition, nearly half a million votes were cast by people around the world for their favorite sites, videos, and ads in The Webby People's Voice Awards presented by Nokia. A full list of both Webby Awards and People's Voice Awards winners can be found at www.webbyawards.com.
Organizers also announced an initial list of Webby Special Achievement awards, including:
* 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 - From his legendary music videos to his pioneering work in film, Michel 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.
* Webby Artist of the Year - 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 U.S. 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. will.i.am's record label was also behind 2007's most downloaded single - Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry".
* Webby Film and Video - Best Actor: 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.
Hailed as the "Internet's highest honor" by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 550-person judging academy whose members include Vinton Cerf, Arianna Huffington, Matt Groening, and Harvey Weinstein.
"The Webby winners confirm why the Internet has become the centerpiece of virtually any conversation, whether you are talking about entertainment, business, politics, you name it," said David-Michel Davies, executive director of The Webby Awards. "Every facet of culture and society is being reshaped and influenced by it."
Highlights of Webby winners include:
* Multiple winners such as: NYTimes.com (8); 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).
* 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. Several up-and-coming agencies, including Norway's MediaFront, Pasadena's 42 Entertaiment, and New Zealand's Hyper Factory, received multiple nods.
* Winners of the 12th Annual Webby Awards hail from 17 countries including: United Kingdom, Spain, The Netherlands, Singapore, France, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Norway, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Sweden.
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.")
About The Webby Awards:
Hailed as the "Internet's highest honor" by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile web sites. Established in 1996, the 12th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards is presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: Adobe; The Creative Group; Nokia; .ORG; Level 3; Getty Images; The Barbarian Group; Digital Kitchen; Adweek; Variety; Wired; IDG; Pequot Ventures; Brightcove; PricewaterhouseCoopers; 2advanced.Net; KobeMail and Museum of the Moving Image.