Google, Jay Z and crowdfunding site Kickstarter are among the winners of this year's Webby Awards, a celebration of Internet achievement that got its start nearly two decades ago.
The awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a group of about 1,000 Web experts and Internet professionals. Judges included Tumblr founder David Karp and House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey.
Each Webby category is split in two: There's an award from the academy and a "People's Voice" award for which anyone can cast an online vote. Winners in the latter category include Beyoncé, Tumblr, the NASA website and satirical news site The Onion (which was also the academy's pick in the humour category).
A few Canadians who have been Webby favourites in recent years were recognized again in this year's list, including:
- Singer Justin Bieber's appearance on Zach Galifianakis' Funnyordie.com web series Between Two Ferns, which won both the Webby and People's Voice prizes in the category of comedy: long form or series.
- Rock troupe Arcade Fire's interactive music video collaboration Just a Reflektor, created with Montreal director Vincent Morisset and Google Creative Lab. It was the Webby winner for music (film and video) and both Webby and People's Voice winner for the websites: NetArt category.
The National Film Board of Canada also netted its eighth Webby for The Last Hunt. The people's voice award — selected by the online public — in the best navigation/structure category goes to the film by photographer Alexi Hobbs.
Created and produced by the NFB's Digital Studio in Vancouver, the film delves into the motivations that led Hobbs to photograph his grandfather's last hunting expedition, exposing the strength of family bonds and the spirituality implicit in the pragmatic act of hunting. The film also received an FITC Award, honouring the best in the digital media industry, in the best experimental category.
Notable winners also include:
- Funding site Kickstarter, to be honoured as the Webby breakout of the year "for proving the immense power of crowdfunding and forever changing the way we invest in and launch new and innovative projects."
- Hip hop influencers De La Soul, who will be honoured with a special achievement award for offering their entire discography for free download and showing its fans that hearing the music is more important than paying for it."
- Rapper Jay Z's Magna Carter Holy Grail app, Webby winner for best music app.
- Singer Pharell Williams, winner of both Webby and People's Voice Award for best use of interactive video category for his 24 Hours of Happy campaign with the United Nations.
The website Reasons My Son Is Crying received both the Webby and the People's Voice award in the personal blog or website category. The site features photos of bawling children captioned with the reasons they are upset, which range from "I wouldn't let him eat dog food" to "we told him that his dinosaur is blue."
Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig won a lifetime achievement award. Lessig co-founded Creative Commons, which provides a way for people to license their online work for public use.
The Jamaican Bobsleigh Team won Athlete of the Year honours for using crowdfunding to finance its trip to the Sochi Olympics. The team raised $129,687.17 from the crowdfunding site Crowdtilt and also received unsolicited donations from the supporters of Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency inspired by a silly Internet meme.
The awards will be handed out on May 19 in New York in a ceremony famous for restricting winners to five-word acceptance speeches. Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt will host.