Webby awards honour NFB, girls say video

The winners of the 16th annual Webby awards were announced Tuesday, with several Canadians listed among the winners, honourees and nominees.

'Oscars of the internet' announce winners

God’s Lake Narrows, an interactive NFB feature by Kevin Lee Burton and Alicia Smith, won the Webby for best use of photography. The Webby Awards have been nicknamed the Oscars of the internet. (NFB)

The National Film Board of Canada has once again been recognized for its online innovation with two Webby awards, while Toronto's Graydon Sheppard was celebrated for his hit viral video "shit girls say."

The winners of the 16th annual Webby awards were announced Tuesday, with several Canadians listed among the winners, honourees and nominees. Webbys are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which includes an executive 1,000-member body of leading web experts as well as other internet professionals.

Other Canadian nominees

A handful of nominated Canadian nominees came close to nabbing Webbys, including:

The NFB's interactive film Bla Bla by Montreal filmmaker Vincent Morisset will take home the Webby for best web art. In his film, the viewer takes control by searching through six chapters devoted to some aspect of communication.

The Webby for best use of photography went to Winnipeg artist Kevin Lee Burton who takes viewers on a tour of God's Lake Narrows as he challenges the simple view of "reserve reality." His feature was also nominated for individual episode in the online film and video category.

The widely popular "shit girls say video", which parodies common expressions, stars Sheppard dressed up as a woman. The original video has garnered more than 16.2 million hits on YouTube and has inspired countless videos in the same format.

Professionals and the public crown winners

The organization presents two honours — The Webby Award and The Webby People's Voice Award — in each of its four categories: websites, interactive advertising and media, online film/video and mobile/apps.

Professional and popular opinions also converged in categories like best practices, which went to web-based file hosting service Dropbox; activism, which went to big energy critic Counterspill and best use of animation, which went to Draw A Stickman.

Watch the CBC's Webby nominated feature

The interactive documentary Truth & Lies – The Last Days of Osama Bin Laden, produced by and CBC Television’s the fifth estate, was nominated in the News and Politics: Individual Episode category.

Watch it online!

But there were also some marked differences of opinion.

In the news category, for instance, the pros went with the relatively young news reporting and opinion website  The Daily Beast while the public opted for an internet veteran, the BBC News website

The awards spanned the breath of the Internet, from mobile apps like Instagram and Pinterest that have disrupted social media, to entertainers charting new digital ground, like Louis C.K. and Bjork.

Ceremony, five-word speeches set for late May

The awards will be handed out in a May 21 event at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Patton Oswalt will host the awards ceremony, during which winners are famously restricted to five-word acceptance speeches.

The fun twist exists for practical reasons, as the Webbys honour innovators in more than 130 regular categories. At such a big event, there is a lot to look out for.

Comedian Louis C.K. has been named person of the year for setting "a new precedent for distribution" for self-distributing an inexpensive comedy special "Live at the Beacon Theater" which reaped more than $1 million.

Will Ferrell, who co-founded the comedy website Funny Or Die, won best individual performance for a video in which he reprised his impression of President George W. Bush, reacting to Osama Bin Laden's death.

The Onion won for best humour website and its video arm, the Onion Network, earned best writing in an online video for its satirical morning TV show video: "How to Get a Guy to Notice You While You're Having Sex With Him."

The pinboard-style website Pinterest won for best social media app, as well as a people's voice award for best functioning visual design. Best music app went to the streaming service Spotify, which Davies said typified "the intersection we're seeing between social and entertainment."

HBO Connect won for best TV website, and the New Yorker's website won for best editorial writing.

One new category, people's special achievement for social change, went to Facebook. The award, which was voted for online, honours "important Internet work that played an integral role in advancing and organizing the masses."

With files from the Associated Press