You can’t win an Oscar for an online short yet, but the Webby Awards are the Internet’s most prestigious honor, and this year’s crop highlights how sophisticated Web projects have grown. The 2013 Webby Award winners range from indie superstar Grimes to Kevin Spacey. The 17th annual Webby Awards honor a variety of Internet publications and sites.
While we recently explored some of the most intriguing nominees, the winners have officially been announced. So who took home the gold – er, silver, spirally trophy? Here are a few of the coolest projects that took home the top prizes:
Webby Breakout of the Year – Obama for America’s 2012 digital campaign took home the award for its ability to use the Internet in an effective political campaign.
Webby Lifetime Achievement Award – Steve Whilite, creator of the GIF file format. An incredibly appropriate win considering 2012-2013 may go down in history as the Year of the GIF.
Webby Person of the Year – Frank Ocean, for a Tumblr post on his sexuality. Ocean made a bold move for an up-and-coming R&B singer and described his bisexuality in a moving post.
Best Individual Performance – Charlize Theron, for Charlize Theron Gets Hacked, a Funny or Die short. Basically, the equation of beautiful person plus ridiculous situation still almost inevitably deserves props because someone is indeed both funny and improbably good-looking.
Branded Entertainment Short Form – Red Bull Stratos (took home the Webby Winner and the People’s Voice award). The Red Bull Stratos also took home the Events and Live Webcasts Webby. That’s not surprising, considering Red Bull Stratos was potentially the most bonkers branded event ever, since it involved someone jumping from the edge of outer space. I don’t know how they’re ever going to beat that without causing death and destruction.
Music – Sigur Ros for “Fjogur Piano,” otherwise known as the music video with naked Shia Labeouf. It’s a beautiful song, but to be honest, not sure the glory of the sound counterbalanced the creepiness of the music video enough to validate this win.
News and Politics, Series – Vice Media took home the Webby Winner and the People’s Voice award for Vice News. Vice had a big year at the Webby’s, picking up a few additional awards, including the award for News and Politics, Individual Episode for its episode “The Mexican Mormon War.” More evidence that Vice is moving away from fart jokes and towards hard journalism (or at least a combination of fart jokes and hard journalism.)
Webby Special Achievement Awards – Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti picked this one up for their work with the Netflix series House of Cards, since it basically took everyone’s unhealthy TV binge-viewing habits and validated them. Jerry Seinfeld also won an achievement award for his web series Comedians in the Car Getting Coffees.
Webby Artist of the Year – Grimes, everyone’s favorite ethereal Canadian song-maker. She embraces the Internet to connect with fans and released most of her early work for free online through Arbutus Records, a badass homebrew Montreal record label.
Webby Athlete of the Year – Continuing the Webby trend of honoring people who speak up in favor of LGBT issues, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe won this year for his outspoken stance towards marriage equality – and his decision to use the Internet to spread his message.
Best Use of Photography – Humans of New York won the Webby and the People’s Choice for its gripping collection of photos of ordinary inhabitants of NYC. The blog also took home the People’s Voice award for Best Cultural Blog.
Best User Experience – Tumblr may have recently shut down its original journalism project, but it came out on top when it came to user experience, picking up the Webby and the People’s Voice for its simple, intuitive interface.
For the full list of winners, check out the Webby Awards homepage.