Webby Awards: Are Five Words Really Enough?

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The 17th Annual Webby Awards - Show

This past Tuesday night, the 17th Annual Webby Awards ceremony took place in New York City at Cipriani on Wall Street. I was lucky enough to be in attendance. I had been there before, but only in the capacity of reporting, standing outside by the red carpet, interviewing the various important people who were attending. I’d never been a participant and it struck me that considering I’ve been in the industry for nearly as many years as the Webbys have been around (my first job out of college was at a start up in 1997) I somehow had never made it into the coveted event. Well, all that changed this year when I not only got to attend, but I was also a winner.

That’s right – the People’s Choice Awards iPhone app was selected as a finalist in the category of Mobile Apps in Entertainment, and while Lego beat us as the Webby-seleceted winner, the people – that’s right, you - voted us your favorite and made us the “People’s Voice” award winner. If you ask me, that’s an even greater honor considering the whole reason we make these products is for you! Needless to say, my whole team and I were ecstatic to have won, proving that we are, in fact, doing the fans justice by providing them new and exciting ways to vote for their favorites in movies, music and TV. It felt quite fitting that People’s Choice won People’s Voice, and so we set out to craft our five word acceptance speech.

Why five words, you might ask? It’s a Webby tradition that the winners express their gratitude in only five words – which may seem difficult, but if done right, can be very effective and entertaining – not to mention make for a very efficiently run awards ceremony. No rambling speeches, no long lists of names of people you’ve never heard of. Just concise little morsels of gratitude, the most successful of which are the funny ones. Here were a few of my favorites from the night:

Five words is… not enough (Jerry Seinfeld, Webby Comedian of the Year Award for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”)

It’s pronounced “JIF,” not “GIF” (Steve Wilhite, inventor of the GIF, Webby Lifetime Achievement Award)

The Oscars… should do this (Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey, Webby Special Achievement Award for “House of Cards”)

Needless to say, they all used their five word moment quite effectively, while making the room laugh out loud. I mean, with Jerry Seinfeld, I would have laughed no matter what he’d said, but in true Seinfeld fashion, he made a simple observation, and delivered it with his masterful comedic timing, making it one of the funniest moments of the night. And when the elderly Wilhite came up on stage, we were all expecting a sweet, heartfelt moment – instead he brilliantly chose to express his thanks via his very own invention, an animated GIF that for once and for all set the record straight on how the word should be pronounced. Priceless! And lastly, when Dana Brunetti teed up the punchline for Kevin Spacey by stating “The Oscars…” he had the whole room at the edge of their seats wondering what the pay off was going to be. Naturally, Spacey perfectly delivered his three words, poking fun at the Academy Awards where acceptance speeches tend to be closer to 5 hundred words, and made his indelible mark on the evening.

While the People’s Choice acceptance speech may not have been quite as clever, I think we did OK, but take a look and let us know what you think:

All in all, it was a wonderful evening, and it definitely felt like we were sitting among an elite group, representing an industry that has grown leaps and bounds since the Webbys first took place in 1996. Here’s hoping it won’t be too long before we find our way back in there again.

To watch the entire event on demand, go here. If nothing else has intrigued you thus far, Patton Oswalt, host of the event, is reason enough to watch. Trust me, the man is funny.

To download our award winning app, go here. While you can’t vote (yet) for People’s Choice Awards 2014, you can vote in our daily entertainment polls and check out photos and videos from last year’s show – not to mention peruse through last year’s winner gallery, which is a pretty slick experience if I may say so myself.

And don’t forget to voice your choice in today’s featured poll: Which of these notable comedians in attendance at the 17th Annual Webby Awards is your favorite?

Ben Stiller
Colin Quinn
Jerry Seinfeld
Patton Oswalt

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