Award shows matter, sort of. Winning an Oscar rarely generates a box office bounce. The Emmys don’t make hit shows, they merely acknowledge them.
Handing out trophies for online video seems silly to a lot of people. How do you get to a list of a few dozen shows, when users upload hours of video every minute?
That fact alone makes events like the IAWTV Awards, held in Las Vegas at CES this week, even more important.
Foremost, it matters to the creators who toil all year, unrecognized. One of this year’s big winners, Grace Helbig, of My Damn Channel’s Daily Grace, went home thrilled with her wins for best host (taped) and hosted series (taped):
“Being recognized in an industry that’s becoming more and more saturated with clever, interesting and beautiful work means a lot,” she said.
“Especially because half of the videos I make I think, ‘this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.’ Maybe dumb is the new black.”
The best part of the IAWTV Awards is seeing how much talent there is in the space. Helbig’s acceptance speech, where she thanked “her family blah blah…” along with God, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, showed she could be funny in any setting. The same goes for the presenters, including Husbands star and co-writer Brad “Cheeks” Bell, My Drunk Kitchen‘s Hannah Hart, the Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, among others, all of whom executed banter with aplomb.
The big winner was Squaresville, a comedy from web series mainstay Matt Enlow. Last year, Felicia Day’s The Guild rightly took home the bulk of the awards. I’ve been interviewing web series creators since 2009, and the single most cited inspiration for producers has been The Guild, no question. It made sense for the IAWTV to recognize web TV’s most enduring franchise and Day herself, who continues to support indie creators. Looking at the clips at this year’s awards, even I was surprised how often she turns up.
But it was time to pass the torch, and Squaresville is a worthy recipient. Exquisite in visual and narrative style, Squaresville nabbed the big award of the night, for Best Comedy, in addition to writing (comedy) and ensemble.
And that isn’t to say Day has lost her relevance. A number of last night’s winners, including Sean Becker (directing, comedy and non-fiction), Jeff Lewis (male performance, comedy) and Teal Sherer (female performance, comedy), are Guild participants. Day herself won for best writing (non-fiction; and kudos to the Academy for recognizing that “reality” is written!).
The full list of winners includes a number of industry darlings, most of whom aren’t household names but have been working in web television for years.
Congratulations to all the winners — and, even more, all the nominees!
Best Animated Series – Red vs. Blue
Best Cinematography – H+ The Digital Series – Brett Pawlak
Best Comedy Series – Squaresville
Best Costume Design – The League of S.T.E.A.M. – The League of S.T.E.A.M.
Best Design (Art Direction/Production) – Continuum – Eric Whitney
Best Directing (Comedy) – My Gimpy Life – Sean Becker
Best Directing (Drama) – Anyone But Me – Tina Cesa Ward
Best Directing (Non-Fiction) – The Flog – Sean Becker
Best Documentary Series – PRODIGIES
Best Drama Series – Leap Year
Best Editing – Continuum – Blake Calhoun
Best Educational Series – Engineer Your Space
Best Ensemble Performance – Squaresville
Best Female Performance (Comedy) – My Gimpy Life – Teal Sherer
Best Female Performance (Drama) – Blue – Julia Stiles
Best Host (Live) – What’s Trending – Shira Lazar
Best Host (Taped) – Daily Grace – Grace Helbig
Best Hosted (Live) Series – What’s Trending
Best Hosted (Taped) Series – Daily Grace
Best Interactive/Social Media Experience – The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Best Live Event – Bill Maher: CrazyStupidPolitics
Best Makeup/Special Effects – The League of S.T.E.A.M. – The League of S.T.E.A.M.
Best Male Performance (Comedy) – The Jeff Lewis 5-Minute Comedy Hour – Jeff Lewis
Best Male Performance (Drama) – The Booth at the End, Season 2 – Xander Berkeley – Leed
Best News Series – The Philip DeFranco Show
Best Online Channel – Nerdist Channel
Best Original Music – Cost of Capital – Rob Gokee
Best Supplemental Content – Red vs. Blue
Best Variety Series – Rhett & Link
Best Visual Effects (Digital) – H+ The Digital Series – Faction Creative and The Sequence Group: VFX Supervisor Ian Kirby; Digital Effects Supervisor Chris van Dyck; VFX Producer Caleb Bouchard
Best Writing (Comedy) – Squaresville – Matt Enlow
Best Writing (Drama) – The Booth at the End, Season 2 – Christopher Kubasik
Best Writing (Non-Fiction) – The Flog – Felicia Day