The Webby Awards, the lofty honor bestowed to the Internet's best offerings, announced today the nominees for its 16th annual showcase. The 2012 awards show will be hosted by comedian extraordinaire Patton Oswalt and will feature some of the past year's most notable online breakthroughs, ranging from Google+ to Tim Tebow to Spotify to some hilarious videos from Funny or Die.
While Academy judges like Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Musician David Bowie, and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom will select the Webby winners, millions of Internet users will also help decide who takes home a coveted Webby by voting in The Webby People's Voice Awards. Voting for the public begins today and will run through April 26.
Winners will be announced May 1 and honored at the celebrity-rich ceremony at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Monday, May 21. Look for winners to deliver the patented Webby 5-Word Speeches to follow in the tradition of past victors like Anna Wintour ("Sometimes geeks can be chic") and Angry Birds ("Stay angry, get those pigs!").
A year after honoring online activists in Egypt, and following what many have called "The Year of Protest", the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences also announced nominees for the inaugural People's Special Achievement Webby for Social Change, honoring important Internet work that played an integral role in advancing and organizing the masses in 2011's sociopolitical climate. This year's nominees are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Kiva, and Change.org. The winner will be selected by the online public as part of Webby People's Voice voting.
Funny or Die made quite an impression by garnering four nominations, some of them for its series of hilarious videos combining pop culture with wry humor such as casting Don Cheadle as Captain Planet and When Harry Met Sally 2 starring Billy Crystal.
Another nominee, below, is a Nike commercial about Back To The Future's Marty McFly's future sneakers starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Bill Hader.
"The nominees mirror this incredible year on the Internet, from memes to viral videos to cultural movements and extraordinary creativity," said David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of the Webby Awards. "IADAS has distilled the best and most innovative work on the web and we look forward to celebrating at this year's ceremony in May."
With nearly 70 categories and 10,000 entries for this year's awards, good luck trying to narrow down some of your choices. The full list of nominees can be found on the Webby's official site.