Webby Awards to Honor Best of the Net

'Oscars of the Net' to honor Beastie Boys, Bowie and more.

Last.fm, How Stuff Works, Comedy Central's Honesty and EepyBird.com are among the top winners of this year's Webby Awards.

The Webby Awards, an international award ceremony honoring the best of the Internet, will be held in New York City from June 3-5. What have been called the "Oscars of the Internet," the Webbys are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. The body is made up of 550 members, including leading Web experts, business figures and creative celebrities.

David Michel Davies, executive director of the Webby Awards, said the process of judging 8,000 nominations is not easy, but it goes very smoothly.

"Thankfully we've been doing this for 11 years," Davis said. "We have very credible judges and a very credible process."

Judging in the film and video category are prominent filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, Larry Aidem, head of the Sundance Channel, and Matthew Blank, who runs Showtime. For the Web category, the inventors of the Internet Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn were some of the judges.

The Beastie Boys will receive Webby Artist of the Year for the movie they created called "I Shot That." Davies explained the Beastie Boys wanted to create a movie about their tour. He said they gave out 50 cameras to fans to shoot their concerts. Fans returned the cameras and the group then edited all the content together to create a movie.

Davies said he's excited about the Beastie Boys project. "It's the first time that somebody took the ideas of the Internet and started applying it to a movie."

David Bowie, another artist being honored, started his own ISP in the 1990s. Bowie's ISP, created for his fans, evolved into a whole community on his Web site.

"He was really one of the first artists to start soliciting song lyrics recommendations and really make fans part of the music writing process," said Davies. He said there are even certain albums out on the market that have lyrics credited to people from his Web site.

Several Web sites will be receiving multiple awards during the Webbys. One of the sites is Linked in, an early social networking site where professionals can meet other professionals and stay in touch.

Davies said this will be the first year for a new award: the Webby Film and Video award. He said with the recent boom of videos online, the Webbys created a separate award to honor distinguished online videos. "This last year was really the year of online video."

Even some professional media are bridging the online video world. For example, the hit TV series "The Office" is being honored. They create individual episodes just for the Internet.

"It's really great to see real content and sort of the diversity of kinds of content that we're expected to see on the Internet starting to appear in video form and we're honoring that this year," said Davies.

Internet users also had the opportunity to go online to vote for their favorite nominees. In turn, Davies said, these nominees develop lots of Web traffic and receive media recognition that smaller sites often don't get.

As far as the awards show goes, it's going to be light and fun, said Davies. "We try and keep it a lot of fun."

He explained that all award speeches are limited to a mere five words each. Davies said the awards have had some pretty memorable speeches in the past, including a speech from Prince -- "Everything you think is true." And Al Gore -- "Please don't recount this vote."

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