Who needs the Tonys when you’ve got the Webbys? While Sunday brought the stars of Broadway the Beacon, Monday brought the stars of cyberspace to the Hammerstein Ballroom. The 15th Annual Webby Awards honored various forms of excellence on the Internet. Winners knew about their awards in advance and so, in Twitter-fashion, were asked to deliver acceptance speeches in five-words or less.
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“It’s like Chatroulette, but no one shows their penis,” host Lisa Kudrow, who also won an award for her series, Web Therapy, joked. “This isn’t Congress.”
Here are 10 of the night’s best speeches. We disqualified those winners who went over the word limit. (Yes, even you, Kudrow. You too, Will Ferrell.)
2. Thanks, this is deeply weird.
— LCD Soundsystem won Webby Artist of the Year. Frontman James Murphy accepted.
4. It’s short for Group Coupon.
— Groupon won the Webby Breakout of the Year Award and both Webby and People’s Voice Awards for a Retail website. In honor of Groupon’s ability to save all of us money, CEO Andrew Mason was presented with only half of his spring-shaped award. His words combined irony, promotion, and explanation.
5. The SHFTs hit the fan.
— Peter Glatzer and Entourage’s Adrian Grenier won Webby and People’s Voice Awards for the Best Green Website. Their site SHFT.com, is a platform that uses media to curate sustainable choices. The duo also went the funny self-promotional route.
6. Can You Hear Me NOW?
—Martin Cooper won a Lifetime Achievement Award for his invention of the cell phone. Holding his gigantic creation (think 8 to 10 iPhones combined) to his ear, he shouted his speech.
7. Sometimes geeks can be chic.
—Straight from the Tony stage, Daniel Radcliffe presented the People’s Voice Award for a Fashion website to Vogue.com. A green-dress-clad Anna Wintour accepted her award with those five words.
8. Person of the Year. Ironic.
—The Webby Person of the Year Award went to IBM supercomputer Watson, who cracked wise with the audience.
9. Tracy Morgan Can Suck My…
—Ira Glass, from NPR’s “This American Life,” presented the Special Achievement Award to Dan Savage, who created the multi-online media project “It Gets Better,” aimed at LGBT youth and teens, who are often ostracized by their peers. Savage got two extra words in by wearing a shirt that said “Google Santorum,” in reference to his “google bomb” of Rick Santorum’s name. His speech came in the wake of another public figure’s homophobic slurs.
10. Injustice, Oppression, Social Media = Revolution and Support Freedom, Come Visit Egypt.
—Jokes aside, the Webby’s did not fail to recognize that this year social media quite literally changed the world. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, spoke of the events of Tahrir Square and presented the Special Recognition award to two men on behalf of the Egyptian people: Amr Salama, a filmmaker and activist who was beaten during the rioting, and Mohamed Diab, a screenwriter whose first film is about oppression in Egypt. A standing ovation accompanied two moving speeches.
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