The 17th Annual Webby Awards
May 2013. New York City, NY, Cipriani Wall Street
In its 17 years, The Webby Awards has become the internet's single most important annual event, celebrating achievements within the world's most dynamic and fast-growing industry. Equally important, the Webbys documents the creative culture of innovation that is rapidly remaking our ever-more interconnected world. At this year's Webby Awards, web achievements by celebrities including Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Spacey, and Ben Stiller, were celebrated alongside accomplishments of President Obama’s tech team, GIF creator Steve Wilhite, NASA’s Mars Curiosity team, and others.To begin the evening, guests enjoyed Cipriani’s famed Bellinis while networking across the street at The Museum of American Finance.
When it was time for the main event, attendees crossed Wall Street for the dinner and the show.Patton Oswalt served as host for the second straight year, and began the show noting that “50 percent of Internet bandwidth goes to Netflix and YouTube, another 49 percent goes to porn. And that last 1 percent is what we’re here to talk about today.”Consistent with tradition, it was the Webbys renowned 5-word acceptance speeches that stole the show. Steve Wilhite, accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award for inventing the GIF, cleared up an age-old internet mystery, with his 5 word video acceptance that spelled it out for the audience “It’s pronounced ‘JIF’ not ‘GIF”.Some winners used their five words to more poignant effect, with Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe (“Athlete of the Year”) telling viewers to “Treat others with empathy,” and another winner, referring to the legalizing of gay marriage stated “equality…..38 states to go.” Others treated the moment lightly: Ben Stiller, accepting with two other members of the “Burning Love” cast, was introduced jokingly by his colleagues as “Beyoncé”, and he simply said “gracias.”
The evening also featured many humorous videos as well as a brief performance by Tanlines. The most anticipated moment of the night came from comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld. Receiving the award for Outstanding Comedic Performance. He summed up what many think about the Webby tradition saying “Why five words? It doesn’t……” but then waved his hands at the audience in mock frustration, before exiting the stage.But Seinfeld’s question may have been answered earlier in the evening, when Kevin Spacey, receiving a Special Achievement Award for his work in “House of Cards”, said of his brief speech: “The Oscars should do this.”This was the 9th consecutive year that Empire Entertainment has produced the Webby Awards. Empire was responsible for nearly every element of the event including the cocktail reception at The Museum of American Finance, the red carpet and step & repeat, the video lounge where winners recorded their five word speeches, permitting & tenting, registration, signage, talent wrangling, technical production, and stage management. Empire was also responsible for producing the after-party at Amnesia NYC. Together with an A-list team of partners including creative directors Andrew Fried and Tommy Kail, set designer David Korins, talent coordinator Lesley Roy and others. Empire was proud to execute what many called the best Webby’s yet.
Empire is one of the internet industry’s leading event producers.