The 2014 Webby Awards
May 2014. New York City, Cipriani Wall Street
May 19, 2014, marked the 10th consecutive year that Empire has produced The Webby Awards— the internet's most important annual event. This year, web achievements by celebrities including Taylor Schilling, De La Soul, and the Jamaican Bobsled Team were celebrated alongside accomplishments of Lawrence Lessig and VICE Media.
Empire produced the 18th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street in NYC, where attendees first mingled and enjoyed Cipriani’s famed Bellinis and passed hors d’oeuvres during a perfect Spring cocktail reception.
Patton Oswalt was uproarious as host for the third straight year, opening by asking the guests to stop looking at the internet on their phones so that he could talk to them about the internet.
But as always, it was the Webbys renowned five-word acceptance speeches that stole the show. Some winner’s speeches were funny, such as Ylvis (who were behind the “What Does the Fox Say?” song and video), who simply said, “We came for free food,” while others proved that five words are enough to say something more profound, such as VGNC’s Executive Producer who exclaimed, "Peace and glory to Ukraine!"
One of the more interesting moments of the night came when Bansky was named the Webby Person of the Year by the legendary godmother of punk, Patti Smith. Unwilling to appear publicly, Banksy had Patton Oswalt open a golden envelope with his 5-word acceptance speech. However, the card inside appeared to have been censored, leading Patton to say, “Oh….somebody painted over it”. Whether that was the elusive artist’s five-word speech was anybody’s guess.
Perhaps for the first time ever, the best speech of the night was not from a winner, and was not limited to five words. After the audience was treated to a stunning video celebrating the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, Charlie Rose took the stage and introduced the man who invented the Web itself, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He made a moving, passionate, and poignant call to action for Web leaders everywhere to continue creating the fabric of the Web, person-by-person, idea-by-idea. The audience leapt to their feet when Lee closed by saying he only needed three words to explain whether the Web would continue to stay free for all people everywhere: “Up….To…Us!”
The Webby is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. Presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, The 18th Annual Webby Awards received 12,000 entries from over 60 countries and all 50 states and generated nearly one billion media impressions worldwide. Empire is honored to have partnered with Recognition Media on the event since 2005.