The 2010 Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin at the Webby's Afterparty
In June 2010 Empire Entertainment produced the 14th Annual Webby Awards, . This marked the 6th consecutive year Recognition Media LLC chose to partner with Empire on the project which has been referred to as "the Internet’s Highest Honor" by the New York Times.
The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence in web design, creativity, usability and functionality. The event is perhaps best known for allowing winners just 5 words for their acceptance speeches, which has led to many touching, hilarious, and creative moments over the years.
On the night of the event, more than 900 of the best and the brightest minds on the net came to Cipriani Wall Street to honor and be honored for their contributions to the World Wide Web. The gala kicked off with a cocktail reception, during which over 100 Webby winners were invited to film their five-word speeches. These speeches (as well as many of the highlights from the event) were then uploaded to the Webby Awards YouTube channel later that same evening (you can see all of the speeches and highlights at www.youtube.com/webby
Empire secured B.J. Novak from “The Office” to host the event. In his opening remarks, Novak proved why he is one of the NBC hit show’s head-writers, remarking on the irony of the New York Times receiving an award from the internet “the very thing that threatened to destroy it”, and adding “who knows, maybe next year we’ll see the environment accepting an award from BP.”
Novak's energy and humor throughout the night kept the ceremony light and entertaining, as did some hilarious videos created especially for the event by The Onion and some of the cast from the VH1 hit show, "Best Week Ever".
Novak introduced many winners to deliver their brief speeches from the stage, including Buzz Aldrin, Lisa Kudrow, Arianna Huffington, Animal from the famed "Muppet Show" (who proceeded to attenpt to eat the trophy), Isabella Rossellini, and more.
The biggest winners of the evening included the band OK Go! Who were honoured as the Film & Video Artist of the Year, Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler (who was presented with the Best Actress Award by husband Will Arnett and friend Jason Bateman), and Zach Galifinakis as Best Actor.
In one of the evening’s great moments, PS22, a children’s chorus that had achieved millions of YouTube hits for their renditions of current pop and R&B hits was introduced as Artist of the Year by one of their heroes, Ne-Yo. They then proceeded to bring the house down by performing their take on one of
Ne-Yo’s biggest hits “Closer”.
And in one of the most poignant moments at the event in recent years, Jimmy Fallon (who had been honoured as the Webby 2009 Person of Year) presented the 2010 Person of the Year Award to renowned film critic Roger Ebert. Ebert had recently survived a well-chronicled and very difficult battle with cancer, a battle that left him without vocal chords and able to talk only through a computer which now provides his voice. Ebert received a standing ovation from the audience who were not disappointed when Ebert delivered only a three-word acceptance speech: “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (which translates from Latin to “I came, I saw, I conquered”.
But perhaps the most exciting and inspiring acceptance speech of the evening was delivered by the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Vinton Cerf. Cerf, now Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, Cerf is widely considered "Father of the Internet”,and got a roar fro the crowd when he took the podium and announced “You ain’t seen nothing yet”.
Empire Entertainment again provided oversight of nearly every element of this complex event, including signage, catering, décor, registration, staffing, audio, video, stage set & lighting designs, stage management, and more. Empire is a leading producer and/or partner on many Awards events each year, including the The Gotham Awards, The PR Week Awards, and The Executive Council Ten Awards. We take pride in clients such as Recognition Media who choose to work with us annually on their most important projects.