Nothing legitimizes a medium like awards. After all, the pinnacle of the film industry is the annual Academy Awards, just as the Tonys for the stage, the Emmys for TV, the Grammys for music, and the Slammys for the pro wrestling world (okay, the last one hasn't appeared since 1997...)
So, what better way to create the air of authenticity for YouTube videos than to create the YouTube Video Awards, with the competition taking place of the past week. The winning videos will be featured on the site and, of course, immortalized by winning the first edition of the awards.
The awards will be decided for a variety of categories, including best overall series, best comedy, best music video, best commentary, most creative video, most inspirational video, and most adorable video. Videos from 2006 were voted on by YouTube users over this past week, with the winners planned to be announced on Monday.
Of course, plenty of creators were openly lobbying for readers to vote for their videos in the YouTube Awards.
The awards page states, "2006 was a pioneering year for online video, user-created content and the YouTube community. You let us into your bedrooms, created new forms of entertainment, and radicalized popular culture. Now it's time to reflect on what a tremendous year it was and recognize the best of the best during the first YouTube Video Awards."
Nathan Weinberg includes plenty of useful links related to the awards, including links to many of the nominees.
The AP story reports, "Whether the YouTube Video Awards becomes a permanent, annual affair is likely, Byrne said, but it will depend on how the first awards will depend on how the first awards are received."
Stephen Silver points out that the nominees include both professionally produced and user-generated content.
While I agree that the YouTube video awards will likely be enough of a hit to create a tradition, it will be interesting to see how users will debate the categories and the competition between professional and amateur-produced content.