Streamy Awards map a shifting online landscape

YouTube personality Jenna Marbles.
Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for SiriusXM
YouTube personality Jenna Marbles.

While urging attendees at the Beverly Hilton to crowd together for a selfie to “out-selfie Ellen’s selfie,” YouTube comedian Grace Helbig crystallized the energy of Sunday’s fourth annual Streamy Awards.

“Medium excitement! Yeah!”

As the world of online video figures itself out, so too does its most notable awards show, a Dick Clark Productions affair that attempts to chart the high points of a landscape of online entertainers, artists, and entrepreneurs growing too far and too fast to properly map. There are nearly twice as many categories than the 25 first honored in 2009.


You could sense the tension between this self-defining new media vanguard and the tired award-show tropes that lured its members to languish in evening wear at foodless tables for a few hours.

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Helbig and her relentlessly self-promotional cohost Hannah Hart (creator of the popular “My Drunk Kitchen” series and book) did charmingly ironic impressions of award-show hosts, peppering their opening routine with product placements, feigning a musical number, and hacking the usual crowd roasting (“We’re gonna [expletive] with you so hard right now,” Helbig warned before singling out a string of nominees for earnest compliments).

“I’m kind of like the Mother Goose here,” said Boston-born fashion vlogger Michelle Phan upon accepting her inspiration icon award. The YouTube world moves fast: After seven years and a billion views on YouTube, Phan is one of the Internet’s brightest stars and biggest forces; and at 27, she seemed stunned to be getting the retrospective treatment so soon. Icon awards were also given to Pitbull (who appeared via video), vlogger and Maker cofounder Shay Carl, and vlogger/LGBT advocate Tyler Oakley (who also won an audience choice award for entertainer of the year).

Among the winners, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” an ingenious Web project that retells Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” through a combination of vlogs and social media streams, took home awards for best drama and best actress Ashley Clements. The action comedy “Video Game High School” won for action/sci-fi series and ensemble cast. Hart’s “My Drunk Kitchen” won for best comedy. And following up this year’s Emmy win, Zach Galifianakis won for best collaboration (along with President Obama) for “Between Two Ferns.”

YouTube personality Jenna Marbles won for best first-person channel, show, or series. Mamrie Hart won a trophy for best actress in a comedy for “You Deserve a Drink,” with David Michard winning the actor trophy in that category for “Convos With My 2-Year-Old.” Joey Graceffa was named best actor in a drama for the campfire horror series “Storytellers.”


On the micro-content front, stars of the six-second video service Vine DeStorm Power and Zach King took home Streamys for comedy and creativity, respectively, and comedian Brittany Furlan was named Viner of the Year.

The Streamys also hosted live performances from Pentatonix, Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox, and Starship (which was deeply strange), as well as a moving tribute to Joan Rivers featuring Marbles, Oakley, and Helbig — who had each appeared on Rivers’s Web series “In Bed With Joan.

More coverage:

Five clickworthy winners from the Streamy Awards

Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.