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2010 Ursa Major Awards voting underway

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Voting for the Ursa Major Awards for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of 2010 is now open, and takes place until April 17. Anyone may vote, and you are encouraged to ask your friends to vote also — please help spread the word!

There are five nominees in each of ten categories, except where there was a tie for fifth place.

To be eligible, a work must have been released during the calendar year 2010; must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical; and must receive more than one nomination.

Best Short Fiction

Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry and other short written works.

Best Graphic Story

Includes comic books and serialised online stories.

Best Novel

Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

Best Motion Picture

Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Best Other Literary Work

Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and convention program books.

Best Dramatic Short Work or Series

TV series or one-shots, advertisements or short videos.

Best Magazine

Professional magazines, amateur zines, fanzines, internet-only magazines.

Best Comic Strip

Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

Best Published Illustration

Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee table portfolios.

Best Game

Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

More formally known as the Annual Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Awards, the Ursa Major Awards are presented annually for excellence in the furry arts. They are intended as Anthropomorphic (a.k.a. Furry) Fandom's equivalent of the Hugo Awards presented by the World Science Fiction Society, mystery fandom's Anthony Awards, horror fandom's Bram Stoker Awards, and so forth.

The Ursa Major Awards are administered by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), a membership organization dedicated to promoting anthropomorphic literature and arts. Discussions are ongoing to improve their effectiveness and expand their presence throughout furry fandom. All suggestions are invited via the Ursa Major Awards web site.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Don't really have a dog in the fight until Best Game; Epic Mickey has my vote, though I won't be disappointed unless it loses to Sonic Colors. When's the last time a Sonic game has been worth playing?

My prediction was correct; there isn't a truly furry movie in the category. Closest is Alpha and Omega; dear God help us all. How To Train Your Dragon, is, I believe, the clear favorite, despite not containing anthropomorphism. Last year's winner had no animals, so I guess we're balancing. Actually, How To Train Your Dragon got my vote. At least it a. has no directly furry competition that is actually decent, and b. doesn't suck. At least next year we'll have Rango and Kung Fu Panda 2 so we can actually have two movies with fully anthro-animal as the majority of their casts. Won't that be nice!

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I agree that How To Train Your Dragon wasn't anthropomorphic, but both Alpha and Omega, and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole heavily featured anthropomorphic characters. They were the main characters. And Voyage of the Dawn treader had some anthropomorphic animals in it.

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The dragons in HTTYD are mentally anthropomorphic - consider the part where Toothless gets Astrid to hug Hiccup.

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I dunno if HTTYD is anthropomorphic. Dragons are fictional creatures so really whatever attributes you give them are automatically their defaults. How is a dragon from there different from a real life fox? If there's no standard dragon to measure it against. The dragons didn't have anthro bodies and also showed less than human intellect, for example not capable of speech.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

Hummm, I certainly can see where you're coming from.

I suppose really it's always going to be murky waters when trying to pot hole whether something belongs or doesn't belong to a category. If we stick against the idea that an anthro is a an animal or object given human qualities, than yeah it certainly provides no guidelines on if it's a fictitious imagination, even though the dragon's origins come from a mix of reptiles, most still behave in a feral like manner.

If by default the majority of dragons are thought of as creatures without the human quality of self-awareness and whatever else that makes humans humans, in that case a dragon could only be by definition anthro if in the media in which it is portrayed it processes some human quality not associated with the default wild feral state.

Course once we go along those lines it can lead to all sorts of discussions like if a fictional creature can have a default setting and such.

Going back to the original point, I haven't watched HTTYD, but does the dragon ever show signs of a human like intelligence? I suppose we might need to look on previous examples to see what and what doesn't count as anthro. Homeward Bound for instance is to me anthro because we can see the dogs have been attributed human thought, emotion and speech, same with Babe. What about things like Beethoven, Free Willy and Black Beauty? My initial thoughts is that they aren't anthro since the animals in question don't seem to exhibit any special human attribute qualities, but then I have doubt as for a film like Beethoven the dog seems to understand humans more than you'd expect a dog to normal understand. Is that of anthro quality? There's an awful lot of grey.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The same could be argued in most cases of the anthropomorphisation of just about any animal though: that they are fictional creatures thus any traits are natural/default. E.g. is a werewolf a wolf that has been given human traits, or its own creature that has not been made more human-like?

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In that case wouldn't Lassie be anthropomorphic media?

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Though what is your definition of anthropomorphism? I mean I guess you've got your own flavour of what and what does not count which is fair enough.

For me I stick strictly with the academic definition, which is the attribution of human characteristics to an animal or non-living entity. In which case there's no doubting the likes of Alpha & Omega and The Owls of Ga'Hoole are anthro because these are characters that can talk like a human and behave in human ways.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Though what is your definition of anthropomorphism?

The question is not "what is my definition of anthropomorphism." Your definition is the same as mine.

The question is "what is my definition of furry?" The furry fandom consists of fans of "anthropomorphic animals," by the common definition. That's why I don't count Avatar as furry; no specific animals (either real or fictional) are anthropomorphisized in that movie. In How To Train Your Dragon, there are animals, but they aren't specifically anthropomorphic. Now, in the first movie, the aliens are "vaguely" animal like, and the dragons in the second movie are "vaguely" anthropomorphic, but only vaguely, so their "furry" quotient is low.

As compared to say Fantastic Mr. Fox, which has a high "furry" quotient in that the animals portrayed have a high "anthropomorphic" level, both in characterization and form. Additionally, the anthropomorphic animal characters are numerous and important. I like to throw in "adult" to my definition, and Fantastic Mr. Fox does lose points there; it's still a kid's movie. But, my point is, Fantastic Mr. Fox had a much higher "furry" quotient then anything in the last decade (with the exceptions of Kung Fu Panda and Chicken Little, which both lacked human characters, though they both had even lower "adult" scores); furthermore it was a good movie. It should have won the Ursa Majors last year hands down.

Instead, Avatar, which had a much lower "furry" score, won. At this point, quality of movie isn't an issue (though Fantastic Mr. Fox was, in my opinion, the better movie, period, as well). This year, however, I'm willing to give the movie with the low "furry" score the nod because its competition is only middle level (or lower) "furry" of much lower quality.

And I have a hate-on for Pixar. Long story.

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You're repeating yourself.

If you recall (but evidently not) I agreed with you on the disappointment of seeing Avatar win the category last year.

It seems you have strong formulated ideas on what qualities a film ought to have for this competition in an ideal world which is fair enough. What some of us (more precisely myself) would be interested in knowing are your thoughts on Alpha and Omega and The Owls of Ga'Hoole in terms of this quota system. I'm very curious by how you said Alpha & Omega was the closest, which seems to imply The Owls of Ga'Hoole was further away from being a truly furry movie than the former.

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Even if people agreed exactly with your definition of furry and anthropomorphism, there is still a lot of room for interpretation. Is a movie supposed to win because it has the highest "furry quotient" or if not, then how much do you weight how furry it is vs. what you think of the quality? Is a good, but sort of furry movie supposed to beat a very furry movie that is disliked? What about when it starts getting closer: with a slight better, but slightly less furry movie vs. a slightly more furry but slightly worse movie? And even if people agreed exactly on how furry every entry is, there will be difference in opinion on what the cutoff for not furry enough. And that is all when assuming people agree on how furry things are, when obviously there are some huge differences in opinion about.

Your rating: None

"

And I have a hate-on for Pixar. Long story.'

Most people who have a hate-on for Pixar dislike them because they killed the traditional art style of animation by making the demand for computer generation overcome the more craftful art of older disney films.

Not really a long story at all, and one I quite agree with, why I think the Princess and the Frog was probably the last stand for traditional animation, and sadly, it probably didn't make the grade in the theaters. The crappy advertising that made the story seem bland did not help, I found the actual movie great, the trailers made it seem really flat though.

Though in noticing you at the start off your comment carefully separating that there is a difference between "Anthropomorphic" and "Furry", it is ironic that you say that something doesn't have the right to win a award titled "Annual Anthropomorphic Literature & Arts Awards" because it "isn't furry enough."

So in this I have to ask you, is there a difference? Is furry a subset of anthropomorphic media in your mind, or are they equivalent. Because you comment starts saying the former, and later then claims the later, it certainly can't be both, that doesn't make sense.

Your rating: None

Sorry for keeping you in suspense. Out of town last week.

I'll probably be repeating that one for a while. I wasn't disappointed. I was pissed off. Still am. I mean, Avatar was not only not the best furry movie in 2009, it wasn't even the best movie in which a human turns into an alien in 2009. And, like I said, there's really no opportunity to make it up this year. So, I'll probably be ranting and whinging about this for a while. But Avatar versus Fantastic Mr. Fox is a better illustration of my, uh, rubrik than any two movies this year.

I thought I was clear on Alpha and Omega and The Owls of Ga'Hoole; both are mid-level. Ranking this year's five, those two are mid-level (and I probably only gave Alpha and Omega the edge because of an admitted bias for mammalian characters. I'll cop to that.), the Narnia movie is also mid-level, but not quite as high, with How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 marginal. Of those two, I'd give How to Train Your Dragon the edge as "furrier," because I am more biased to the "animal," rather than the "anthropomorphic" part of the definition.

Which brings me to the next post (I'm just going to do a three in one, so work with me here), which is to ask what is so wrong with the definition of furry fandom as "a fandom of anthropomorphic animals?" That, as far as I know, is the working definition. It was what I was sold on. I didn't know there was any real discussion on this. If it's changed, why didn't I get the memo? I usually check my spam box before I delete it, just in case ...

As far as "slightly less furry" versus "slightly more furry," if that was the case, I'd be ecstatic. But it wasn't last year. And it won't be that way for quite a while. Because there's just not furry movies. When only three studio movies with a majority of the cast consisting of fully anthropomorphic characters came out last decade, we can not afford to give our awards to Avatar. If Fantastic Mr. Fox sucked balls, that would be different. But nobody's argued that. And I doubt anybody will.

I guess I get your point, though. We can't let appearances get in the way of quality, can we? So, I suppose it was a good thing the furry fandom was able to put issues of furriness aside and vote for the "better movie." Yes, Fantastic Mr. Fox was such a freaking juggernaut, Avatar didn't really have a chance. It was David versus Goliath. Avatar pulling out the victory was such an enormous victory for the little guy.

Really.

I am not being sarcastic at all.

Okay, third post. Speaking of juggernauts, I just keep going, don't I?

Anyway, that's not actually why I hate Pixar. (I mean, it didn't help.) Year after year, Pixar wins the title of "best reviewed" movie. What was the movie that started that trend? Not Cars, which didn't win the best animated movie Oscar against Happy Feet. It was the next movie that really did it for Pixar. What was that? Ratatouille. You know, the movie that ends with a monologue praising media critics.

Short of bribing critcs, that is the most obvious way to get good reviews (and therefore plenty of Oscars) ever tried. No more losing to penguin movies for Pixar. Ratatouille is a bad movie. In the moral sense. The worst part is that, of course, it freaking worked without anyone actually apparently noticing it.

"Annual Anthropomorphic Literature & Arts Awards" is just a pretensious title. If the awards were really about the best "anthropomorphic literature," do you think Kyell Gold would really have that many of them? The answer is no; the awards would go to some posthumanism/transhumanism science fiction, not gay tiger football, the novel.

Its the furry awards.

Probably the confusion comes here from me using the words "anthropomorphic" synonomously with "furry," which, in retrospect, is stupid. Personally, I'm more into the "animal" ... I already said that. I think "anthropomorphic" media is way too vague to deserve an award. Its just pretension, is all it is (personal hypocrisy noted).

Your rating: None

If Fantastic Mr. Fox sucked balls, that would be different. But nobody's argued that. And I doubt anybody will.

No more losing to penguin movies for Pixar. Ratatouille is a bad movie. In the moral sense. The worst part is that, of course, it freaking worked without anyone actually apparently noticing it.

Discussing appropriateness is complicated if you assume your opinion of movies are taken as a given and universal.

I've seen people's opinions on Fantastic Mr. Fox as all over the place, with some loving it, and others absolutely hating it. With some people saying the only good thing about Fantastic Mr. Fox that it had anthropomorphic animals in it, how are they supposed to vote? It goes back to the question: is a bad (as viewed by a particular person) but very furry movie supposed to beat out a good but not very furry movie? Avatar similarly had opinions all over the board.

It seems hard to judge what people actually thought was better based on anecdotes alone, so maybe there should be a vote to determine that, possibly one that is screened by an organisation that deems if entries are appropriate or not.

Your rating: None

The moral of Ratatouille isn't "Critics are awesome and infalliable gods that should be praised for what they do." In fact the monolouge starts out with how critics have "it easy" compared the their "targets" as they are the ones who actually put effort into their items. In fact going so far as to saying the average piece of junk is MORE IMPORTANT then the critic's words saying it is, read that monologue again:

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more.

The morale of the story is lined out in this monolouge yes, but it is not that "being a critic makes you awesome." it is this: "I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere."

If you picked up something other then that as the moral of the story, then you missed the point entirely.

Morally though, though that's better then what you suggest it is, I disagree with it because it seems to be placing "Nature" over "Nurture". Anyone can be an artist if they put the time and effort into it, it's not that they have to be born to do so (even if where they are born seems "odd").

Your rating: None

Look, all I'm saying, is the movie is damn sympathetic to critics, and the critics loved it. These things are related.

At best, I'll cede that maybe I should give Pixar the benefit of the doubt that this was not a cynical ploy (though the timing is fishy), and reserve my scorn for the critics who took the compliment a bit too far.

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Toy story 3? What? I didn't know there were anthropomorphic animals in that.

But mongrels definitely got my first place vote. And the orangina commercials because they were so funny to watch.

Your rating: None

"anthropomorphic animals"

Ah, but notice the you used anthropomorphic as a adjective to describe what was being anthropomorhized? Why would you need to do that unless the adjective could indeed describe something else other then animals?

Because, animals are not the only things that can be anthropomorphic, indeed Toy Story 3 is about anthropomorphic toys... and thus, it's in an award about anthropomorphics, not "furries".

Your rating: None

There was a teddy bear in Toy Story 3.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Of all the nominations I hope that "Mongrels" win it's award - mainly in the hope that when they released the DVD of the second series, they will mention the fact it won on the DVD cover, in what would surely be the most pathetic boast ever.

"OK, we haven't won a BAFTA, or British Comedy Award, but we did win the Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series."

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About the author

PeterCatread storiescontact (login required)

an anthrocon art show director from Syracuse, NY

Intrigued by the late-80s CBS series "Beauty and the Beast," PeterCat discovered SF conventions and began helping out at art shows. On the Internet, he created the Furry InfoPage and in his FurryMUCK persona as Rhal, maintains a list of furry-themed MU*s.