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2013 Ursa Major Award winners announced at Califur 10

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The winners of the 2013 Ursa Major Awards for the best anthropomorphic literature, artwork and websites published in 2013 were announced May 31 at a ceremony during Califur 10.

Many categories had undisputed leaders; others were very competitive. Slightly Damned edged out Twokinds by just ten points in Best Graphic Story (which it won by more than 500 points last year), and Best Published Illustration was decided by eleven points.

While attendance at the ceremony (~35) was similar to prior years, the number of ballots cast declined again, from 1,782 two years ago to 1,113 in 2013 and just 856 this year.

Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxx

Best Anthropomorphic Novel Skyfire, by Jess E. Owen
Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction "The Monkeytown Raid", by Roz Gibson (What Happens Next)
Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work Slightly Damned, Book Two, by Sarah "Chu" Wilson
Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story Slightly Damned, by Sarah "Chu" Wilson [wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip Housepets!, by Rick Griffin [wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Magazine Flayrah, edited by Laurence 'GreenReaper' Parry [wiki, staff]
Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration Cover of Divisions, by Blotch
Best Anthropomorphic Game Pokémon X & Y (Game Freak) [wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture Frozen, directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, directed by Jayson Thiessen and James Wootton, developed by Lauren Faust [wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Website Fur Affinity [wiki, staff]
ALAA's Choice Award Children of the Night, animated by Richard Sirois (Lionheart) and Jordana Gonzalez (Spirit), sung by Kate Covington (Erutan) [wiki]

Complete nominee list - 2012 winners - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - prior years - more UMA coverage

"Monkeytown Raid" author Roz Gibson and Flayrah's editor GreenReaper were in attendance at the ceremony to collect their awards.

Comments

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First off, congratulation to all the winners, and the runners-up. It takes a lot of work to achieve either of those positions.

Next, voting! I don't want to say there's a huge problem, but clearly the count hasn't been going the way you might expect.

My theory is voting is driven by those who promote their eligibility and/or nomination, and hence get first-preference votes.

If the UMA website had analytics, this could be confirmed, but it's hard to see where else the swings could be coming from.

You can view this positively, in that these people helped get out the vote, or negatively, in that the vote can be swayed by campaigning. The key takeaway for the ALAA is that they could get more people voting if they got all of those who're nominated to tell their fans each year.

Things could be improved by simple steps such as notifying people that they were on the ballot, or emailing those who'd nominated telling them it was time to vote. Heck, maybe even ask those who voted last year to nominate and vote! Two or three mailings a year is not excessive.

Incidentally, WikiFur always seems to get a lot of second- and third-preference votes; it would have won in 2012 if not for EQD, despite FA having twice WikiFur's first-preference votes. I'm guessing it's not many people's favourite website, just one that most think is good to have.

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The link for "Children of the Night" actually links to Rukis' website. :X

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Doh! I got lulled to distraction by the sweet, sweet voice of Kate Covington while adding the other links in that section.

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She does have a lovely voice, yes~

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You need to correct the link for "Children of the Night" to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW5n3k2VgZE

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The problem is that the fandom's community has moved on & expanded greatly since the URSA's started & it seems caught in a bubble of only appealing to a very select few who already know of it from years gone by.

It also has no European contingent on the nominee panel despite more attendees visiting Confuzzled in the UK this year then the total votes cast. The Eurofurence number greater likely to be far greater still. This highly skews the chances of any European created piece of work getting nominated or any votes as the social connections with the convention administration (who make the judging panel) is likely not there (or as strong).

As such without a major overhaul of the voting system & a far more assertive publicity drive for awareness & what benefits this can have for creators, then it's likely to continue to fade into insignificance.

Your rating: None

The Ursa Majors aren't juried – they're a popular award. Anyone can nominate and vote. That's part of the problem for Eurofurence, which used to be in but dropped out in 2010. Why? They got cold feet at the idea that furries might actually like works they had banned enough to give them an award, and certainly to nominate them for one.

Linking the Awards to conventions made a lot more sense a decade ago than it does in today's online world; but I don't think that has much to do with whether European works are selected. As I tried to demonstrate above, the impact potential winners have on voting dwarfs that of the conventions who are meant to be the ones promoting the Awards.

The only issue with a few European works is that they are not available in English, which makes it exceedingly unlikely that they will win a popular award in an English-dominated fandom.

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Huh... best Anthroporphic Film this year is probably arguably LESS anthroporphic than that film CrossAffliction rants about winning years back (Avatar).

I mean, I guess if you count the scene where Sven is doing a song and voicing over his pet reindeer that would count as a 'talking animal'... if you squint at it with several shots of vodka.

It seems like every year we're going to have that "Black Sheep" winner which really had not business qualifying as an 'anthropomorphic work'. Yes, non-anthro works can be popular among furries, but does that alone qualify it for the Ursa Major's?

I mean, why not do Lord of the Rings movies? Or Dr. Who? Star Trek? I mean furries tend to be fans of the sci-fi and fantasy genres as well as animation, so why not include them?

Quite honestly, between Frozen this year and Skyrim Dawngaurd last year, I'm starting to (almost) miss the days when things like Avalon and Softpaw were nominated. At least while I find it objectionable in material, it clearly is an anthro work that fits under the genre the awards are supposed to be about.

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Well, the Lord of the Rings movie was second ...

It's not as bad this year (even though I personally was bored to pieces by Frozen) because, of the five nominees, I mean, which would you actually consider furry without feeling like you were talking out of your butt? Whereas Avatar actually went up against movies with talking animals, including one that was almost completely cast with talking animals; basically, it was the year I realized furries don't really like furry. I mean, how else can you explain them not being able to essentially pick their own genre out of a lineup?

Then JM went ahead and confirmed it last year, so don't even try to claim otherwise, guys. (Oh, and get ready, Sonious; How to Train Your Dragon 2 should take it easy next year if Guardians of the Galaxy isn't the top box office movie of the year.)

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Well THIS LoR movie does have a talking dragon in it at the least... sure it may be not for all that long, but at least he reigns in the cliff hanger ending and whatnot.

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Oh, and ALAA choice going to a pony fan video.

That's going to age well.

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Yarst! I just realized that I have not seen any mention of next year's Ursa Major Awards presentations anywhere. This was announced at this year's presentations at CaliFur X, but it has not been publicized anywhere.

The presentation of the 2014 Awards will be at Morphicon 2015, in May 2015.

The presentation of the 2015 Awards will be at What The Fur 2016, in May 2016.

Fred Patten

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Norn from Irving, Texas, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.

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