The art deco design
of The Griffin on Gansevoort Street looks like something straight
out of The Great Gatsby, making it a fitting location last
Thursday for an awards ceremony all about books—the first annual Moby
Awards. I’d call it an entire night
devoted to honoring the
best and worst in book trailers, but that would be selling it short—or,
rather, long—as the ceremony was over in less than 45 minutes.
The Moby Awards are the
brainchild of Dennis Johnson, publisher of the Dumbo-based
Melville House books. Johnson created the awards as a tongueand-cheek
homage to the infiltration of the film industry into the book publishing
business, and while the atmosphere at The Griffin was formal, featuring
writer types in bow ties sipping on champagne, the ceremony itself was
selected by the MobyLives Academy, whose members included book industry
bigwigs like Colin Robinson of OR Books and Carolyn Kellogg, lead
book blogger for the Los Angeles Times, who participated in the
ceremony via Skype.
were given out in categories including Best Cameo in a Book Trailer and
Best Performance By An Author, as well as for the Best Indie Book
Trailer (the award went to Kathryn Regina for I Am In The Air
Right Now) and Best Big Budget Trailer (Maurice Gee for Going
who should be ashamed of their Internet offerings were honored too. Like
Patricia Rockwell, who won an award for the Least Likely Trailer
to Sell the Book for her book Sounds of Murder. Other honors
were given in categories including Most Annoying
Music (New Year At the
Pier by April Halprin Wayland), Bloodiest Book trailer
(Killer by Dave Zeltserman) and Biggest Waste of Conglomerate
Money (Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony Zuiker).
Author Dennis Cass summed
up the night’s sentiments best in an excerpt from the trailer for his
book Head Case, in which he says, “Twenty years ago when I
decided to be a writer, a big part of the dream was being able to put
little videos on the Internet.”
Satirical surmises like that are largely why he won
the Best Performance by an Author award in the first place. Cass
couldn’t be there Thursday night, but phoned in his acceptance speech.
In fact, not a single
winner was on hand to accept his award, a handsome golden statue in the
shape of a whale.
that this stopped anyone from presenting. Like John Wray, who
happened to be handing out the Best Cameo In A Book Trailer Award, for
which his book Lowboy was nominated. “What happens if I win?”
Wray pondered at the presenter’s podium. “Do I touch myself
inappropriately?” Luckily he didn’t have to—at least not for our sake.
Wray announced the winner to be The Hangover star Zach
Galifianakis, who appeared in the Lowboy trailer. Hollywood’s
takeover of publishing, it seemed, was complete.