Hugo Awards 2011: Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

[Advisory: one of the nominated works has the f-word in its title.]

The Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category was begun in 2003. Even though many TV shows and other media had been nominated and even won a number of times in the past, the feeling was that just as novels are different from short stories, movies are different from TV episodes. A Doctor Who episode has won every year since 2006, with the exception of 2009’s Internet sensation, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Nominations (394 ballots cast)
(The titles in bold are the ones I nominated.)

120 Doctor Who: “Vincent and the Doctor”, Written by Richard Curtis; Directed by Jonny Campbell (30.46%)
85 The Lost Thing, written by Shaun Tan; directed by Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan (21.57%)
55 Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol”, Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Toby Haynes (13.96%)
53 Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang”, Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Toby Haynes (13.45%)
50 Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury, written by Rachel Bloom; directed by Paul Briganti (12.69%)
——————————————————————————–
37 Fringe: “Over There:” (9.39%)
33 Doctor Who: “The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone” (8.38%)
32 Doctor Who: “The Eleventh Hour” (8.12%)
25 Doctor Who: “The Lodger” (6.35%)
24 The Walking Dead: “Days Gone Bye” (6.09%)
21 Doctor Who: “Amy’s Choice” (5.33%)
18 Eureka: “Founder’s Day” (4.57%)
15 Fringe: “Peter” (3.81%)
14 Smallville: “Absolute Justice” (3.55%)
13 FlashForward: “Course Correction” (3.3%)
13 Stargate Universe: “Incursion, Part 1 and 2” (3.3%)
12 Being Human: Season 2, Episode 6 (3.05%)
12 Vertically Mobile Comedy: “Eric in the Elevator” (3.05%)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Final Ballot Results (1466 ballots)
(Final ballots are counted using the instant-runoff method.)

My Ranking

Title

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

2

Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang” (WINNER)

236

236

319

532

689

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

366

368

384

411

517

1

The Lost Thing

329

333

343

384

4

Doctor Who: “Vincent and the Doctor”

263

263

314

3

Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol”

187

187

5

No Award

85

No Award Tests
• 851 ballots ranked Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang” greater than No Award; 192 ballots ranked No Award greater than Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang” – PASS
• ((1466 – 85) / 2100) * 100 = 66% – PASS

The remaining places were then calculated to be:
2nd Place – Doctor Who: “Vincent and the Doctor”
3rd Place – Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol”
4th Place – Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
5th Place – The Lost Thing

Analysis

2010 was not a great year for short drama. Most of the science fiction and fantasy TV series were simply mediocre. The majority of votes were split among various Doctor Who episodes, but due to the instant-runoff format, they eventually converged on the winning episode. Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury undoubtedly got on the ballot due to a small, but passionate following, and did surprisingly well in the final voting. My only guess is that voters sick of Doctor Who dominating the category decided to try to have some fun, but were ultimately unsuccessful. I was very disappointed that The Lost Thing did not fare better—it won an Oscar, for goodness sake! I suspect that not enough voters saw it, and certainly the Doctor Who juggernaut was too much to overcome. At least Shaun Tan won the Best Artist award in large part due to The Lost Thing.

Mini-Reviews

Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol,” written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
The space liner on which Amy and Rory are honeymooning encounters rough sailing, and the only person who can save it is a Scrooge. The Doctor must use all his powers of persuasion to convince him to save the liner. A holiday episode filled with action and pathos as the Doctor discovers the Scrooge’s secret.

Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
The Doctor, Amy, and River Song discover a fabled prison cell hidden under Stonehenge in Roman times. All of the Doctor’s enemies, from Daleks to Cybermen, converge on them for a mysterious purpose. Using clever time travel to create tension and humor, this episode is a tour de force of everything that makes Doctor Who exciting.

Doctor Who: “Vincent and the Doctor,” written by Richard Curtis; directed by Jonny Campbell (BBC Wales)
The Doctor and Amy help Vincent van Gogh fight an invisible monster. The pleasures of this episode are the nuanced relationships between the characters as the Doctor helps van Gogh fight his inner demons and find his artistic voice.

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury, written by Rachel Bloom; directed by Paul Briganti
This music video shows a young woman so turned on by Ray Bradbury’s books that she wants to have sex with him. The poppy tune and professional editing cannot overcome the creepy, off-the-scale ick-factor. How this obscene ditty could possibly get enough votes to reach the ballot, especially since it is neither science fiction nor fantasy, is beyond me.

The Lost Thing, written by Shaun Tan; directed by Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan (Passion Pictures)
The Oscar winner for animated short subject this year is an inventive and visually stunning tale of a young man who attempts to find the lost thing’s true home. Funny and poignant, this film is a joy to watch; well worth seeking out.

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