This year’s show, dubbed “WFH: Webbys From Home” by event organizers, will focus on those using the internet to respond to the impact of COVID-19. The celebration will also honor the work of the winners of the 24th Annual Webby Awards winners from around the world. Originally, the 2020 Webbys were slated to take place in New York this month but the in-person event was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Oswalt previously emceed the Webby Awards in a three-year run from 2012-14. “The Webbys have always been a blast, and I was honored to accept the invitation to come back and host,” Oswalt said in a statement. “Then, the honor turned to glee when I realized it’s going to be the same as every other night lately — sitting around in my pajamas, marveling at amazing stuff on the internet… except I won’t even have to find it myself.”
The 2020 Webby Awards nominations were announced last week. Variety landed nods in three fan-voted categories: best entertainment website, best general social media for entertainment, and best celebrity/fan social category for last year’s “Power of Young Hollywood” series.
Oswalt is known for his award-winning comedy specials, film roles and guest appearances on TV, including on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” He currently stars in NBC comedy “A.P. Bio” and recently reprised the voice role of Max the dog in Illumination’s “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” Patton will be releasing his next stand-up special “I Love Everything” on Netflix on May 19, 2020.
As in past years, Oswalt will open the show and be tasked with keeping tabs on winners’ five-word acceptance speeches, a trademark of the awards show, though it remains to be seen how he’ll police those who try to break the rules while hosting from his own living room. Notable speeches from past Webby Awards include Issa Rae’s “Stop believing stupid people…shit”; Kim Kardashian West’s “Nude selfies ‘til I die”; and “It’s pronounced ‘JIF’ not ‘GIF’” (GIF inventor Steve Wilhite).
“No one on this planet gets the internet and can make it funny quite like Patton Oswalt,” said Claire Graves, executive director of the Webby Awards. “His comedy is the perfect combination of smart, profane, earnest, and absurd, and he knows our show and our winners inside out. We are so excited to welcome Patton back to host this very special edition of the Webby Awards and can’t wait to honor some excellent Internet with him at the helm.”
The Webby Awards, established in 1996, are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). The Webby Awards recognize excellence on the internet in categories including websites, video, advertising, media and PR, apps, mobile, voice, social, podcasts, and games. This year’s Webby Awards received nearly 13,000 entries from all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide.