The Nominees For This Year's Golden Kitty Award Have Been Revealed And We Need To Talk About Them
Cat videos are the currency of the realm here on the Internet, but their sheer volume makes sorting out the best clips a chore (the struggle is real, friends!). Enter then the Internet Cat Video Festival, which edits the pick of the litter into an epic kitty supercut. Now in Year 3, the annual event is hosted and organized by Minneapolis' Walker Art Center, one of the nation's preeminent modern art institutions. (This year's edition is scheduled for August 14th and is free and open to the public).
Befitting of the digital milieu in which we live, the festival is equal parts crowdsourcing (videos are nominated by fans and sourced from all around the world) and curation (the program is sequenced with a modest measure of professional purrfessional rigor and presented in the context of a contemporary art museum). Last year's reel, for example, consisted of approximately 80 clips, as pulled from a pool of 10,000-plus submissions. Thanks in part to appearances by Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat, and the creators of both Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat, the festival packed a whopping 15,000 feline fanatics into the grandstands at the Minnesota State Fair for an evening of music, art, fashion, and animal activism. (As then-curator Scott Stulen remarked in his preface, it's not about watching cat videos, it's about watching cat videos together.)
(The scene in 2012, image courtesy of the Walker Art Center.)
Borrowing a page from the Oscars, the festival honors one entry with the prestigious Golden Kitty Award. In 2012, Seattle filmmaker Will Braden took the top prize with the second of his wildly popular Henri, Le Chat Noir videos (and in a neat twist of fate, is now the event's "programmer"). The so-called celebricat trend accelerated even faster one year later when the Internet's favorite sourpuss, the aforementioned Grumpy Cat, crowned her meteoric rise to the top. (Note: those videos are viewable here and here, respectively.) This year's field arguably lacks a commensurate degree of star power but that's not to say the competition will be any less fierce. Below, we handicap the 5 contenders for this year's award - for those playing along on Twitter, hashtag #goldenkittyaward - and hazard some predictions along the way.
8 Signs of Addiction
Date published: May 29th, 2014 Views: 360,000 GIF potential: The sequence at :17 seconds is an obvious money shot. Why it will win: It's wicked relatable and black cats are the coolest. Why it won't win: Smallest fan base makes it a natural underdog, er, undercat. Odds of winning: 12%
An Engineer's Guide to Cats 2.0 - The Sequel
Date published: December 19th, 2013 Views: 1.1 million GIF potential: Fair, but no single standout moment. Why it will win: Dry humor, production values, and science. Oh, and those subtle Internet cat Easter Eggs at around 2:52. Why it won't win: The relatively long runtime might lose the kiddos. Odds of winning: 18%
Jedi Kittens Strike Back
Date published: September 15, 2011 Views: 11 million GIF potential: Strong with this one, the Force is. Why it will win: Kittens + lightsabers. Duh. Why it won't win: This isn't the cat video some people are looking for. Odds of winning: 30%
Milo Wanted Attention
Date published: March 3, 2013 Views: 1.9 million GIF potential: Brevity, thy name is Tumblr gold. Why it will win: The video's unscripted nature affords a true window into the cat condition. And let's not forget about Milo's pretty emerald eyes. They're huge! Why it won't win: It's not exactly vertical video but that aspect ratio is a bit funky for purists. Odds of winning: 22%
Date published: August 23, 2013 Views: 9.2 million GIF potential: That moment when you've been caught in a compromising position. Why it will win: I've been this cat, you've been the cat, we've all been this cat. Why it won't win: The setup is there but what about the emotional payoff? Odds of winning: 18% Disagree? Think Got a favorite that you think should snag this coveted statuette? Let us hear about it in the comments below!
For more details about this year's Cat Fest, click here. For an in-depth recap of last year's event, click here.
Travis Greenwood is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared at BuzzFeed, Spin, The Pet Collective, and more. Follow his tweets at @LesSavyTrav.