Hugo Category Highlights – Best Dramatic Presentation (Long and Short Form)


Hugo nominations are open! This means we’re into the countdown. If you weren’t a member of Sasquan, you have 4 days to get your membership for MidAmeriCon so you can nominate. Don’t be left out.

So for today we’ve got another two-fer: the two Dramatic Presentation categories.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): This Award can be given a dramatized production in any medium, including film, television, radio, live theater, computer games or music. The work must last 90 minutes or longer (excluding commercials).

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): This Award can be given a dramatized production in any medium, including film, television, radio, live theater, computer games or music. The work must be less than 90 minutes long (excluding commercials).

These two categories are pretty clear-cut. If it’s dramatized and first released in the right year, whether live or recorded, it counts. Yes, that does mean that the computer game that left you wrung out and spacey for days after you finished the playing marathon is eligible (alas, there were no such games for me. I’m hanging out for next year’s nominations on this category, when Obduction should be released. Or – if they update this year – the next content installment for Pirate101. If the much-promised next content installment had come out in 2015, Pirate101 would likely have been on my nomination ballot for the combination of an innovative game environment (yeah, it’s targeted for kids, but there are so many parent-cookies buried in there, and so many geek-goodies. If I’d thought of it when they released their last content installment, I’d have nominated them for that year. After I’d figured out whether the new game-play accounted for 90 minutes or more of dramatic content…)

Which is an interesting question: just what counts towards length on a game? Plot quests? Plot quests and side quests? Play time?

Anyway. For the long form, a movie is likely to take the award, but there’s no reason it has to go to a movie. I’m not aware of any recent SF operas (yes, there actually are SF operas, but not that were first performed or recorded in 2015 or 1940 – in the case of a recording the award would go to the recording, not the performance, at least, that’s how I read it) so that probably wipes most music unless one wants to nominate John Williams for the soundtrack of the new Star Wars movie (again, legit, but rather unlikely. Yes, I am a music geek, and no, I don’t watch movies often. Er. Okay. At all, really. The last time I went to the movies was for the third Hobbit movie, and before the Hobbit movies it was the Lord of the Rings movies).

I also don’t watch TV much… at all… so I have zero clue what’s likely to be on the listings for the short-form, except there’s a good chance it will be an episode of one of the popular science fiction shows. Doctor Who episodes seem to take the award rather frequently. I suspect the followings of the various anime dubs and subs is sufficiently fragmented that there’s not much likelihood of any of the many worthy anime series getting a nod – but don’t let that stop anyone adding the suggestions to the list. I’ve heard from a few people now that they’ve found good things through browsing the suggestions – and that in itself is a good thing.

Suggestions for the long form award can be added here, and for short form here . If you’re adding a retro suggestion, please say so.

Finally, nominations are now open. They close on March 31, 2016. I’ll be closing the site to suggestions at the end of February so that all the suggestions can be collated for The List, which will be unveiled in early March.

Tune in tomorrow for a guest post by the fascinating Ben Yalow with more information about the history of the Hugo categories.

28 thoughts on “Hugo Category Highlights – Best Dramatic Presentation (Long and Short Form)

      1. The Martian is getting my vote.

        One of the Best SF movies I have seen in years

        I saw a couple of people mention Predestination, but I don’t think it qualifies since it first came out in 2014. Shame cause it is a great adaptation.

        1. At the Sasquan Business meeting there was a motion to extend the eligibility of Predestination because of its limited release in the US (despite appearances it is effectively an Australian movie and hence didn’t get as wider screening in the US). So yes, it is eligible. Also it is well worth watching and a very good example of how to adapt a classic SF short story for the screen.

              1. Oddly, I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore, let alone genre. -sigh- So much is bland, rehash or “dark and gritty”. The few that I was watching jumped the shark a season or so back. I find myself watching classic stuff, if anything.

                  1. GATE: How the JSDF Fought There is an excellent sf and fantasy show, as well as being very patriotic (about Japan and its Self Defense Force). Also guaranteed to make the eyes bug out of anybody who hates plain vanilla Baen, because it has one of the more dubious legal theories for a police action, ever. (To get around that pesky “stay in Japan” rule for the SDF.)

                    Unfortunately, the US president is somewhat Clinton and Obama crossed with EvulBush, so there is that. (Harder to argue that it could never happen, this year.)

                    1. Fascinating! Have to have it. I found that Sentai licensed it, but can’t find where I can find it, dang it. Not on their website.

    1. If Puppies were such an evil, cohesive, powerful conspiracy, we could put in GOP debates. Or Democratic debates. The DNC doesn’t want people to know how great a candidate Martin O’Malley is. 🙂

      I haven’t watched any of them.

      I also haven’t watched any of the WWII WB propaganda that I know came out in 1940.

      I think Kung Fury has a good chance at short form. I must also toot the ‘Patrick Hayden finds out about the 2015 Hugos’ horn again, despite that I doubt its chances.

      1. Yeah, I somehow don’t think that one would go over well with the Nielsen Hayden crowd . . . Which to some folks would be a recommendation. 🙂

        1. Yeah, some people are misogynists who don’t want Kathy Kane to be the Democratic Nominee.

          On another note, the actor who depicted Patrick Hayden in Downfall did a really excellent job matching Vox Day’s script. Look at the timing, the emotional beats. I’ve never seen so perfect a match in something of that type. Anyone who does storytelling can learn from that.

  1. If I was able to vote, I’d vote for The Martian. I did like Star Wars and am a Star Wars fan but The Martian is special.

      1. I seem to recall that supporting members for last year can vote in this year. Is that the case?

        1. Supporting (and attending) members from last year can nominate, but can’t vote. PINs are being emailed to people from all three years (2017’s members are allowed to nominate, as well), with this year’s members getting them first. The mailing takes several days, since it’s throttled back to avoid tripping spam filters.

  2. Just as a quick note: while BDP: Short tends to go for TV episodes (let’s pretend 2004 never happened) much like how BDP: Long goes to movies, remember that short films (- like the aforementioned Kung Fury – are also eligible. I.e., stuff from 2015 Sploid Short Film Festival Finalists

    One Minute Time Machine is particularly good.

    For BDP:Long, while Star Wars, Martian, and Fury road are the obvious eight hundred pound gorillas, I’m still plaintively flying the flag for Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt as well.

  3. There’s a long explanation of the question of how to analyze nominating whole seasons of a TV show in Long Form vs single episodes (or short sequences of 2 part works) in Short Form in my guest post on Hugo History from today.

    The short summary is that a season can be nominated in Long Form if it doesn’t consist of a series of episodes, but only if the episodes are so interlinked to be the equivalent of sections in a book serialization. That’s a pretty high standard to meet, and one that was only met with Heroes Season 1 (where the titles made it clear that it was a single work in chapters), and Game of Thrones Season 1 (which was a TV version of a single novel). And, in those cases, the creators also confirmed that it was intended as a single dramatic work, and not a series.

    This is not a claim that there are no seasons that can meet that challenge this year — I’m not the administrator (and certainly not the creator of such a work). But it’s a high hurdle to overcome.

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