Avi Choice Awards…Why All the Controversy?

A few years ago I worked at an organisation that assessed and awarded restaurants for their food quality. During the time that I worked there a senior manager tried to use his position to influence a restaurant inspector in their assessment of a restaurant which was not awarded and therefore not included in the guidebook. The tail end of the conversation went something like this:

Boss: But celebrities and royalty even eat at this restaurant.

Restaurant Inspector: But their food isn’t good enough.

Boss: But they are famous! People will expect to see them in the guide.

Restaurant Inspector: But their food isn’t good enough.

Boss: But they are very popular!!!!!!!

Restaurant Inspector: So is McDonalds…but their food isn’t good enough either!

This week saw the announcement of the nominations for this current round of Avi Choice Awards. Since last year Avi Choice have decided to run three separate awards covering different aspects of SL. This current vote is for The Arts. It’s still a very broad subject. What is Art is a question that has kept many a commentator in column inches since someone stuck their finger in animal blood and drew pictures on a cave wall. Whatever the answer it’s subjective. What I like will be different to what you like…but that doesn’t make it not artistic.

Shortly after the announcement of the nominations some criticisms of the awards started to surface with one even insisting in an open letter requesting that their nomination be withdrawn from an art website. This was followed up by some shares and comments on facebook.

For those not au fait with the Avi Choice Awards the voting starts with a nomination round where residents can nominate in a number of different categories. Avi Choice then collates the nominations and produces the voting list from the most nominated and produces a voting list.

The criticism of Avi Choice seems to be that they have omitted some artists and categories that the author of the open letter thinks should be included or the credibility of the awards is called into question. The clue about what kind of awards Avi Choice are is in the name…avies i.e residents choose by nominating. I could understand this criticism if the awards nominations were produced by a panel of experts in each of the categories…but it’s not. The categories refer to ‘favourites’ which also infers that this is about being the most popular and that doesn’t, in my mind, do anything to make the awards less worthy. In fact, you could argue, that as they are awards nominated by the people for the people that nominees might be even more pleased to be recognised by residents outside of their sphere of the arts.

I’ve been on the flip side of this too. My club, which closed after 6 years in SL last year, was nominated several times in the Favourite Rock Club category. We all knew we would never win because we weren’t a mass-market club we had a small, regular clientele. We knew we didn’t have the numbers to be even close to winning but we were grateful that people nominated us and we felt that that in itself was recognition enough. Did it craw a bit at me that Favourite Rock Club was often won by an 80’s pop club…yes it did but if that’s what residents voted for then we have to accept that it’s the perception of the residents. If the category had been ‘Best Rock Club’ and there was a criteria based on quality and assessments by judges then it may have been a different story but that’s not what Avi Choice is.


My disappointment with the reaction from some quarters after the nominations is because there are many people who have worked hard to produce clubs, dance exhibits, art installations, machinima etc that I am sure are very pleased, and rightly so, to have been nominated and the fuss made in some quarters aims to ‘take the shine’ off their pride.  The fact that in the open letter the author wishes artists good luck and then refers to them as the ‘awards’ in inverted commas is disingenuous at the very least and snarky at worst.

I’m reminded of an interview recently on the Graham Norton show with Ice Cube discussing the Oscars controversy and awards in general. He said “”we do movies for the fans, for the people”. No one in SL is creating and designing to get awards, they do it for the people and for their themselves and if the people then choose to honour them then why on earth should they be made to feel bad about it. To all the nominees, Good Luck and enjoy the experience.


Body – Maitreya Lara

Skin – Lara Hurley Maitreya applier and Christy Catwa Head Applier

Eyes – IKON – Spectral Eyes

Ears – Mandala – Steking Ears

Hair – Tableau Vivant – Upshaw

Headpiece – LODE – Phebe – RARE **NEW** at Chapter Four

Outfit – Caboodle – Shen Sash **Midnight Madness** 5th Feb ONLY free gift

Poses – Bauhaus Movement

Scene Props – {anc} Picnic set **NEW** at Chapter Four



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