Ursa Major Awards
The Annual Anthropomorphic Literature & Arts Awards, primarily advertised as the Ursa Major Awards, are intended to be the furry fandom award for outstanding achievement in anthropomorphic and furry arts, equivalent to the science fiction fandom's Hugo Awards. The awards were first presented in 2001 at ConFurence 12. Due to the early misconception that the Awards were intended for the ConFurence alone, in 2003 it was decided that the awards would be presented at as many furry conventions as possible. To that end, the UMA's were presented at C-ACE in 2004, at Anthrocon 2005, at Rocket City FurMeet 2006, at Califur in 2007, at Morphicon in 2008, at All Fur Fun 2009, at FA: United 2010 and at Morphicon in 2011.
The UMA's were originally administered by The ConFurence Group. In 2003, administration was passed to the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), which expanded to include representatives from many popular conventions over the course of 2007.
The UMA trophy consists of a framed certificate containing an illustration of the award logo designed by Heather Bruton, with the name of the winner. A plaque has also been awarded on occasion.
In 2012 the ALAA's Choice Award was introduced to recognize any "outstanding anthropomorphic work". While not considered an Ursa Major Award, as it is voted directly by ALAA members, it is presented concurrently with them.
At the beginning of each year nominations for each category are solicited for works published/released in the previous year, and may be made either electronically via the website or email, or by postal mail. Those who wish to vote for the awards must register at this time and receive their ballot number. At the end of the nominating period, the submissions are tabulated and the works receiving the highest number of submissions (usually the top 5, though ties or the like may mandate a few more or less) become the nominees for the year's Ursa Major Awards. Registered voters may then vote. Note that any furry who wishes may register to vote for Ursa Major Awards - this is meant as a fandom-wide award.
Nominations for the 2006 Awards began on 18 January 2007, and continued until 28 February. Voting took place from 10 March until 14 April. The 2006 winners were announced on 4 May 2007 at Califur 3. Nominations for the 2007 Awards began on 24 January 2008, the first day of Further Confusion 2008. The 2007 winners were announced at Morphicon on 17 May 2008. The 2008 winners were announced at All Fur Fun 15-17 May 2009. The 2009 winners were announced at FA: United on 30 May 2010.
Nominations for the 2010 Awards began on 30 January 2011, and will continue until 28 February. Voting will be from 13 March to 17 April.
The Ursa Major Award categories have changed and evolved somewhat since their inception. Since the year 2005, the categories are:
- Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture
- Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series
- Best Anthropomorphic Novel
- Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction
- Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work
- Best Anthropomorphic Comic Book
- Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip
- Best Anthropomorphic Fanzine
- Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration
- Best Anthropomorphic Game
- Best Anthropomorphic Miscellany (new in 2006)
- Recommended/Best Website (new in 2011)
From the UMA website: To be eligible, a work must have been released between January 1 and December 31 of the calendar year for that award, and must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical (for example the intelligent rabbits in Watership Down for the former, and Bugs Bunny for the latter.) Simply including an animal character is not sufficient to qualify.
Starting in 2009 further restrictions were set in place that nominations cannot be "obscene, libelous, or otherwise detrimental to the integrity and good standing of the Ursa Major Awards and the anthropomorphics fandom." This definition includes "works of a predominantly sexual nature, or which include explicit sexual situations involving characters which may be underage or non-anthropomorphic animals." This was perceived as being in response to 2008s nomination of two controversial works - Softpaw Magazine #3-4 and its spinoff Finding Avalon for Best Magazine and Best Comic Book - which are considered as "cub porn."
Ursa Major Award winners
- Main article: Ursa Major Awards winners