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 (as with its spiritual successor, the Golden Sydney Award), 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, and at FA: United 3 in 2010. Since then, the awards have cycled between past hosts, in part due to schedule restrictions.
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. Any furry who wishes may register to vote for Ursa Major Awards - it is meant as a fandom-wide award.
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)
- Best Website (new in 2011)
- Best Anthropomorphic Non Fiction Work (new in 2016 Recommended List)
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 to be "cub porn."
Ursa Major Award winners