Who is the most awesome artist on the forum?
In good conscience I can't vote for any one person in this category. There are too many good artists on the art forum and they all deserve recognition.
Most Original Artist:
Who is the most creative artist on the forum?
Bezman - he started the Electric Earth Collab, which not only has a pretty neat concept but is focused on traditional, tangible artwork as part of an exhibition piece, which is pretty different from the run of the mill digital stuff that's usually on the forum, especially when it comes to an art collab.
Most Improved Artist:
Who has improved his or her skills the most this year?
Slippery-Nipple - the kid knows how to learn from criticism and actually apply the techniques that other people tell him about.
Most Provocative Artist:
Who is breaking barriers and bringing us the most edgy art?
Captain-Ben - He consistently makes good and interesting art using traditional methods, and has also done some pretty innovative stuff with mobiles and even a paper bag mask. Considering that on Newgrounds most people learned to draw on a tablet and probably never even pick up paper and pencil when they start a project, Captain-Ben has shown us that traditional art is still a really viable medium for expression, and really I think the sheer size of some of his pieces really showcases the limitations of digital artwork.
Who is the best new poster this year?
Sucho - managed to get two spots on the Newgrounds calendar and win a Wacom tablet from Tom, and he made his first post ever just about three months ago, when he submitted his Penicorn entry to the NG calendar contest. I think everyone expects that he's going to be doing great stuff in the next year.
Most Helpful Poster:
Who is a fountain of useful information and helps out the clueless n00bs?
Hammi - admittedly, I get a bit annoyed that his art thread is mostly talk and very little art, but the guy is incredibly encouraging when it comes to other people's art, and he takes the time to post on n00b art thread's and give them the encouragement they need to keep posting.
Best Art Regular:
Who is the best regular contributor to the forum?
ReNaeNae - she's responsible for a lot of great projects that keep the art forum alive and I doubt anybody else could fill the void if she left, and she also contributes really great art.
Best Art Thread:
Which thread was the best this year?
[art] Ng Print Calendar '09 in conjunction with [Talk] Ng Print Calendar '09 - the calendar contest was a really special event, and it brought out the best (and some of the worst) that Newgrounds has to offer.
On the one hand, it was really exciting to watch all of the art coming in, especially as it got down to the final few hours of the contest and people were scrambling to get their entries finished. And, it also created a few friendships and allowed people to collaborate even in an extremely competitive atmosphere. And, because the stakes were so high, and the prizes were so cool, it really encouraged a lot of first time posters to work up the courage to make an entry - which was great because we got to see art from people like sucho and jagondudo that we probably never would have seen otherwise, as well as seeing some great art from regular posters.
On the other hand, the winning entries ended up being incredibly controversial, and before the contest was even over people were already accusing ReNaeNae and the NG staff of favoritism. Luckily, I don't think that the contest ended up being that divisive - it seems like people are pretty much over it now. But, it did reveal what a negative attitude a lot of posters on Newgrounds have. A lot of artists on the forum didn't submit entries because they felt like they didn't have any chance of winning and so they didn't see any point - and that was a bad attitude to have because it kept the contest from being as successful as it might have been.
If the contest is held again next year, I hope that more people will participate, so that the contest can truly showcase the very best of the best on Newgrounds. Beyond that, I hope that the contest made people realize that you have to let your art speak for itself - because people will remember good art, even if it didn't win.
So yeah, that's my pick for best thread, and my reasons why; it was truly an "event" and if we're lucky we'll get to see it again next year.
Most Fun Thread:
Which thread was the most fun?
The Metropolis Disaster Art Collab - McJesus created a really fun collab and it's attracted a lot of great art from the forum. I'm also a bit biased because it was the first thing I really contributed to on Newgrounds, but I still think it's been an incredibly fun and laid back thread, and it's really been severely overlooked on the forum up to this point.