At the ASMEs: Adam Moss Takes the Night

After taking home only two awards combined the last two years, New York magazine returned to the winner’s circle and won four Ellies last night at the 2010 National Magazine Awards.

“I wish I could do it without these things,” said Adam Moss, upon winning for the Personal Service award, referring to the semi-embarrassing exercise where editors accept every award on behalf of his magazine, and are required to give speeches. Mr. Moss and David Remnick have become accustomed to this sort of thing. The best speeches, for a ceremony that drags on more than two hours, are the very short ones.

“We really care about photography at Vanity Fair,” said Graydon Carter, after VF won for best photography. He said little else.

After winning the General Excellence award, Mr. Moss thanked the New York magazine owners, the Wasserstein family, for their “unwavering” generosity and support. Last October, Bruce Wasserstein died, and the family has since said that it had no intentions of selling New York.

Michael Idov was a part of two of the winning entries for New York magazine, stories about foreskin and pizza. Mr. Idov by himself won two more Ellies than all of Time Inc., which for a second straight year was shut out.

Condé Nast was the big winner among all publishing houses, taking home eight awards, led by The New Yorker, which won three. National Geographic also took home three. Wired, another Newhouse publication, took two.

Sheri Fink, who won a Pulitzer Prize last week, took home the Best Reporting National Magazine Award for the same story as her Pulitzer winner, on doctors during Katrina. Ms. Fink’s story, published in the Times Magazine with support by ProPublica, upset David Grann’s New Yorker story about the death penalty, one of the most-talked-about magazine pieces of the year.

In an impassioned speech, Times Magazine editor Gerry Marzorati emphasized the importance of expensive reporting.

“We told her we couldn’t afford it,” said Mr. Marzorati.

But thanks to the help of ProPublica, they could and did, and he said that “a lot of us are going to look at places like ProPublica” for financial support.

The awards were at a new home this year at Alice Tully Hall on 65th street. Last year’s awards were marked by a stripped-down, sedate mood at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Things seemed to pick up this year, however slightly. Though “cocktail attire” was recommended, everyone seemed to dress up. Men were mostly in dark suits and women were wearing lots of fancy, peep toe high heels.

Anna Wintour was inducted into the ASME Hall of Fame last night. Thanks to the ash cloud, her brother, the political editor of the Guardian, Patrick Wintour, couldn’t introduce her, so he gave a quick intro (which was incredibly funny) through a short video. With Mr. Wintour absent, the duties went to–of all people–David Remnick for introducing Ms. Wintour. Mr. Remnick referred to Ms. Wintour as a close friend.

Ms. Wintour, who was noticeably shaking last year during an Ellie tribute to Annie Leibovitz , was nervous again. She nonetheless gave a lovely speech, which paid touching tribute to legendary and former Condé Nast editorial director Alexander Liberman and Si Newhouse.

In the battle of the rivals: GQ and Esquire each scored only one award. Jim Nelson, upon winning a General Excellence award, thanked Si Newhouse for “sticking with us.” Newsweek won one award (Fareed Zakaria) to Time‘s zero. The first editor who bolted out of Alice Tully Hall last night was Rick Stengel.

Men’s Health beat The New Yorker in the General Excellence category for magazines having circulations between 1 million to 2 million. Dave Zinczenko seemed particularly thrilled at this outcome, saying that everything the magazine has been working on for years and years culminated in this moment. Mr. Zinczenko is always a familiar face at the ASMEs, and works for the same parent company (Rodale) as current ASME president David Willey.

In an new category, called “Magazine of the Year,” which apparently recognizes print and the Web, the award went to Glamour. Cindi Leive accepted the award, and this must have been gratifying since she was the previous president of ASME, before Mr. Willey.

Those were the final two categories of the night.

At the ASMEs: Adam Moss Takes the Night