Podcast Academy Unveils 164 Nominees for Inaugural Ambies Awards (Full List)

Todd Spangler
·7 min read

The Podcast Academy, an industry association looking to establish the premiere awards program for the fast-growing world of podcasts, announced nominees for the first Ambies awards.

The group announced a total of 164 Ambies nominees spanning 23 categories (see full list below), selected by voting members of the Podcast Academy.

The Ambies winners will be announced in a hour-long ceremony to be livestreamed on YouTube, Twitch and other platforms on Sunday, May 16, 2021, starting at 5 p.m. PT with a pre-show starting at 4:30 p.m. PT. New members of the org will be able to vote to determine this year’s winners if they register by March 26; the membership fee is $100 ($75 for students).

The 10 podcasts nominated in the Podcast of the Year category are: “Blockbuster: The Story of James Cameron” (Epicleff Media/Cadence13); “Bunga Bunga” (Wondery); “Chasing Cosby” (L.A. Times); “Detours” (WGBH); “Dirty Diana” (QCode); “Dying for Sex” (Wondery); “For Life: The Podcast” (Sony Pictures Television/ABC); “Forgotten: Women of Juarez” (iHeartRadio); “Say Their Name” (DCP Entertainment); and “The Happiness Lab” (Pushkin Industries).

Podcasts that scored the most Ambies nominations — with four nods each — were “Dirty Diana,” a scripted erotica series starring Demi Moore, QCode’s sci-fi/horror series “The Left Right Game” and Pineapple Street Studios/Crooked Media’s “Wind of Change.”

Founding financial backers of the Podcast Academy are Spotify, iHeartMedia, NPR, PRX, Amazon Music (which now owns Wondery), NPR, Tenderfoot TV, SiriusXM’s Stitcher, Entercom’s Pineapple Street Media, Sony Music Entertainment, On Being Studios, Libsyn and UTA.

The association was founded last year with the mission “to foster inclusivity, elevate awareness and build excitement for podcasts through initiatives, programming and our annual awards,” said Donald Albright, Podcast Academy chairman and president/co-founder of podcast studio Tenderfoot TV. “Today, we celebrate the community with the announcement of our first-ever Ambies nominees. They are just as diverse as the creators, both in front of and behind the mic, and are reflective of the far reaching medium.”

Originally, the Podcast Academy, whose formation was announced in February 2020, planned to call the awards the “Golden Mics.” The group later decided on the Ambies, which is phonically similar to other entertainment awards like the Emmys and Grammys. Separately, iHeartMedia has run the iHeart Radio Podcast Awards for three years running.

The Podcast Academy received more than 1,000 submissions from 358 different individuals or companies for the Ambies (officially dubbed the Awards for Excellence in Audio). Two-thirds of the nominees have either a female, Black, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern or LGBTQ+ host or hosts. Entries eligible for consideration for the 2021 Ambies were required to have published at least three episodes between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2020.

The nominees were picked by a panel of over 100 Podcast Academy members over a six-week period, who collectively listened to over 4,000 hours of podcasts.

Here’s the full list of 2021 Ambies nominees:

Podcast of The Year

  • Blockbuster: The Story of James Cameron (Miniseries)

  • Bunga Bunga

  • Chasing Cosby

  • Detours

  • Dirty Diana

  • Dying for Sex

  • For Life: The Podcast

  • Forgotten: Women of Juarez

  • Say Their Name

  • The Happiness Lab

Best Business Podcast

  • An Arm and a Leg

  • Brought to You by…

  • Go For Broke

  • Masters of Scale

  • Teamistry

  • The Heist

  • Women at Work

Best Comedy Podcast

  • Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend

  • Culture Kings

  • Don’t Ask Tig

  • Groceries

  • How Did This Get Made?

  • The Breakfast Club

  • Threedom

Best Documentary Podcast

  • California City

  • Conviction Season 2: American Panic

  • For Life: The Podcast

  • I’m Not A Monster

  • Louder Than a Riot

  • Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis

  • The Edge: Houston Astros

Best Entertainment Podcast

  • Dissect

  • Even the Rich

  • For Life: The Podcast

  • Office Ladies

  • Prime Video Presents

  • The First One

  • The Plot Thickens

Best Fiction Podcast

  • Asking For It

  • Blood Ties – Season 2

  • Dem Times

  • Dirty Diana

  • Frozen Frights: Aurora Borealis “Vacant”

  • The Left Right Game

  • Two Princes

Best History Podcast

  • American History Tellers

  • American Scandal

  • Detours

  • Driving the Green Book

  • Slow Burn

  • Unfinished: Deep South

  • Very Presidential with Ashley Flowers

Best Interview Podcast

  • A Winning Mindset: Lessons From The Paralympics

  • Asian Enough

  • Back from Broken

  • Death, Sex & Money

  • More With Anna Maria Tremonti

  • The Frontline Dispatch

  • Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller

Best Knowledge, Science or Tech Podcast

  • American Innovations

  • Brave New Planet

  • How to Save a Planet

  • In Machines We Trust

  • Short Wave

  • Tai Asks Why

  • Unlocking Bryson’s Brain

Best News Podcast

  • Do No Harm

  • Post Reports

  • Suspicious Activity: Inside the FinCEN Files

  • The Journal

  • Today, Explained

  • Vice News Reports

  • What Next

Best Original Score and Music Supervision

  • Bunga Bunga – Scott Velasquez, Jeff Schmidt

  • Dead and Gone – Makeup And Vanity Set

  • Jacked: Rise of New Jack Sound – Marcelino Villalpando

  • Revisionist History – Luis Guerra

  • Throughline – Ramtin Arablouei, Drop Electric, Hania Rani

  • Treasure Island 2020 – Chris Tarry, Jennifer Rowekamp

  • Two Princes – Score: Greg Laswell; Theme and additional scoring by Bobby Lord; Music Supervision: Jonathon Roberts

Best Performer in Audio Fiction

  • Dust, Season 3: Chrysalis – Corey Hawkins

  • Hank the Cowdog – Matthew McConaughey

  • Light House – Aly Trasher

  • National Geographic Kids Greeking Out – Kenny Curtis, Tori Kerr

  • The Left Right Game – Tessa Thompson

  • Two Princes – Noah Galvin, Ari’el Stachel, Samira Wiley, Gideon Glick, Wesley Taylor, Alfredo Narciso, Mandi Masden, CJ Wilson, Michelle Gomez

  • We Are Not Alone – Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg

Best Personal Growth/Spirituality Podcast

  • Borne the Battle

  • Dare to Lead with Brené Brown

  • Dear Therapists

  • Hey Spirit!

  • Meditative Story

  • On Being with Krista Tippett

  • Stay Calm with Bob Roth

Best Podcast Host

  • Amicus Presents: The Class of RBG – Dahlia Lithwick

  • Back Issue – Josh Gwynn, Tracy Clayton

  • Bunga Bunga – Whitney Cummings

  • Mobituaries: Anna May Wong (Death of a Trailblazer) – Mo Rocca

  • Revisionist History – Malcolm Gladwell

  • Science Vs – Wendy Zukerman

  • Wind of Change – Patrick Radden Keefe

Best Politics or Opinion Podcast

  • Burn the Boats

  • Gaining Ground: The New Georgia

  • Our Nation of Immigrants

  • Politically Re-Active

  • The Dan Bongino Show

  • The NPR Politics Podcast

  • Winning Wisconsin

Best Production and Sound Design

  • Canary: The Washington Post Investigates – Bishop Sand

  • Conviction: American Panic – Matthew Boll

  • Dirty Diana – Millie Iatrou, Ryan Walsh, Katie Halliday, Justin Davey, Matt Yocum & Ben Michev, Neely Oeftering

  • The Left Right Game – Ryan Walsh, Matt Yocum, Will Files, Ryan Sullivan

  • Unfinished: Short Creek – John DeLore

  • Where is George Gibney? – Ger McDonnell

  • Wind of Change – Henry Molofsky

Best Reporting

  • Fiasco: Iran-Contra – Leon Neyfakh

  • I’m Not A Monster – Josh Baker

  • Planet Money – Sarah Gonzalez, Kenny Malone, Jacob Goldstein, Robert Smith, Amanda Aroncyzk, Karen Duffin, Mary Childs

  • Reveal – Shoshana Walter, Laura Starecheski, Ike Srikandarajah

  • The Take – Malika Bilal, Stefanie Dekker, Safwat al-Kahlout

  • Unfinished: Short Creek – Sarah Ventre, Ash Sanders

  • Wind of Change – Patrick Radden Keefe

Best Scriptwriting, Fiction

  • Appearances – Sharon Mashihi

  • Dem Times – Rhys Reed-Johnson, Jacob Roberts-Mensah

  • Dirty Diana – Shana Feste

  • Looking For Latoya – Amy Aniobi, Chris Sanford, Kindsey Young

  • Make It Up As We Go – David Hudgins, Brooks Hudgins

  • National Geographic Kids Greeking Out – Kenny Curtis, Jillian Hughes, Emily Everhart

  • The Left Right Game – Jack Anderson

Best Scriptwriting, Nonfiction

  • And Nothing Less – Robin Linn

  • Heavyweight – Jonathan Goldstein, Kalila Holt, Stevie Lane

  • Masters of Scale – WaitWhat Team, Adam Skuse, Katie Clark Gray

  • Resistance – Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr.

  • Suspicious Activity: Inside the FinCEN Files – Jonathan Menjivar, Jenelle Pifer, Joel Lovell

  • Whistleblower – Tim Livingston

  • Wind of Change – Patrick Radden Keefe

Best Society and Culture Podcast

  • Code Switch

  • Ear Hustle

  • Heavyweight

  • Into America

  • Latino USA

  • Resistance

  • You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton

Best Sports Podcast

  • 17 Weeks

  • Drafted

  • Sports Uncovered

  • The Cam Chronicles

  • The Edge: Houston Astros

  • The Lead

  • Whistleblower

Best True Crime Podcast

  • Brainwashed/Uncover

  • Chasing Cosby

  • Dr. Death Season 2: Dr. Fata

  • I’m Not A Monster

  • Somebody

  • Supernatural with Ashley Flowers

  • The Messenger

Best Wellness or Relationships Podcast

  • Adult ISH

  • Dying for Sex

  • Last Day Season 2

  • The Happiness Lab

  • Therapy for Black Girls

  • We Got You

  • Where Should We Begin?