The Keyart Awards are like the Oscars for movie posters and trailers, and this June they'll be given out for the 38th time. If you're wondering why posters and trailers need their own awards -- especially since some of the nominees are themselves ads for film festivals or film awards ceremonies -- just take a look at some of this year's nominees, and I think you'll see why. Great movie marketing really is an art form unto itself, and some of the best work done in a given year only gets seen by a small segment of the population -- or in the case of our first nominated example, only by whoever drove down Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard a few weeks before Pineapple Express came out last year.

Nominated in the "outdoor advertising" category, this poster literally smokes (the movie's about potheads, get it?). There's a video of the poster smoking, which I would've embedded here except that whoever took the video was so blown away by the poster that the video's soundtrack is just the guy and his friends dropping exclamatory f-bombs. (The "smoke," by the way, is just eco-friendly steam; we've got enough real smoke billowing in this city as it is.)
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This next one's a teaser poster for Punisher: War Zone (nominated for the "in-theater print" category). This wasn't created in Photoshop, by the way -- I've seen the actual model for this shot, and it's a piece of sheet metal that someone artistically riddled with high-caliber bullet-holes. Pretty cool, right?

If you don't know why this Religulous poster is hilarious, you just haven't been paying attention:

This "guerrilla" marketing image for Rambo was created to look like graffiti-artist stencil, and part of the marketing campaign was indeed to stencil this image all over LA as if Stallone were the new "Obey" giant. Definitely an unusual way to get butts in theater seats -- but it worked.

There's a "horror poster" category, of course, and one of my favorite nominees is the Ruins poster. It's a movie about some American teenagers on vacation in Mexico who are murdered one by one at some creepy old Mayan ruins, and even though the plot is anything but subtle, I love the subtle way that the poster suggests the shape of a Mayan temple without actually showing one -- kind of like the famous old woman/young woman trick image.

27 Dresses was not my favorite movie of the year by any stretch, but I like the way this nominee for "best comedy poster" creates Katherine Heigl's dress out of handwritten text. Thanks to this, I'm sure word-clothes will be all the rage in Milan next season.

There's also a category for "best standee display," which are the big, increasingly complex cardboard contraptions you see displayed in movie theater lobbies. Here's a video of one of the standee nominees, The Spirit:

Here's a complete list of the nominees, which include movie trailers as well as posters, and lots of other things like home video packaging, trailer motion graphics and copylines (you know, like "in space, no one can hear you scream!")