SOME ASME SURPRISES: Vice, the magazine that brought you fashion week on acid, just received its first nomination for a National Magazine Award. The title is up against industry darlings Bloomberg Businessweek, GQ, New York and The New Yorker for a general excellence award. “I’m happy, I guess,” said editor in chief Rocco Castoro. “I thought it was a late April Fool’s Day prank. It took me a second to understand it, but I think we deserve it.”

Castoro, who started as an intern five years ago and was tapped as editor in chief last year, said he’s particularly proud of the last photo issue published in July. It’s a scratch and sniff cover that shows six brightly painted people walking up a scraggly cliff. Each person produced a different smell when scratched, including banana, coffee and marijuana. “We’re doing something different and it’s resonating,” he said.

This story first appeared in the April 4, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Every year, a few surprise nominations make the cut and give the veterans, such as New York and The New Yorker, a run for their money. Both titles led the pack again this year with six nominations, followed by GQ’s five nominations and Wired’s four. Condé Nast led all magazine publishers with 24 nominations, while Hearst nabbed 10 and Time Inc., seven.

O, The Oprah Magazine is up for general excellence and editor in chief Susan Casey was pleased with the timing of the nomination. “We were in this transitional phase when Oprah’s show went off the air [before she created her own network], and we had to think hard about mission and purpose,” she said, “about what it meant to not have the show on the air. Every editor dreams of having someone hold their magazine on the air and we had that every day. I think the nomination is an acknowledgement that our redesign is hitting its stride.”

The Hearst title is up against Glamour, Real Simple, More and W in the women’s category. Speaking about his publication’s nomination, W editor in chief Stefano Tonchi said, “It is about journalism excellence: content and not only looks.”

For the first time in 19 years, Interview magazine has landed on the list of nominees. The title is up for an award in design and is up against GQ, National Geographic, Virginia Quarterly Review and Vogue in photography. “I’ve never been the type for awards but it’s great for the magazine and great for our staff,” said editorial director Fabien Baron.

Finalists for Magazine of the Year will be revealed on Thursday. All the awards will be handed out during a dinner on May 3 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

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