Fair notice at the outset: I have a horse in this race.
"Dramatic Presentation" is Hugospeak for "television and film." Yes, technically these categories also include stage plays, radio broadcasts, puppet shows, albums and CDs, and all the other media in which drama is presented... and from time to time, a nominee emerges from these areas. But rarely. Mostly it is television and film.
Up until a few years ago, there was only one category, and television series and feature films competed against one another for the award. The films almost always won (no, not always, ALMOST always). Then in 2003 the category was split, and now we have Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form and Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form. Which makes things a bit complicated. It would have been considerably simpler just to have gone with Best Film and Best Television Episode, but that would have excluded all those radio plays and puppet shows and dance recitals, so the Ghods of Hugo determined in their infinite wisdom to do it this way.
What separates a "long form" from a "short form," you ask? Length, mostly. Works longer than 90 minutes go in Long Form, those shorter into Short Form.
That seems reasonably clear cut, and indeed it is, at least for films. A television series is a bit trickier. The rules stipulate that individual episodes of a series (provided they run under 90 minutes) should be nominated in Short Form. But it is also possible to nominate an entire season of a show... or, indeed, the entirety of a show in the case of a miniseries... in Long Form. However, the rules do not allow any series to be nominated in BOTH Long Form and Short Form. If one or more individual episodes receive sufficient nominations to appear on the Short Form ballot, but the entire season in nominated in Long Form, then the Long Form nomination stands, and the Short Form nominations are disqualified.
And that is precisely what happened to HBO's GAME OF THRONES last year. Season One was nominated, and indeed eventually won the Hugo, in Dramatic Presentation - Long Form, finishing ahead of four feature films (the only television series ever to win in Long Form since the categories were split in 2003). Three episodes from Season One had also received sufficient nominations to make the final ballot in Short Form, but those were removed because of the Long Form nomination (elevating the next three finishers to places on the ballot).
The same issue presents itself this year. If you liked what Dan and David and HBO did with the second season of GAME OF THRONES, there are two possible ways to nominate the show for a Hugo. You can nominate GAME OF THRONES - Season Two in Dramatic Presentation - Long Form, or you can nominate your favorite individual episode or episodes in Dramatic Presentation - Short Form.
FYI, for those who might want to go the latter route, our episodes last year were:
1 "The North Remembers" directed by Alan Taylor, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
2 "The Night Lands" dir by Alan Taylor, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
3 "What Is Dead May Never Die" dir by Alik Sakharov, written by Bryan Cogman
4 "Garden of Bones" directed by David Petrarca, written by Vanessa Taylor
5 "The Ghost of Harrenhal" directed by David Petrarca, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
6 "The Old Gods and the New" dir byDavid Nutter, written by Vanessa Taylor
7 "A Man Without Honor" directed by David Nutter, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
8 "The Prince of Winterfell" dir bv Alan Taylor, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
9 "Blackwater" directed by Neil Marshall, written by George R. R. Martin
10 "Valar Morghulis" directed by Alan Taylor, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
You do need to know the title to nominate an individual episode in Short Form.
Fans sometimes ask me which category would give GAME OF THRONES the best choice of winning. Fair question, but I don't have the vaguest idea. It is going to be hard going either way. Last year at Chicon we won in Long Form, true, but this year the show would face much stiffer competition in that category, with both THE HOBBIT and THE AVENGERS almost certain to be nominees, and likely Pixar's BRAVE as well. All of those films have huge followings (not to mention budgets that dwarfed our own). On the other hand, in Short Form, we would undoubtedly face one or more episodes of DR. WHO. The Doctor has pretty much owned Short Form since the categories were split in 2003, sometimes placing as many as three episodes among the final five, and winning six of the last seven in that category. So the odds against a repeat are long either way.
But hey, that's what makes a horse race.
Of course, it is perfectly possible to nominate the show in Long Form AND individual episodes in Short Form, and let the chips fall where they may, as they did last year.
All this assuming, of course, that you think GAME OF THRONES was worthy of a Hugo nomination. It goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that there was a lot of other great SF and fantasy films and television shows out in 2012.