Hello Games, the team behind No Man's Sky, were not expecting to win an award, and thus were not in attendance at the awards ceremony.
Every year, the Games Developers Conference has its "Games Developer's Choice Awards," which is kind of like a GoTY but from actual games developers. Overwatch, fairly predictably, won Game of The Year. Quite unpredictably, however, was No Man's Sky winning the Innovation award. If you're shocked, you're not alone, as even Hello Games, the team behind No Man's Sky, weren't expecting to get an award, and were absent from the awards ceremony. This led to poor host Tim Schafer trying to present an award that no-one would accept.
When Schafer announced that No Man's Sky had won he called out, "Going once... going twice..." but no-one showed up. Later, we learned via the Twitter account of Hello Games code lead Innes McKendrick, that the team had skipped the awards ceremony to get dinner.
we were uh, eating dinner
talking about how we definitely wouldn't win an award— Innes M?K @ gdc (@innesmck) March 2, 2017
McKendrick later said the developer's absence during its award win was "quite embarrassing". Considering the, for lack of a better word, vitriol surrounding the game, which currently sits at a "Mostly Negative" rating on Steam, you wouldn't blame him for not expecting an award.
The Innovation Award, according to the GDC, "recognizes games that demonstrate true innovation, advance the state of the art, and push the boundaries of games as an expressive medium."