The incredible amount of innovation that uses and builds upon standard Java/EE technologies is one the most important factors that keeps our ecosystem so uniquely strong. The annual Duke's Choice Awards is a small way of recognizing and encouraging such innovation. Every year a panel of judges gives out ten of these awards at JavaOne. Submissions for this year is now open and you should check out the details right now.
Note that while some of the text uses the word "nomination", it simply means submitting (aka "nominating") your own project or work for consideration by the awards committee. There is no problem with doing this whatsoever and that is in fact what the submission form expects in most cases. That being said there is also no problem whatsoever in submitting on behalf of any project or work you think deserves the award even if you are not directly involved with it.
Besides some well-deserved recognition by the Java community, winners get a free JavaOne 2015 conference pass, a super cool Duke award statue and of course the winner's badge. Keep in mind the award isn't just for the framework or product developer types. In the past people using Java in innovative ways for "real world" projects, great educators and thought leaders have won too. Here are some example winners from the past few years for inspiration: