I'm glad this thread exists, because I wanted to propose something back when the current awards were still active, but I didn't do it in the end. Basically, I saw that a few changes and additions were made after the voting had already begun and I thought that it could be nice to make a thread (like a week or two prior to the voting) that would include a list of all the candidates for each category, so that the community could help improving it by suggesting some game inclusions, changes in certain categories if needed, etc. So actually the same thing that was going on in the voting thread, but in a dedicated one that could also serve to get the community more involved in the whole process and therefore generate some more anticipation for it.
As for the indies stuff, I really like the idea of giving them more visibility, so I've built a little on the suggestion of making an extra category just for them. My idea is more general, however: making a series of monthly threads dedicated to indies and other smaller productions. The purpose of these threads would be to make a list of as many quality small or medium productions released in that month as possible, so that the community would choose their favorites. These favorites would then be considered nominees for a poll that would be included in the thread of the next month, and the most voted game of the poll would be a candidate for indie or small/medium production game of the year.
To explain this in a more practical way, let's say that there's the March Indies Thread, when 23 games were released meeting the criteria of the thread, therefore a list of 23 games is made. Of those 23 games, however, there are eight that people are talking about and which are even getting some praise, while the rest is mostly ignored. When April comes and the April Indies Thread is made, this new thread will include a poll with the eight games that people were talking about in March, and people will choose their favorite out of them. Then, when the VGChartz game awards begins, all the monthly winners of the year (or just some of them, if there's some kind of pre-selection) will be the nominees for their own category.
And the good part is that, even if a game didn't win the yearly awards, the polls of the monthly threads would be always active, so even those not-so-popular-but-still-good games would have their chance to bright outside of the yearly contest. Besides, the main point of this wouldn't be which games won or not, but the visibility they'd get: these threads would work as some sort of a growing database, where the links to the previous months (and years, if this ended up happening and was succesful) would be included in the new ones, so that people would have constant access to a lot of direct feedback on many quality small/medium games, including (but not only) those which were preferred or considered the best by the community at the time they were released.
Also, as an extra suggestion if this idea came to fruition (because asking is free =P), I don't know if it would be possible to make a monthly article highlighting the currently favorite games of each of these threads, but that would definitely give them more visibility.
The drawback of all this, however, is that the OP of these threads would need to have a little of dedication to them, updating the lists when new games were announced or proposed, taking notice of the ones people were talking about the most, etc. Also, another drawback is that this would be about indie games, so the participation might not be too high. But if someone wanted to do this, I'd be quite a lot interested, to the extent that if this suggestion is not good or doable enough to become something official, I'd consider creating those threads myself, even if not for awards purposes - just to have the list of games always there.