As if the Marmite shortage wasn’t enough of a debating point yesterday, news that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel Prize for Literature became yet another divisive issue on social media. It wasn’t just a case of Bob Dylan fans vs Bob Dylan haters- there were also disagreements among fans who were arguing whether a musician should be given such an honour over writers of literature, and those who praised what many saw as a bold move vs those who saw it as merely an attempt at grabbing a few headlines. For those who are still undecided, you can use HMV voucher codes to experience the impact of his lyrics first hand and make up your mind. Or maybe just ignore the arguments and enjoy the music.
Awards history has been littered with controversial victors and if one thing’s for certain, it’s that you can’t please everyone. Some winners have stood the time, others…well, perhaps it’s best not to dwell. Here’s a very brief history of some other controversial award recipients and how they’ve faired…
Fritz Haber - Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1918
Sticking with the Nobel Prize to begin with, it can be argued that science moves so quickly, history is bound to be littered with examples of controversial scientists and their many awards. This particular one stands out mainly because of the irony involved – the reasoning behind Alfred Nobel’s original intentions for creating the Nobel Prizes was because he himself didn’t want to just be remembered for creating weapons (including dynamite), yet the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was given to Haber in 1918 for his work developing chlorine gas a chemical weapon during the First World War.
Crash – Academy Award for Best Picture, 2006
A year doesn’t go by without much head scratching at the announcement of certain Oscar winners (so much so that we’ve included two in this list), but perhaps the most recent one took place nine years ago when Crash was given the Best Picture award over Brokeback Mountain, a film which many thought the more deserving recipient. In fact, even the director of Crash thought it didn’t deserve to win and the film has since gone down in history as one of the more controversial choices for this category.
The Artist – Academy Award for Best Picture, 2012
Slightly less controversial, but still worthy of a mention is the victory of The Artist, an homage to the silent movie era which won not only the Best Picture but also Best Actor Oscar in 2012. This win is remarkable because during the 4 years since its win, the film has seemingly disappeared without a trace from public consciousness. One of the stranger Academy Award anomalies. Want to assess the merits of these two controversial winners with the benefit of hindsight? Zavvi promo codes and Amazon discount vouchers can save you money on DVD copies as well as other titles nominated.
The Brit Awards
Just the Brit Awards in general. No specific winners. They’re often criticised for rewarding commercial success rather than artistic merit, and although there’s nothing really wrong with this (they’ve never tried to disguise these intentions, especially in recent years), the history of the Brits is littered with some very strange choices. Joss Stone as Best British Urban Act in 2005, anyone? And this seems like the perfect time to remind everyone that Radiohead have never won a Brit Award, but Steps have.
A Beef and Vegetable Pasty - Best Pie at the British Pie Awards, 2016
Perhaps the most controversial victory of the lot, this year a pasty won the top accolade at the British Pie Awards. Seeing how seriously many folk take their pies, this has caused something of an uproar, with many pie manufacturers threatening to boycott next year’s ceremony. It seems the temperaments of pie makers can be as delicate as some of their pastries.
Whatever your opinion on Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, you have to admit this decision does continue a tradition of controversial award winners promoting much discussion. There is always going to be a risk of offending someone whoever gets a prize, but you have to admit, playing it safe when it comes to selecting a victor makes much less of a talking point in the long run.
By Anna Scott, 14th October 2016