Site stats 7 Controversial Award Winners – Brain Berries

7 Controversial Award Winners


Every award ceremony has its favourites. Very rarely celebrity events go without tear-shedding speeches, fabulous dresses and scandalous moments. There are plenty of viral moments which get millions of views on Youtube. Nevertheless, some of the winners make the public raise an eyebrow.



Pulitzer prize – Walter Duranty (1931)
Journalism and literature are generally the areas that you don’t expect anything extraordinary to happen, however in 1931 Pulitzer Prize winner journalist Walter Duranty was considered extremely controversial. Thirteen articles he wrote for The New York Times about the USSR under Joseph Stalin were excusing genocide attempts by comparing it to a lesser evil. The Pulitzer Board raised the question of revoking the award several times but never proceeded as this would damage the New York Times reputation.



Nobel Peace Prize – Barack Obama (2009)
The prize was unexpected both by Obama and the global community as he has just started his first term and hadn’t yet made any major changes in economy or politics. The nomination was considered politically motivated and was criticized. Some time later someone from the Nobel Prize Board admitted that the award was given to strengthen Obama’s position and had high expectations which weren’t met.

Oscar – Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Shakespeare in Love was a major let down in the 1998 Oscars. Saving Private Ryan was the film to win the Best Picture, however, Steven Spielberg had already won an award for another war film – Schindler’s List back in 1994. Producer Harvey Weinstein heavily invested in building up the movie for the awards and as a result the voters have approved it.

Grammy – Macklemore (2013) Wins Best Rap Album Over Kendrick Lamar (2013)
Rapper Macklemore who is well loved by radio listeners was a surprising choice for the Best Rap Album. More established rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, Drake, and Kanye West were also nominated for the award. Many people felt that Kendrick Lamar was favorite to win it. This was acknowledged by Macklemore himself when he messaged Lamar directly. Drake called the apology out for being lame but Lamar seem to accept the apology anyway.

Emmy – Lonely Island (2008)
The Emmys show is an event well known for fancy dresses and witty hosts. Much to the crowd’s surprise, the winner for outstanding original music and lyrics was announced to be Lonely Island, a comedy trio with large amount of particularly awkward songs. Their song “D**k in a Box”, which many will remember at SNL featuring Justin Timberlake made the show particularly amusing.

VMA – Nicki Minaj (2015)
Nicki Minaj is known to get into arguments with many different female artists. Following the steamy discussion with Taylor Swift over body image issues, this year Nicki Minaj had an issue with Miley Cyrus who has criticized Nicki for “making it all about her”. While accepting her award for Best Hip Hop Video, Nicki didn’t forget to confront Miley who was hosting the show. It didn’t end there as Nicki kept coming back to the topic for another year.

Golden Globes – Jack Nicholson (2003) admits he’s high on Valium
Jack Nicholson won the Best Actor in a Drama award for his role in About Schmidt. While the award itself seemed to be well deserved, the actor’s behavior at his acceptance speech was extremely controversial. He started with claiming that film was a comedy and not a drama at all, then followed with jokes about his co-stars. The last statement was the biggest shock to the crowd as the actor has admitted he is high on Valium.