The Academy Award nominations have been announced and everyone is speculating who will take home the coveted prize come March 2. While you wait, check out some other awards that recognise that excellence isn’t everything.
THE ERNIE AWARDS
The Ernies are awarded to people and institutions in Australia that make sexist remarks. Silver Ernies are awarded in a number of categories, ranging from politics to sports (the latter of which is called the Warney, after Shane Warne). The Gold Ernie is given to the overall winner i.e. the biggest sexist of them all. The awards night is a dinner for 400 women. The winner in each category is the one who receives the most boos from the gathering.
2003 winner (Gold Ernie): Stellar Call Centre for cutting the salary of a pregnant woman for taking too many toilet breaks
2004 winner (Silver Ernie – Industrial): Australia Post for telling its women workers to lose weight if they wanted to attend the opening of a new branch; for reducing the maternity leave of a woman whose baby was premature
2003 winner (The Warney): Damir Dokić, the father and former coach of tennis player Jelena Dokić for claiming that almost half of the female tennis players were lesbians and that he would kill himself if his daughter were one
The Darwin Awards are given to those who end up killing themselves by their own foolish, ill-thought out and unnecessary actions. Such ‘stupid’ people supposedly contribute to human evolution by opting out of the gene pool by themselves. A number of citations are made every year, because human stupidity has no limits.
1990 winner: A robber attempts to burgle a gun shop even after noticing a police car parked outside the shop and a police officer inside the shop. The robber fires a few random shots inside anyway and the policeman, the shopkeeper and the customers draw their firearms and promptly kill the robber.
1998 winner: A man called Matthew steals a foam pad and he his friends ski down a mountain on it. They crash into a lift tower and Matthew dies. The foam pad he had stolen was taken from that very ski tower – foam pads are in fact placed as a cushion for skiers who might crash into the towers.
2003 winner: A worker at the Delhi metro construction site tries to steal the braces that hold up a concrete slab, only to have the slab fall on him and kill him.
The Turnip – literally a turnip nailed to a block of wood – is given to deliberately bad modern art in the UK. It began as a competition with the premise ‘We know it’s rubbish, but is it art?’
1999 winner: Alfred the Grate – two burned rolls on a fire grate
2001 winner: Nothing – literally nothing on display
2005 winner: Birds Flew – an empty bird’s nest with a flu medicine
2011 winner: Jamming with Muddy Waters – a jar containing jam and muddy water
2013 winner: Play on Words – a Shakespeare play placed on top of a dictionary
IG NOBEL PRIZE
A spoof of the Nobel Prize, the Ig Nobel Prize is given to legitimate scientific research and discoveries that are either unusual or of little consequence in a number of categories.
1992 winner (Chemistry): Ivette Bassa for her contribution to creating bright blue Jell-O (edible jelly)
1993 winner (Biology): Paul Williams Jr. and Kenneth W. Newel for their study Salmonella Excretion in Joy-Riding Pigs
1995 winner (Dentistry): Robert H. Beaumont for his study Patient Preference for Waxed or Unwaxed Dental Floss
2007 winner (Physics): Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan and Enrique Cerda Villablanca for their study on how sheets become wrinkled
2009 winner (Veterinary Medicine): Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson for showing that cows with names give more milk than cows that are nameless
This is awarded to frauds who claim to have psychic, paranormal, supernatural or parapsychological powers. The award is given in five categories – scientist, funding, media performer and refusal to face reality. The Pigasus is presented by James Randi, a famous magician and skeptic.
1981 winner (Funding): The United States’ Pentagon for spending $6 million to determine whether burning the photo of a Soviet missile would destroy the missile
1996 winner (Performer): Sheldan Nidle who predicted the end of the world on December 17, 1996, then clarified that it happened but everyone was unaware of it
1999 winner (Scientist): The Kansas State Board of Education for removing the teaching of evolution from the state’s educational agenda
2009 winner (Refusal to Face Reality): Scientologists
2011 winner (Media): The Learning Channel for airing a number of shows that promote belief in the paranormal
To be accurate, the full title of the award is The Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year. As its name suggests, it is annually given to the book that has the weirdest title, but is not necessarily the weirdest book published that year.
1985 winner: Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts by Donald L. Wilson
1992 winner: How to Avoid Huge Ships by John W. Trimmer
2003 winner: The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories by Alisa Surkis and Monica Nolan
2006 winner: The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification by Julian Montague
2012 winner: Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Bakeley Reginal
The Naomi Awards were dedicated to exceptionally and “outstandingly bad” music acts. We say ‘were’ because they were a one-off ceremony that ran only in 2006. That’s a shame, considering we can think of at least 10 terrible musical acts today. Nicki Minaj, anyone?
Greatest hits (all 2006):
Worst Live Act: Babyshambles
Worst International Male Solo Artist: Jack Johnson
Worst International Female Solo Artist: Jessica Simpson
Worst International Group: Westlife
Worst International Breakthrough Artist: Pussycat Dolls
Outstandingly Bad Contribution to Music: Westlife
Sadly, another retired citation, the Stella Awards were given between 2002 and 2007 to those who filed “outrageous and frivolous lawsuits”. The awards were named after American woman Stella Liebeck, who sued a McDonald’s where she had bought a cup of coffee. She had accidently spilt the coffee on herself when she tried to remove the cup lid to add sugar and cream. That’s right; she sued McDonald’s for making a coffee so hot that it was “defective”. Even more outrageous – the jury ruled in her favour.
2003 winner: The City of Madera vs. Taser – Marcy Noriega, a police officer in California, had just handcuffed a suspect in a minor crime in the back of her patrol car. The suspect started to kick at the car windows and Noriega decided to use her Taser gun to subdue him. She however drew her service revolver and shot the suspect, killing him instantly. The suspect’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, to which the city responded, “Any reasonable police officer could mistakenly draw and fire a handgun instead of the Taser device,” and has instead filed a suit against the company Taser that makes the Taser stun gun to pay the suspect’s family.
2004 winner: Mary Ubaudi of Illinois, USA vs. Mazda Motors – Ubaudi was a passenger in a Mazda car that had an accident. She demanded more than $150,000 from the car company as it “failed to provide instructions regarding the safe and proper use of a seatbelt.”
2005 winner: We’re just going to quote the Stella Awards website here because they write it best: “Christopher Roller of Burnsville, Minn. Roller is mystified by professional magicians, so he sued David Blaine and David Copperfield to demand they reveal their secrets to him – or else pay him 10 percent of their lifelong earnings, which he figures amounts to $50 million for Copperfield and $2 million for Blaine. The basis for his suit: Roller claims that the magicians defy the laws of physics, and thus must be using “godly powers” – and since Roller is god (according to him), they’re “somehow” stealing that power from him.”
2006 winner: Allen Ray Heckard, a man who claimed he looked so much like Michael Jordan that he was often mistaken for him, which caused him “emotional pain and suffering.” He demanded $52 million “for defamation and permanent injury” and an additional $364 million for said emotional pain and suffering. FYI, Heckard is 8 years older, 3 inches shorter and 11 kg lighter than the former basketball star.
THE GOLDEN KELA AWARDS
The Golden Kela Awards are India’s own Golden Raspberry Awards (the Razzies – awards for the worst films of the year). The Kelas recognise the most awful movies to come out of Bollywood year after year.
2009 winner (When Did This Come Out Award): Wafaaa
2011 winner (The Chimpoo Kapoor Award For No-Talent Relatives of Celebrities): Uday Chopra
2011 winner (Jajantaram Mamantaram Award For Worst Named Film): Lafangey Parindey
2012 winner (The F.A.L.T.U. Award For The Most honestly Named Film): F.A.L.T.U
2012 winner (The Bas Kijiye Bahut Ho Gaya Award): Pritam
2013 winner (Worst Actor Female): Sonakshi Sinha for everything she did
2013 winner (Most Irritating Song): Chinta ta Chita Chita from Rowdy Rathore