Created By: Perey on May 13, 2012 Last Edited By: Perey on June 6, 2012
Troped

Artistic License - Awards

The Nobel Prize does not work that way!

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A proud recipient of the Nobel Prize For Science!
December 10, 2017: Sir Peter Weyland is honored with the Nobel Peace prize in Science for his extraordinary atmospheric work over the polar ice cap.
--Weyland Industries Timeline, the tie-in website for Prometheus

People just love handing out awards to each other. Whether it's a merit badge, an honorary degree, or a knighthood, giving someone an award simultaneously tells them, and everyone else, that they've done well. Many of the most famous and prestigious awards have become bywords for the highest achievement in the relevant field, or even in any field. If a fictional character gets an Oscar, Pulitzer or Nobel Prize, you know they must have done something awesome.

Unfortunately, sometimes authors use such awards for name value, without worrying about using them correctly. At the mildest end of the scale, a work will make changes that seem plausible for a parallel universe or future timeline, like adding a fictional category to a real award. More troublesome cases will give an award to someone ineligible, or mess up the award's name. Truly painful examples will give out horrible mismatches of real awards, for all the wrong reasons, in a supposedly realistic or historical setting.

Such an award could be the only proof that a character is good at something. Has nothing to do with giving people awards for taking the biggest artistic liberties.


Examples:

[[folder:Nobel Prize]]
  • The page quote comes from the tie-in website for Prometheus, which establishes the Back Story of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. It's not a one-off accident either; the fictitious Sir Peter Weyland is later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine as well.
  • The Transformers-esque anime series Faibird has an episode in which the evil Mad Scientist takes the Nobel Prize committee hostage and attempts to extort them into giving him awards in multiple categories, including Peace ("If you don't, then my evil transforming robot allies will destroy the Earth.") The good mad scientist is slow to order the committee's rescue, because he's suffered Award Snub from them multiple times.
    • There are so many things wrong with this that it's easy to overlook one: there is no "the Nobel Prize committee". The five Nobel Prizes (and the Economics prize) are awarded by four different bodies. In particular, the Peace Prize is awarded by a Norwegian committee, while all the others are granted by Swedish institutions.
  • In Real Life, there's been complaints from, uh, authoritarian governments about the Swedish government awarding Nobel Prizes to people they don't like. While members of the Swedish government are on some of the Nobel committees, they aren't government prizes and the Swedish government can't prevent the committees from giving a Nobel to anyone within their own rules.
  • The non-fiction portion of The Science of Discworld III cites a Real Life radio evangelist who'd questioned why, if evolution is for real, Charles Darwin never won the Nobel Prize. The fact that Darwin died years before the Nobel Prize (which cannot be granted posthumously) was introduced had somehow escaped his notice.
  • A sketch on Saturday Night Live in 1994 presented the Nobel Peace Prize as if it were an Oscar, with a big awards show hosted by (Dana Carvey as) Garry Shandling. The clip was then used in The Larry Sanders Show, where (In-Universe) it was Larry that Dana was doing an impression of.
  • On The Looney Tunes Show, Bugs Bunny has a Nobel Prize just for existing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Military decorations]]
  • The Medal of Honor is the paramount military decoration in the United States services. It's often called the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is not its name; it's simply got "in the name of Congress" in its citation. A common "artistic license" in both fiction and Real Life.
    • The misnomer might also come from the civilian equivalent, the Congressional Gold Medal. Confusing the two is a common mistake, and also something that will get you Gannon-Banned.
    • In Mars Attacks!, Richie and his grandmother are given the Congressional Medal of Honor by the President's daughter, in honor of their role in stopping the Martians. Arguably, the President's daughter is the only surviving member of the Government (even though she didn't hold any office), but it's overlooked that the medal is only awarded to military personnel, not to civilians.
    • Borderline: in Frank Merriwell's School Days, the first of the Frank Merriwell books, Frank, a civilian, is voted "a medal of honor" by Congress. It's not specified as the Medal of Honor, though, so it may be the civilian Gold Medal.
    • Aversions/Lampshade Hanging:
      • In an episode of NCIS the team is investigating a Medal of Honor recipient and Gibbs corrects Tony that the Medal is "awarded" and not "won".
      • In Courage Under Fire Lieutenant Colonel Serling is assigned to determine if Captain Walden should be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. A White House aide erroneously refers to it as the Congressional Medal of Honor and Serling corrects him. The aide sarcastically responds with "Tell that to Congress" but is thankful to Serling for the correction.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other awards]]
  • Any time a Pulitzer Prize is awarded to a non-American, or called simply "the Pulitzer Prize", as if there were only one (and context doesn't make it clear which category is meant).
  • When Beth Ditto of The Gossip topped the NME magazine cool list, she expressed her shock that no other great female artists like Yoko Ono or Patti Smith had ever topped the list. The whole list concept was actually younger than either Ditto or the interviewer had realised.
[[/folder]]


Rolling Updates are in effect.
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • May 13, 2012
    SKJAM
    • The Transformers-esque anime series Faibird has an episode in which the evil Mad Scientist takes the Nobel Prize committee hostage and attempts to extort them into giving him awards in multiple categories, including Peace ("If you don't, then my evil transforming robot allies will destroy the Earth.") The good mad scientist is slow to order the committee's rescue, because he's suffered Award Snub from them multiple times.
  • May 13, 2012
    peccantis
    All-caps needs to go.
  • May 13, 2012
    Perey
    Done. ALL CAPS snowclones of Morbo were so universal for laconic Did Not Do The Research tropes that it seemed almost compulsory. But I'm just as happy without them, and even (gasp!) with something else entirely for the laconic version!
  • May 13, 2012
    SharleeD
    • The non-fiction portion of The Science of Discworld II cites a Real Life radio evangelist who'd questioned why, if evolution is for real, Charles Darwin never won the Nobel Prize. The fact that Darwin died years before the Nobel Prize (which cannot be granted posthumously) was introduced had somehow escaped his notice.
  • May 14, 2012
    randomsurfer
    A sketch on Saturday Night Live in 1994 presented the Nobel Peace Prize as if it were an Oscar, with a big awards show hosted by (Dana Carvey as) Garry Shandling. The clip was then used in The Larry Sanders Show, where (In Universe) it was Larry that Dana was doing an impression of.
  • May 14, 2012
    StevenT
    On The Looney Tunes Show, Bugs Bunny has a Nobel Prize just for existing.
  • May 15, 2012
    JonnyB
    In Mars Attacks, Richie and his grandmother are given the Congressional Medal of Honor by the President's daughter, in honor of their role in stopping the Martians. Arguably, the President's daughter is the only surviving member of the Government (even though she didn't hold any office), but its overlooked that the medal is only awarded to military personnel, not to civilians.
  • May 15, 2012
    SharleeD
    ^^^ Typo alert: I meant Science of Discworld III, not II.
  • May 15, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Is it really incorrect to say someone's won a Pulitzer Prize without stating what for? You can refer to someone as a Nobel Prize Winner or Oscar Winner without explaining what they won it FOR, usually it's made clear by context, e.g. a costume designer obviously didn't win their Oscar for acting, a novelist probably didn't win their Nobel Prize for physics, etc.

    I'm not American though so obvs open for correction.

    I read an interview with Beth Ditto of The Gossip a few years ago when she was the first woman to top the NME magazine cool list. She expressed her shock that no other great female artists like Yoko Ono or Patti Smith had ever topped the list, but the whole list concept was actually younger than both Ditto or the interviewer had realised.
  • May 16, 2012
    Perey
    What I was trying to convey is the error of implying that there's just one Pulitzer (or Nobel or Oscar). A Pulitzer Prize is fine. The Pulitzer Prize, at least to my understanding, is not, unless context makes the category obvious (e.g. a photographer saying "I'm going to win the Pulitzer for this"). I'd consider "won the Oscar" to be just as incorrect without the necessary context, but I really don't think I've seen it that often.

    Likewise, I don't think the Nobel Prize is singularised often either; perhaps because, with just five categories (and the Economics prize), I think the context of any given Nobel is more obvious. (It's harder to confuse the Chemistry and Literature prizes than Best Actor and Best Director. Even Chemistry and Physics are no worse than Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.)

    Of course, rather than just saying I've seen it done, I probably need to find (or hope someone else finds) some cases where "the Pulitzer" is (mis)used, to make it a proper example...
  • May 16, 2012
    SKJAM
    Oh, one of the things the Faibird example gets wrong is that the science Nobels and peace prize are chosen by different committees, so you can't just kidnap one committee and win everything.

    In Real Life, there's been complaints from uh, authoritarian governments about the Swedish government awarding Nobel Prizes to people they don't like. While members of the Swedish government are on some of the Nobel committees, they aren't government prizes and the Swedish government can't prevent the committees from giving a Nobel to anyone within their own rules.

  • May 16, 2012
    Fanra
    In Mars Attacks, Richie and his grandmother are given the Congressional Medal of Honor by the President's daughter...

    As the award citation includes the phrase "in the name of Congress", it is sometimes erroneously called the Congressional Medal of Honor; however, the official title is simply the Medal of Honor.

    This is another example to add please, it is common for many to use the wrong name. I'm not just correcting the example I quoted, I'm also asking this to be added to the trope, both in any fictional usage of "Congressional" and under Real Life.
  • May 17, 2012
    SKJAM
    Borderline: in Frank Merriwell's School Days, the first of the Frank Merriwell books, Frank, a civilian, is voted "a medal of honor" by Congress. It's not specified as the Medal of Honor, though, so it may be the civilian equivalent, poorly described.
  • May 18, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ The civilian equivalent would be the Congressional Gold Medal.
  • May 19, 2012
    mythbuster
    Confusing the Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Honor is a common mistake, and also something that gets you Gannon Banned.
  • May 19, 2012
    kjnoren
    The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a special committee of the Norwegian parliament.
  • May 19, 2012
    nielas
    Another example I have noticed is a character talking about someone "winning the Medal of Honor" and a character with military background explains that the Medal is "awarded" and not "won".

    • In an episode of NCIS the team is investigating a Medal of Honor recipient and Gibbs corrects Tony that the Medal is "awarded" and not "won".

    • In Courage Under Fire Lieutenant Colonel Serling is assigned to determine if Captain Walden should be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. A White House aide erroneously refers to it as the Congressional Medal of Honor and Serling corrects him. The aide sarcastically responds with "Tell that to Congress" but is thankful to Serling for the correction.
  • May 23, 2012
    arromdee
    The page image should be Dr. Raven from Bubblegum Crisis wearing his "Nobel Prize for Science" jacket. (This is not, however, an actual trope example since in-story, it nowhere states he actually has a prize; it's just a jacket with a saying on it.)
  • May 23, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Does This Count?
    • In Seinfeld Jerry gives his father a tshirt saying "#1 dad." Another man at the senior living center where he lives has a similar shirt from his son saying "World's Greatest Dad."
      Izzy: How 'bout that, huh? The World's Greatest Dad. My son made it for me.
      Jerry: (humouring him) That's very nice.
      Izzy: The best in the world. Which means I'm better than just number one.
      Jerry: Well, I don't know how official any of these rankings really are.
    • In The Big Bang Theory Raj gets named one of the "30 under 30 to watch" by People Magazine. Sheldon questions the methodology of the award criteria.
  • May 23, 2012
    Fanra
    The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a special committee of the Norwegian parliament.

    Not exactly. A special committee of parliament generally means the committee is made up of members of parliament. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a 5-member committee appointed by the Parliament of Norway.

    In the beginning, the committee was filled with active parliamentarians and the annual reports were discussed in parliamentary sessions. These ties to the Norwegian Parliament were later weakened so that the committee became more independent. Active parliamentarians cannot sit on the committee, unless they have explicitly stated their intent to step down shortly. Nonetheless, the committee is still composed mainly of politicians.

    The committee currently contains four former members of parliament and one President of the Norwegian Bar Association, who is a former state secretary for the Minister of Justice and the Police (representing the Labour Party).
  • May 23, 2012
    Perey
    @arromdee: Done! I think (hope) the screwy formatting is just because it's a YKTTW, and it'll look okay when launched...

    @randomsurfer: No, I don't think they do count. This trope is about giving an award for all the wrong out-of-universe reasons (the real award doesn't work the way the author thinks). Awards given for dubious-in-universe reasons (those in the story know there are problems) would seem to me to be something quite different.
  • May 24, 2012
    SKJAM
    @Perey re randomsurfer: I agree (which is why I didn't mention in the Frank Merriwell example that he's getting a "medal of honor" from Congress for saving a single Distressed Damsel. Repeatedly, true, but at most worthy of a local award.)
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=nlmr88hlrkt918zi9yhp0b34