The European Union and 10 More Nobel Prize Controversies

From Kissinger to Obama and beyond.

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Occasionally, a total shoo-in — or, at least, a fairly obvious choice — will materialize come Nobel Prize season, assisting the Nobel committee with what must be a rather difficult process. But when that’s not the case (and it’s usually not), the decision-makers will often award the prestigious Peace Prize to what ends up being a divisive and often controversial recipient. This year’s prize, for example, went to the European Union — a choice that above all seemed to provoke not an angry response but a bemused one, given the ongoing economic turmoil happening across the 27-member bloc.

But this was more about peace — and history — than it was about current economics. The committee cited the E.U.’s long-term process of building peace throughout Europe, focusing on post-World War II reconciliation efforts. But still, the timing feels a bit off — and if anything it provides fodder for critics across the globe to take jabs at the committee’s seemingly bizarre choice. Because really, people love dissecting and criticizing the Nobel committee’s choices year after year. It’s fun for us. Maybe because we secretly envy the winners, or maybe because we just like to criticize. Either way, throughout the prize’s 111-year history, the decisions have often sparked a complex combination of fury, confusion, contention and laughter. For more, check out TIME’s full list of Nobel Prize controversies through history.