Statto's special prizes
These awards are purely my own and made up after the event they are not "official" or approved by the DDP organisers. Deathlist.net is, of course, the only true winner.
- Best Name Award. A big change was seen this year in the names used, with more going for the weird or plain wacky. Perhaps this was because Otis, You Want a Treat? put the rest of us in the shade in 2003. Statto is at a disadvantage here, as he spends too much time counting widgets to recognise some of the nods to popular culture, but in his judgement, the best name award goes to Are You Here About the Penguins?, with special mentions for Otis and Bob Mugabe's Swingtime Band.
- First Off The Mark Award: Otis, with Tom Hurndall.
- Jammy Sods Award: Deathlist.net managed to sneak in front of Otis and the rest of the pack by bagging Artie Shaw on 30 December.
- Let's Start All Over Again Award. Deathlist.net win this prize by their constant pettifogging about the rules. They were at a disadvantage because they were a committee and their musings are aired in public, but guys: the DDP has clear-cut rules about what constitutes a celebrity death and how the bonus system works. If you don't like the rules, why play?
- What's A Celeb Anyway? Award. Apart from Deathlist.net's comments rewarded above, there are some teams that play in the DDP because it eschews the whole idea of "celebrity" as we know it and as a sign of rebellion against other pools where one has to have acted in a 1960s American sitcom to be recognised. The player who takes this to the most extreme is Whitaker's Choice, the cat who paws through his namesake's Almanac every December.
- Barry Crier Memorial Award For Best Joker. Ten teams scored using their jokers. Mr Crier will be revived to make this year's presentation to Dead as a Dodo, who scored 12 points by the death of the much-lamented Christopher Reeve.
- His 'n' Hers Award. This would have been called the My Old Dutch Award if the DDP organisers hadn't made the joke first... But the award for spotting a married couple about to topple into the grave goes to Whitaker's Choice, the canny cat scoring with both Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and her husband Prince Bernhard.
- Ambulance Chaser Award. Otis gets this year's award for remembering Tom Hurndall's coma.
- Most Valued Player. Dear old Ronnie Reagan put a staggering 128 points on the board (exactly twice as many as last year's winner, Bob Hope) an average of 4.41 points for each of the 29 players who chose him.
- Most Valued Player (2). Goes to Christopher Reeve, who scored 12 points for the single team that chose him.
- Least Missed. Sadly no real villains died this year. Although some might argue that Yasser Arafat falls into that category (especially Bill "Giz a Nobel Prize" Clinton), Statto can't find it in himself to agree.
- Hero Of The Year. Many would put Christopher Reeve in this category, so I'm going to allow him to share the honours with Red Adair.
- Any Old Ham? In a crowded category, the old ham of the year must go to Marlon Brando and Peter Ustinov jointly. But with Alistair Cooke, Rodney Dangerfield, Ronald Reagan and Jack Rosenthal there as well...
What happened to the predictions?
At the beginning of the year, several more or less pointless observations were made about the selections. What does hindsight tell us?
- Choices. In a typical number-crunching moment, it was pointed out that an average of 9.21 unique picks per team (compared with 10.25) meant that the players in 2004 were going for a "more conservative strategy of honing in on the celebs who are going to die". Initially, the fact that only 9% of choices died, as opposed to 12% in 2003, would seem to belie this but I would argue that the high figure in 2003 was due to Otis' inspired choices, and that this year the players as a whole chose better.
- Bonuses. Despite predictions, the fact that 64% of choices were unique picks did not play a large factor in the game remember, only two of Deathlist.net's choices were unique.
- Popularity Counts. Of the top ten choices, only Ronald Reagan and Princess Alice died. The remaining eight are still popular choices for 2005, though not all make it into the top ten. We can only say that some of these old stalwarts obviously have God on their side...
- Age. Unsurprisingly, and as we have seen in past years, the older candidates have died. The oldest selections (Charlotte Benkner and Joan Riudavets Moll) both died during the year and the youngest (Delta Goodrem at 18) didn't. Benker and Moll were both 114 and the youngest to die was Tom Hurndall at 22. Hurndall was the only under-50 choice to die, whereas four over-100s died.
- Gender. The balance was perfectly matched: only 22% of choices were women, and they formed 22% of those who died.
- Family Ties. For the first time, we had a husband and wife pairing in Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard. None of the several other couples touted both made the grade: Ronnie died, but didn't make the double, despite having a better than average chance (with both a wife and an ex-wife eligible). Others outlived by a spouse include Janet Leigh and the Duke of Devonshire.
- World Leaders. Given that most of the former presidents of the US and prime ministers of the UK were chosen, it is a shame that only Reagan featured on the scoreboard and that no other politicians died. Princess Juliana was, of course, a former head of state. By pushing the limits of the phrase, we can also include Yasser Arafat.
- Jailbirds. As we've said, the number of crims who died hasn't been great. Off the top of my stat-filled head, I can't remember if Arafat was ever imprisoned, and only think that Marlon Brando should have been. The fact that Dennis Hills was banged up by the late great Idi Amin can hardly be held against him.