**Sound like jealousy to me… Benedict may not have had a lengthy career, but has proven himself to be an extraordinary actor…
He has never won a major acting award and is yet to reach his 40th birthday, but it emerged yesterday that Benedict Cumberbatch is to be recognized with a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors.
After reports that the Sherlock star, 38, is to receive the accolade, which is just one rung below a knighthood, critics claimed the decision to do so turned the honors system into an ‘alternative Oscars’.
Cumberbatch is decades younger than other stars when they received the same accolade, leading some to speculate the announcement is more to do with his celebrity than his achievements.
Sir Anthony Hopkins and Kevin Spacey were both in their 50s before receiving their CBEs, while Sir Michael Caine and Sir John Hurt were both in their 60s.
MP Nigel Evans, a member of the Public Administration Select Committee when it published a report criticizing the rise of celebrity honors, said the trend is undermining the whole system.
He said: ‘It does seem to be that as long as your 15 minutes of fame stretches into 16 minutes you get a gong. We shouldn’t treat the honors system like the Tony Awards or an Oscar.
This is something which should be seen as for lifetime achievements, not an award because someone’s last movie was good.
That’s what the Oscars are there for and the Tonys and the Grammys, I do think we run the risk of the honors system being turned into an alternative Oscars or Grammys when it was never intended for that.’
He added that this trend means the people who deserve honors, ‘the people who have worked selflessly for charities for decades, the lollypop lady who has done her work for 40 years or the dinner lady who has been there for her lifetime’, are missing out.
On Cumberbatch’s young age, Mr Evans continued: ‘We do run the risk of dolling things out to people too early, perhaps in anticipation of some greatness they might achieve later on.
He might have had a good burst in film or on the TV, it seems like he’s been a big name only for a couple of years, whereas someone has put themselves out for 30 or 40 years, just because people don’t know their name, they don’t recognized’.
According to reports, Cumberbatch will be the star of honors list, being recognized for this services to drama.
However, with the actor riding high on the success of The Imitation Game and the Hobbit films, show business agent Tony Fitzpatrick believes the award is a ‘political’ decision to cash in on celebrity status.
He said: ‘In the old days of showbiz, you had to be in the business for decades before you got honored, now it’s to do with the size of your audience. It’s about making money. Benedict Cumberbatch is flavor of the month so it’s a political coup for whoever awards him the honor.
‘It’s not fair, I have people like Anne Diamond who led the cot-death campaign and has saved 150,000 babies lives but because it was a political issue at the time, she will never be recognized for that. There are lots of people out there who are doing lots of good things but because they don’t make OK magazine they are not honored.
‘It’s a bit like Blair’s Britain, they are saying “Let’s be cool and associate ourselves with fandom”. The honors system has changed, it’s less about rewarding long term good work and more about getting the headline. It’s certainly been devalued in the way a lot of traditions like that are.’
Cumberbatch, who recently married actress Sophie Hunter, 37, and is expecting his first child, missing out of recognition at this year’s film awards for his turn as wartime code breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.
He was nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe and Bafta but lost out on all of them. He has won none of his six career Bafta nominations.
The son of actors Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, he was privately educated at Harrow.
He was criticized last year for referring to black people as ‘colored’ while on an American talk show, a remark for which he quickly apologized.
Representatives for Cumberbatch declined to comment.