While there has been a profusion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) awards in the extractive industry, there has not been empirical analysis of the validity of those awards. The purpose of this work was to fill the gap by investigating the legitimacy of the CSR awards given to the oil multinationals. Using ExxonMobil and its recognitions as the main case study, the paper examined the CSR awards the company received in health and safety and environmental performance between 2003 and 2010. The findings revealed surprising results, such as more than 70% of 226 CSR awards that ExxonMobil received between 2003 and 2010, came from 5 award-giving entities. After a careful analysis of data, the principal conclusion of the study was that the awards ExxonMobil received in health and safety and environment were not representative of its true CSR record. Partially due to the weak methodology and criteria that the award-giving entities used; this resulted in adumbration of essential elements of achievement recognition: legitimacy and merit. The findings have important implications for thinking about the CSR and the awards given to the oil companies.