Sponsored or sincere? The best and most controversial selfies from around the web

Ever since "selfie" was revealed as the "word of 2013" by Oxford Dictionaries we can't move for them. In no small part thanks to front-facing cameras on smartphones, the world has gone mad for self-shot photos.

They fill our Twitter and Instagram queues and Facebook walls, and even if you can't stand them, you can't help but look.

Celebrities too have got into the act in a big way, sometimes after being delivered huge bags of cash around the back of Hollywood Boulevard's McDonald's bins, but also just because they can. It is a trend that we can no longer escape from and, as they say, if you can't beat them...

So here's some of our favourites or, at the very least, most talked about selfies we've spied around the wonderful world wide web. We'll also be updating as we find new ones that tickle or anger us. Enjoy.

READ: Best selfie iPhone apps: Apple suggests apps to use

David Ortiz and Barack Obama

@davidortiz

Perhaps the most controversial selfie of the moment is that taken by baseball player David Ortiz, who captured a moment (on his Samsung Galaxy Note 3) when he met and handed Barack Obama a Boston Red Sox jersey.

Many believe that, like with the most famous selfie in the world ever (to be discussed below), it was a set-up selfie, purposely done to promote Samsung's phone. Certainly the White House is none too amused, saying that the President of the United States' image should not be used for commercial gain and is now threatening legal action. Ortiz denies that Samsung paid him to take the picture, but that hasn't stopped Samsung from retweeting images of the event itself.

We'll leave it up to you (and the American justice system) to decide whether its sincere or sponsored. We will say, however, that the Galaxy Note 3 takes a mean selfie it seems (can we have our cash now Mr Samsung?).

Ellen DeGeneres and the Hollywood A-list

@TheEllenShow

Academy Awards host DeGeneres was also primed by Samsung to use a Galaxy Note 3 during the ceremony as the Korean company was a major sponsor. However, the actual selfie taken and subsequent impact came as much of a shock to the company as it did to everybody else.

The selfie features DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper (who took the shot), Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey and 12 Years a Slave's Lupita Nyong'o. And it holds the current record for retweets of the original posting, which currently stands (at time of writing) at over 3.4 million. It even took Twitter down for a brief period on the night. Impressive stuff.

Some might think it was the night the "selfie" died, but even your mum now uses the word. If only we had a time machine and a map to the trademark office.

Darth Vader

starwars (Instagram)

To launch the official Star Wars Instagram account, Lucasfilm/Disney posted an image of Darth Vader taking a selfie.

What's more impressive, however, is that he's done it old school, using the rear-mounted camera of what looks like a knock-off Chinese iPhone. And he's managed to frame himself perfectly. That's the dark side of the force for you.

What we'd like to know though is who's taking the picture of the Dark Lord of the Sith taking a picture of the Dark Lord of the Sith? And did they survive the experience? "I find your lack of faith in modern filter techniques disturbing..."

The Simpsons

@TheSimpsons

A couple of days after the Oscars selfie broke records, the official The Simpsons Twitter feed posted its version of events - as drawn by creator of the characters and animated series, Matt Groening.

Apparently, we only got to see part of the picture on DeGeneres' selfie tweet. In actuality, Homer Simpson had been kicked out of shot by Bradley Cooper.

While not strictly a selfie, it still made us - and many others - chuckle.

David Cameron, Barack Obama and Helle Thorning

If you were asked what the most inappropriate occasion to take a grinning selfie would be, it's doubtful you could think of much worse than a funeral. And the funeral of one of the most respected world leaders there has ever been, to boot.

However, British Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning did just that. They took their selfie, in seeming high spirits, during the funeral of Nelson Mandela. And the world's press, of course, was watching.

It made just about every front page around the globe, including best-selling tabloid The Sun in the UK which damned the trio with the headline, "No selfie respect". You'd have thought they'd have learnt from the experience. "Hang on Mr President, can I get a pic with you, a baseball shirt and on my shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note 3?" "Why, sure son, what could possibly go wrong?"

Miley Cyrus

mileycyrus (Instagram)

Miley Cyrus is no stranger to the controversial selfie, having used them to help make her transition from teenage pop sensation to mad-as-a-bag-of-spanners sex pixie complete.

Her most famous mirror selfie shot is likely to be the Instagram posting of her standing in her skimpies. But to follow up from that she later, for Halloween last year, posted a picture without even a bra to hide her modesty, simply a glittering flower.

That said, she's clearly having fun. Which is more than we had throughout the early 90s when her dad's Achy Breaky Heart made our ears bleed. We still associate it with line-dancing. And not in a good way.

We can forgive, but we'll never, ever forget.

Kim Kardashian

kimkardashian (Instagram)

Another headline-making American woman who's a sucker for a selfie is Mrs West, Kim Kardashian. She's often appeared in shots taken on smartphones, some of which she probably doesn't even know about, but the most famous of all was her selfie posted on Instagram showing her post-pregnancy body (and bottom).

It even coined a new buzzword: "belfie" - a bum-selfie that the British press in particular have latched onto even more than a Royal baby.

Personally, we don't really get the fuss made around KK, but then, we're not Grazia magazine.

READ: Selfies: Love them or hate them, here's why we've all taken them

Pope Francis

While meeting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year, teenager Riccardo Aguiari and his friends managed to snap a cheeky selfie with the Pontiff. It then went viral and is a sure sign that the latest Pope is more au fait with the demands of social media.

A Papal Twitter account (@pontifex) is also going strong since its debut in December 2012. He's also a keen Flappy Bird fan. Probably.

Prince Andrew

@TheDukeofYork

The Duke of York was the first member of the British royal family to jump on board the selfie wagon.

Taken during the Pitch@Palace event in St James's Palace - an incentive to help students in the country start up their own companies - the tweeted picture was accompanied by the message, "Welcome to #pitchatpalace I wish you all a great event, both entrepreneurs and audience."

Of course, we say that Prince Andrew was the first royal to post a selfie, but head shots of the Queen have been posted many many times. On every letter, parcel or postcard sent in the UK. Brrrrap Badum. We're here all week.

James Cordon and Prince, Ant and Dec

Another Prince to get in on the selfie act was the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince.

Snapped by James Cordon during the Brits music awards in London in February, it pre-dated the Oscars selfie by a month, proving that the idea of awards-based front-camera action is hardly original. In fact, UK presenting duo Ant and Dec took theirs on stage at the National TV Awards several weeks before that, after they won the Landmark Award.

Still, they didn't get over three million retweets, so we're sure DeGeneres or Samsung don't give two hoots.

Others

That's it for now. As we said above, we'll be updating this feature as we find more controversial and interesting selfies to post, so check back often. If you know of any that have made you giggle, get mad, or get mad and giggle at the same time, let us know in the comments below. They don't have to be of celebrities, but they do have to have become famous or infamous online.



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