These prizes are often awarded for ideas about the black hole information paradox, independent of whether these ideas work. Maldacena’s citation from 2012 tells us that he got the award partly for “resolving the black hole information paradox”, and the Strominger citation tells us that “His work hints at a solution to the famous ‘black hole information paradox’”. Polchinski is rewarded for ... show[ing] that the solution to the paradox supposedly given by Maldacena actually doesn’t work (not surprising, since it was never more than a speculation). If you’re a string theorist, you don’t actually need to solve a problem to get a prizeThere is no black hole information paradox. And if there were, there would be no scientific way to resolve it.
It is the modern of equivalent of the supposed medieval debate over how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. (I think that it is myth about medieval monks.)
Some clever physicists figured out that they could keep writing papers taking sides on this subject, and win prizes, even if other prize-winning papers take contrary views.