Ahead of the Oscars … here come the RazziesFeature Story, Online Only, Top Highlights Thursday, February 27th, 2014
The nominees are set and the excitement has been building as we near the big night, March 1. Yes, it’s once again time for the Golden Raspberry Awards! If you are unfamiliar with the Razzies, as they are popularly known, think the polar opposite of the Oscars, awarded for the worst in film for the previous year.
Yet, in the rush to honor the “lemons” of 2013, we cannot overlook the “golden fruit.” Last year was one of the best for movies in recent memory, resulting in many hot Oscar races. There was 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Dallas Buyers Club, my personal favorite Nebraska, Captain Phillips, Philomena, American Hustle and many more excellent films. Among great performances were Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern, Amy Adams, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o and the list goes on. Much has been made about Oscar “snubs” this year, but with so many outstanding choices, it’s not surprising that a Tom Hanks, Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Thompson, Oprah Winfrey, or Robert Redford missed out.
The roster of Razzie nominations has its share of big names, too. But how did the Razzies come to be? It all started in 1981 at an Oscar night party hosted by publicist John J. B. Wilson. After the ceremony, in whimsical fashion, he handed out ballots and invited the guests to vote for worst of the year. The winning film was Can’t Stop the Music, which featured The Village People. Neil Diamond was awarded Worst Actor for The Jazz Singer and Brooke Shields Worst Actress in The Blue Lagoon. A press release drew only scant attention, but Wilson’s parties and balloting grew in popularity and CNN picked it up as news. By the fourth year, that network was even televising the ceremony! The awards were formalized and moved to the night before the Oscars to maximize publicity. Along the way, the award itself was created: a golf-ball sized raspberry sitting atop a reel of 8mm film and spray-painted gold.
Now the Razzies are an official affair and Hollywood staple. They are voted on by some 650 journalists, fans and film professionals who are paid members of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. The group is seven times larger than the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that awards the Golden Globes each year. Yet, they have a long way to go to match the 5,700-plus members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that bestows the Oscars.
Madonna holds the record for most Golden Raspberries with five; Sylvester Stallone has the dubious honor of most nominations with 14. Worst Film winners include such long-forgotten titles as Color of Night, Under the Cherry Moon and Dirty Love. But the list also includes famous bombs like Battlefield Earth, Gigli, and Howard the Duck.
Two actresses have actually appeared to accept their awards: Halle Berry for Catwoman and Sandra Bullock in All About Steve. Bullock may have gotten the last laugh, because the next night she won her Oscar for The Blind Side. It is interesting to note that some actors have won both a Razzie and an Oscar. Besides Berry and Bullock, there has been Sir Laurence Olivier, Roberto Benigni, Faye Dunaway and Liza Minnelli. Many other Hollywood A-listers have earned Razzie nominations, including Diane Keaton, Cameron Diaz, Al Pacino, Ben Affleck and even some of our beloved favorites, such as Ellen DeGeneres and Bette Midler.
The Razzies have specialized categories for which there are no Oscar counterparts: Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel and Worst Screen Couple or Ensemble. Along the way some categories have been retired such as Worst Song but not before awarding such memorable titles as “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter” and the entire song score of The Postman. Worst New Star has also bitten the dust.
There is definitive proof that though serious, the Razzies don’t take themselves too seriously. George W. Bush won a Razzie for Worst Actor for Michael Moore’s 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 451. Donald Rumsfeld was recognized as Worst Supporting Actor for the same film. The Worst New Star for 1987 went to “the six guys and gals in the duck suit in Howard the Duck,” and ten years later to Ronald McDonald as himself in something called Mac and Me. Sarah Palin nabbed a Worst Actress nod in 2012 for the documentary on her life, The Undefeated, but she lost to Adam Sandler in Jack and Jill (obviously, as Jill, though he also won Worst Actor as Jack). There have also been special tongue-in-cheek awards such as Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie won by I Know Who Killed Me or Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property awarded to Con Air.
So, what about the upcoming Golden Raspberries? If Adam Sandler wins as Worst Actor for Grown Ups 2, it will be his third Razzie in a row – a record. His competition? Johnny Depp for The Lone Ranger; Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in Jobs; Jaden Smith, Will’s son, for After Earth, and Sylvester Stallone for literally every movie in which he appeared last year. Among actresses, it appears to be a wide open race among Halle Berry, Selena Gomez, Lindsay Lohan, Tyler Perry as Madea and Naomi Watts. Hopefully, the Razzies Foundation has plenty of awards on hand just in case, because 13 different helmers are nominated for Worst Director for Movie 43.
Whether Grown Ups 2, After Earth, The Lone Ranger, A Medea Christmas, or Movie 43 captures the top Razzie as Worst Film of 2013, we can look forward to the Oscars the following night. And not razz the winners. After all, Oscar won’t be snickering; he’s too dignified for that. Sometimes what seemed like a great idea, just did not work in the final cut. Sometimes the poor and inane helps us to appreciate and value the truly creative and outstanding all the more. Now, we eagerly await the opening of the envelopes. All of them.
For more information on the Razzies visit razzies.com
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