Monday, February 10, 2014

The Razzies

The Golden Raspberry Awards or "Razzies" have been around for 34 years, to "honor" the worst in film. That is longer than some of the guilds' award ceremonies. The "Golden Raspberry Award Foundation" organizes the Razzies. John Wilson is the Razzie founder and is referred to as the "Head Razzberry." Their website states that their goal is to "put on a high-end show" this year and have the first ever televised awards show next year, 2015. There is something just as satisfying as seeing a movie you loved receive accolades as seeing that one you hated be slammed. I read the nominations and winners each year but I had never mentioned them previously in my posts. Ultimately I like celebrating film, not bashing it and that is the main reason I have veered away from covering the Razzies in the past. Frankly, I am still conflicted. The Razzies are the other side of the Oscar coin. The Golden Raspberry Foundation knows this and has built momentum off that, particularly in the last few years. When big A-list stars win, they rarely attend the Razzies awards ceremony. Sandra Bullock famously won the Razzie and the Oscar the same weekend in 2010. Halle Berry won the year after her Oscar win. Cynically, what appears to have begun as a genuine exhibit of what a sense of humor a star has about themselves now seems primed to be a standard PR move to show ones false humility. The founder is a publicist, that would be fitting.
There is a sense that like the People's Choice Awards, winners are told beforehand to encourage their attendance. Bullock wittily implied that they had nominated her just to see if she would show, "I didn't realize that, in Hollywood, all you had to do was say you'd show up, and then you'd get the award. If I'd known that, I would have said I was appearing at the Oscars a long time ago." The Razzies take place the night before the Oscars, and have for their entire history. The Film Independent Spirit Awards also take place on Oscar Eve. I much prefer the irreverent but still celebratory and honorable Spirit Awards rather than the all-out snarkiness of the Razzies. That said I would be curious to tune into a Razzie telecast. The awards started out deliberately tacky and low-end. There seems to be more maneuvering to become legitimized with actor appearances, paid membership and the goal to televise. One can't help but wonder, have the awards not been telecast due to budgetary restrictions or as a calculated PR move to maintain mystique?
The Razzies distribute their nomination ballots and ballots are due the same days as the Academy. They announce their nominees the day before the Oscar nominations are announced as well. The Razzie began as an Oscar potluck dinner party that the founder John Wilson held each year during the Academy Awards. In 1981 at the first "awards" Can't Stop The Music won the first Razzie for Worst Picture. In 1988, Bill Cosby was the first recipient to claim his award in the press. In 2004 on Larry King live Ben Affleck received his Razzie for Gigli, Daredevil and Paycheck after he had requested it in the press. Halle Berry and Sandra Bullock are the only A-List actors to accept their awards at the actual ceremony, not on a talk show or after the fact. Both cleverly embraced their Razzies.
Adam Sandler is a nominee this year for Worst Actor in Grown-Ups 2. If he wins, that will be three years in a row for Sandler. If an actor made more than one bad movie in a year, they will nominate him or her for all the bad flicks at once, not singling out one performance as the worst, but rather the whole year's worth of poor work. The year Jack and Jill came out, Sandler was nominated for both Worst Actor and Worst Actress. The Razzies website refers to Sylvester Stallone as "The Awl Time RAZZIE® Cham-Peeen" for as they state, his 31 total nominations. My favorite Razzie category is Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel. This year there are only nine categories though the categories can vary each year. There is something right on the nose about all of their nominees. All are certainly movies that you have heard the bad buzz on. As this op-ed from the University of Houston student news organization states, "all of them are universally despised."  None of the Oscar nomination morning head scratch of, "what movie is that?" The piece by Megan Kallus goes on to make the excellent point that the Razzies could use their platform to make serious critiques and discussions about violence in film or the trouble with bio pics in Hollywood movies instead of just going for "the low-hanging fruit."

FYI, there are some adult warning banner ads on the Razzies website. Classy. Another charmingly classy move, if you surf their website for any length of time, a pop-up for a Pay Pal membership appears. And you can no longer access their site without opening a new window or tab.
Reading this blog post from Fandango contributor Sean O'Connell was what lead to my writing about the Razzies. His best line, "if Razzies were Oscars, Adam Sandler would be Meryl Streep." Based on Stallone's supposed 31 nominations, I am thinking Stallone would be the Streep in the Razzie Bizarre-o World and Sandler the equivalent of a next generation Streep. The Kate Winslet or Amy Adams of Razzie-land.

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