It’s time to burn the Razzies to the ground
Recently the Golden Raspberry Awards, also known as “The Razzies” – which announce the winners in 2022 today – had to issue a statement of apology to the 12-year-old actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong. As an award show that examines the “worst films” of their choice years, the Razzies nominated Armstrong in the Worst Actor category for Firestarter. After the criticism they received online for singling out an actress, the Razzies said they “want to say we are sorry for any hurt she may have suffered as a result of the our options” and set new age limits in their categories. This is not the first time they have named a child actor, like the two Macaulay Culkin and The Phantom Menace actor Jake Lloyd has received nominations in the past. The Razzies have yet to apologize to these actors, but they are hardly the only ones who deserve a statement of remorse.
Since 1981, the Razzies have used categories opposite the Academy Awards, including worst picture, worst director, worst actor, and worst actress; they also have special categories such as Worst Screen Duo, Worst Prequel, Sequel, Remake, or Ripoff, as well as several other special awards created for certain years. With nominations and winners alike announced the day before the Oscar nominations, the Razzies attempt to satirize the nature of award shows, but they’ve never been a form of legitimate criticism.
It’s gotten to the point where the Razzie awards aren’t any funnier. Legitimate film criticism is important, and it doesn’t always have to be helpful. There’s a lot of fun in making fun of bad movies, but the Razzies are just a lazy collection of easy jokes that are often irreverent or just plain wrong. In a world where there are more than a few easy ways to share movie ideas online, it’s time to burn down the Razzies.
The Razzies rely on a corrupt process
Any joke at the expense of the Oscars is strange given the way the Razzies conduct their voting process. Instead of determining the nominations from a deliberative or critical group, the Razzie “committee” creates a list of seven to eleven nominees in each category, and leaves open space for write-ins. Votes are given to members, or basically anyone willing to pay for it. All you have to do to become a Razzie member is pay the annual fee of $40 or get a lifetime membership for $500. It has no more value than a Twitter poll, as members may be swayed to vote by recent trends, controversies or prejudices.
This decision by public consensus is why the nominees are usually a list of well-known titles that a broad set of voters may have heard of; really terrible movies like The Room or Daniel the Magician they didn’t get recognition because the voters didn’t seem to know about them. Likewise, there’s no guarantee that the voters have seen what they’re nominating, and they might just be jumping on whatever movies tend to be the punching bag in a given year. any
The names of the Razzies are often confusing
This is reflected in the nominations, which tend to focus on easy targets such as studio comedies, failed blockbusters or sequels, and box office disappointments. The Razzies also have a few targets in particular that get nominations for almost every performance they give, such as Adam Sandler and Sylvester Stallone. Sandler even got a nomination for the comedy classic Happy Gilmorewith Stallone known for films like Rocky IV, and Cliffhanger. Since it is possible to nominate an actor for any number of performances given each year, nominating as Ben Affleck2004 award for worst actor in Gigli, Daredevil, and Payroll.
Because of the low cost of membership, there are more than a few instances when a Razzie nomination is just plain wrong. Past Worst Picture nominees include now-beloved films like Armageddon, Roadhouse, The Shining, Last Action Hero, Cruise, The Blair Witch Project, Rambo: First Blood Part II, and other titles that were initially met with a wave of detractors. That’s only in the Worst Picture category; Other honorifics that are terribly wrong include Stanley Kubrick (Worst director for The Clarity) and Ennio Morricone (Worst Musical Score for The Thing). In fact, the Razzies have sometimes nominated actors and artists who would receive an Oscar nomination the next day; examples include Aerosmithand original song “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” and Glendounperformance in Hillbilly Marsh.
The history of the weird (and offensive) rows at the Razzies
Sometimes, the Razzies celebrate a particular low-budget film that the Razzie committee chooses to celebrate, and in recent years there has been an increase in conservative documentaries. This leads to lines that are just plain weird; it’s just weird to see a piece of fascist propaganda Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party announced along with blockbusters like Zoolander 2, Gods of Egypt, Independence Day: Revivaland Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The Razzies are also guilty of singling out individuals in a way that is downright offensive. Nominations are often women and people of color. They are often classified rudely, such as Tyler Perry receiving multiple worst actress nominations Madea sequels and George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell receiving recognition for Worst Screen Couple in Batman and Robin (an obvious insult to an openly gay director Joel Schumacher). There are only a few out every year, and most films tend to be nominated in almost every category they deserve. You can see examples of this like Ben Affleck receiving the Worst Actor award for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice; Of all the problems the film had, it was almost universally agreed that Affleck’s performance was the best part of the film.
This is not the first time the Razzies had to apologize
The Firestarter controversy is not the first time the Razzies have had to publicly apologize for their cruelty. Although they created a category earlier this year for “Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in film 2021” for the eight direct-to-VOD films he appeared in that year, the Razzies were forced to return the award after Willis’ health problems with aphasia were disclosed by his family. It’s funny that the Razzies said they didn’t intend to destroy anyone’s career, since they were previously nominated for Worst New Star.
In a world where social media and film review sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Letterboxd exist for cinemas to voice their opinions, the Razzies just don’t need to pick easy targets. There’s nothing wrong with liking, criticizing, or making fun of a bad movie, but the Razzies are just an ancient, thoughtless tradition that no longer has value.