Every year, right in the middle of that grotesquely smug, garrulously sycophantic tradition known as movie award season, come the Razzies, gleefully pointing their finger right at the bottom of the Hollywood barrel to soothe the blackest hearts among us. But the Razzies aren't just here to make bitter people feel better — at this point, with 33 years in the game, they're a tradition-bound counterbalance that, through both their diligently chosen nominees and snubs, offer their own particular honorifics. In other words: The Razzie Nominations for 2013 were announced last night (and are posted below) — who's looking good?!
Hello, RazzieWatchers! Sorry this dispatch is late. It turns out they don’t have Wi-Fi in the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, which is where I was taken by ambulance on February 25 to undergo open-heart surgery. They haven’t released me yet, but I got a friend to smuggle me my BlackBerry and I’m typing this RazzieWatch in the dead of night, under the covers. Luckily the ESPN.com copy editors will fix my typos!
You guys, my editor Mark at ESPN.com has been so kind about this whole thing. They just hire nice people, the Walt Disney Company! I called him 11 or 14 times from the hospital that first day I was conscious, and he never answered his phone once — out of concern, he told me just now when I called him at home at 2 in the morning, for my health. “I just didn’t want you to worry about the Razzies, Dan,” he said. “We’ve got Amos taking care of it while you recuperate.”
One of the running gimmicks of last night's Oscars was talking-head interviews with a bunch of actors getting really earnest about the magic of the movies and stuff. It bordered on the self-serious (Steve Carell: “What makes a person laugh? What makes a person cry? What makes a person feel anything?”), but for the most part was a nice way for actors to geek out over other actors: Reese Witherspoon sang the praises of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell in Overboard, Gabourey Sidibe got real about Daniel Day-Lewis as “a freaking alcoholic with one foot." And then there was Adam Sandler. When it came time for him to speak, he did not say, “I like making movies because I get to hang out with my friends, make a lot of money, and make dick jokes.” He said this: “I’m eventually trying to, one day, tell the truth. I don’t know if I’m ever going to get there, but I’m slowly letting pieces of myself out there and then maybe by the time I’m 85, I’ll look back and say, ‘All right, that about sums it up.’”
Last night John Wilson of the the Golden Raspberry Foundation shook up awards season something fierce -- and in the process demonstrated why he’s the canniest awards-show producer in America! Just one day before the Razzie nominations were due to be announced, Wilson proclaimed that the Razzie Awards will be pushed back five weeks. Nominations will now be released on February 25, and the awards themselves will now take place on April Fools’ Day, April 1.
Well, Razzie lovers, things just got interesting, didn’t they?
All year, we’ve been disappointed by the movies we thought might be Razzie contenders. Transformers: Dark of the Moon? Coulda been worse. Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Frustratingly good. J. Edgar? Despised by some, not all. It’s enough to make veteran Razzie gurus like ourselves throw their hands to the sky and cry, “Why? Why must we suffer so? For God’s sake, can’t someone in Hollywood make a shitty movie that everyone hates?”
We’ve all seen it happen in awards show after awards show. Some grizzled veteran or much-nominated actress finally wins an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, after years of disappointment — for work that’s maybe just a leeeeeetle bit subpar. It’s why Kate Winslet won an Oscar for The Reader, not Eternal Sunshine. It’s why Mary Louise Wilson won a Tony for Grey Gardens, not Cabaret. It’s why Susan Lucci won an Emmy for the 29th season of All My Children, not the previous 28.
You know, Grantland’s RazzieWatch is just one of a vibrant community of Razzie experts, from Razzie Corner to the MCN Gurus o’ Garbage. Even the august New York Times is in the game these days, with the new “Crapetbagger” blog. After all, the only thing more fun than watching the Razzies is talking about the Razzies!
But sometimes those other outlets write something so godforsaken stupid that we have to set them straight. Over on the L.A. Times’ Berry Derby, so-called “Razzie Genius” Ralph Williamsburger makes the following claim:
When did we first realize that Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star might be something special? We admit it, we came to the movie late. It doesn’t even appear in our first Worst Picture predictions, made back in July. But, like every Razzie expert out there, we found ourselves hearing more and more whispers about it as the summer progressed. Last month we ran into one of our best studio sources — let’s call him “Jeffrey Katzenberg” — at a party in the Valley, and he sidled up to us and whispered, “I got two words for you: Bucky. Larson.”
Or, rather, will it be a supporting vampire, or a supporting werewolf? With its plentiful stock of wolfcake and bloodsuckers, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 is a bonanza for a category that’s often among the Razzies’ most predictable. Due to a fluke of scheduling, though, the name-brand Supporting Actors the Razzies typically love — Burt Reynolds, Marlon Wayans, Verne Troyer, Jon Voight, and (of course) Rob Schneider — have zero movies due to be released in 2011. That means some fresh Razzie meat come January 23!
Will Jackson Rathbone follow up his shocking Razzie win last year with another nomination? Might Taylor Lautner have better luck in Supporting Actor than he did in Worst Actor last year, when he lost to Ashton Kutcher? What about Kellan Lutz as vampire Emmett, the most bloodless of the bunch? Or Michael Sheen as Aro, who seems prepared to devour the scenery like so many shrieking coeds? Or Jamie Campbell Bower, who … uh … we can’t remember who “Caius” is. At any rate, they’re all front-runners, so let’s put them there.
Once upon a time, it was easy for a working actress to pad her résumé with a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress. Just pick a terrible script, play your wafer-thin girlfriend/wife/mom/coworker role as woodenly as possible, and then walk away with the gold(-painted raspberry). Hell, Faye Dunaway won a Razzie in 1993 for The Temp, and Estelle Getty in 1992 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
Then came Madonna and the reign of the superhotties. The Worst Supporting Actress Razzie stopped rewarding bad performances in terrible movies and started rewarding the latest flash-in-the-pan babe who looks good on a press release. So awards started going to, yes, Madonna, Estella Warren, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Carmen Electra — nonactors all, for whom a Razzie is worth little more than a shrug. They don’t understand, or care, that a Golden Raspberry is a feather in an actor’s cap.
Let’s give the Razzies back to the real actresses! The awards the past two years for Sienna Miller and Jessica Alba give us hope. We’ll see if this coming January 23 the Razzies continue the trend.
Worst Actress is traditionally the most difficult Razzie category to predict, because the performances are the most widely varied. Will nominations go to Oscar nominees slumming it (as when Diane Keaton was nominated for 2007’s Because I Said So)? Or will it go to the forgettable female “lead” in an action movie (as in Megan Fox’s nominations the past two years, for Jonah Hex and Transformers 2)? Or will a single nomination go to a whole group of ladies (the casts of Sex and the City 2, The Women, and Bratz: The Movie) in a manner that doesn’t at all suggest that the Razzies find all women and movies about women interchangeable and icky?
We’re skipping the usual predictions this week because this week's releases have us too excited. It’s Christmas in July for RazzieWatch, as Hollywood trots out two turkeys with serious Razzie heat on the same day. It could well be the Crapture! (Of course we haven't seen either of these movies, so it’s possible that one or both of them might be great! But having seen thetrailers, I think it’s fair to say there’s a good chance both will stink on toast.)
In predicting who might be nominated for Worst Actor, first you have to ask: What does the Golden Raspberry look for in its leading men? It’s a question that drives Razzie gurus crazy. Sometimes the winners of the Worst Actor award are megastars like Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, and Adam Sandler. Sometimes the winners barely qualify as actors at all: the Jonas Brothers, George W. Bush, Roberto Benigni.
Occasionally, an actor will dominate an era, as Kevin Costner did the 1990s, a decade in which he was nominated six times (and won three Razzies). But sometimes an actor will leap from obscurity with a performance for the ages, as Tom Green did when he won the Razzie for Freddy Got Fingered in 2001. (He’s still the only Worst Actor winner to accept his award in person at the ceremony.)
It’s June, which means that Hollywood is readying another buffet of crap. Endless superhero sagas, pointless remakes, a third Transformers movie — 2011 just might be the worst summer movie season ever. But a lousy summer for movie-watchers is a great summer for Razzie-watchers, because everyone knows that summer is Razzie season.
The Razzies, of course, are the coveted Golden Raspberry awards, the brainchild of Los Angeles PR man John Wilson, who turned an Oscar-party roast of bad movies into a 30-year cottage industry celebrating the worst Tinseltown has to offer. The Razzies (dis)honor Hollywood the day before the Academy Awards in a ceremony that has even occasionally attracted some star power. (Two years ago Sandra Bullock accepted her Worst Actress Razzie for All About Steve in person, her good sportsmanship aided, no doubt, by the fact that she was a lock to win an Oscar for The Blind Side the next day.)