Just this week, nominations for the annual Golden Raspberry Awards—or Razzies—were announced. As I’m sure you know, the Razzies don’t honor the best and brightest, but rather the worst and dimmest. They also hold the (much smaller) ceremony the day before Hollywood’s biggest night, the Academy Awards.
It started in 1980 in publicist John Wilson’s living room, the Razzies got fire and became much more mainstream. But, as with so much, in going mainstream, the Razzies lost all their fun. They are a long way from a living room roast now.
The concept behind the awards was as a tongue in cheek parody of the Oscars. The day before the big awards, they would mock the whole idea of having a “best of” award ceremony in the first place. I can certainly appreciate wanting to parody an industry so comfortable with luxurious, self-congratulatory events.
But, somewhere along the line, the Razzies turned away from a niche ceremony commenting on the ludicrous nature of awards to a bland, attention seeking affair.
These days, the Razzies seem to be nominating actors for being in a bad movie, not necessarily giving a poor performance. This year, Robert Downey Jr. got a nomination for acting in a kid’s movie, and like always, Adam Sandler made the list. Glenn Close even made it on.
“Worst” is also such a crazy thing to actually try to find. Perceived bad acting may be a problem with the script or the direction, or both. Conversely, I suppose, the same could be said for selecting the “Best,” where writing and direction may give actors a leg up. But chiding actors for choosing bad movies instead of giving bad performances seems strange.
Much of it has to do with publicity. If they can nominate big name actors, they get a lot more attention. Remember when Halle Berry actually gave a speech at the Razzies?
The Razzies can be a fun experience. If done as less of an attack on art and artists and more of a critique on the very nature of the awards system, it has merit. But as of now, it feels popularity driven and, honestly, kind of petty. I’m not quite sure that, in its current form, the Razzies are a necessary affair anymore.