The Razzies

Ah, The Razzies.

The absolute pinnacle for anyone in the film industry.

The glitz, the glamour – it’s hard not to daydream about the spectacle.

Actors from near and far, all gathered for the biggest prize in showbiz.

Oh no wait… I think I may be a little confused.

The Golden Raspberry Awards

The Golden Raspberry Awards (or more commonly known as Razzies or the Razzie Awards) is a parody award show/ceremony that honours the absolute worse cinematic under-achievements. Although it sounds a little bit harsh, it is all in good spirit and (mostly) well received.

The awards were co-founded by UCLA film graduates and veterans of the film industry – Mo Murphy and John J. B. Wilson. The Razzies have now preceded the (much less glamorous) Academy Awards for around forty years.

Although not necessarily where the saying comes from – there is a clear link between the silliness of the award show, and ‘blowing a raspberry’ to an industry that can be guilty of taking itself too seriously. The award itself is a small golf-ball sized raspberry sat atop a mangled super 8mm film reel, in a tasteful spray-painted gold.

Re-sellers of the award won’t be in much luck, as they are only worth a meagre $4.97.

The Golden Raspberry Foundation have previously claimed that the award –

“Encourages well-known filmmakers and top-notch performers to own their bad”

Wise advice indeed.

History of the Razzies

The first ever Golden Raspberry awards ceremony took place on the 31st of March 1981. The location?

A living room.

More specifically, John J. B. Wilson’s living-room alcove at his Hollywood abode.

The most decorated Razzie winner of all time is Sylvester Stallone, who has an incredible 10 awards to his name. Although, let’s be honest – it could very easily be more. Trailing in second place is Madonna, with a meagre 9 Razzies.

Wilson traditionally held potluck parties at his home on the night of the academy awards. In 1981, after the 53rd Academy Awards had finished for the evening – he decided to invite some friends over to dish out some random awards. The decision to hold the event was made after seeing a 99-cent double feature of ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ and ‘Xanadu’. After giving attendees the chance to vote on the worst, he stood behind a podium made of cardboard, wearing a tacky tuxedo, and with a foam ball on a broomstick for a microphone.

In great spirits, ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ was announced as the first ever Golden Raspberry Award Winner for the category of Worst Picture. The relaxed ceremony was a complete roaring success, and the following week the story was picked up by a few local newspapers – even including a mention in the Los Angeles Daily News.

There were an estimated three dozen people at the 1st ever Rassies, growing exponentially to 6 dozen at the second, and then 12 dozen at the third. By the 4th ceremony, CNN and two major wire services were covering the event.

The Golden Raspberry Award Organisation vote to determine the recipients of the award, with the panel made up of filmmakers and very opinionated film buffs from around the world. The voting members come from all fifty U.S states and every continent in the world – minus Antarctica.

But let’s be honest, when’s the last time you watched truly good big-budget movie from Antarctica…?

Recipients of Note

Although awarded to a great variety of actors, they awards are seldom ‘accepted’ – with many keen to avoid association.

Previous recipients of note that have gracefully accepted the award include Tom Green (Worst Actor/Worst Director), Halle Berry (Worst Actress), Sandra Bullock (Worst Actress), Michael Ferris (Worst Screenplay), J. D. Shapiro (Worst Screenplay), Paul Verhoeven (Worst Director). Others include the eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken, Dinesh D’Souza, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Controversy and Criticism

The Razzies are not immune from criticism, having received their fair share of backlash.

Indiewire and The Daily Telegraph have been quite vocal in their criticism for several issues. One reason is that the voting members of the Golden Raspberry Foundation are not even required to watch the nominated films before voting, essentially casting their vote blind.

Critics of the Razzies say that the awards pick easy targets – which is arguably true. They say that the awards focus on critically panned mainstream movies instead of less popular but much more well-deservingly awful productions. Thus, the awards continue to perpetuate the endless circle of Hollywood celebs obsession with themselves.

Sam Adams of Indiewire has said the Razzies, are akin to –

“Hecklers hurling insults at comedians or a concertgoer yelling out ‘Whoo!’ during a quiet song, they’re not-so-secretly crying out to be noticed. The Razzies, properly enough, avoid pouncing on the little guy; they don’t trash no-budget indies no one has seen for having bad lighting or terrible sound.”

Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph has said this –

“The Razzies’ ongoing failure to train its sights on anything but the most obvious targets means it grows more tired and redundant by the year”

Current Award Categories

  • Worst Picture: 1980 to present day
  • Worst Director: 1980 to present day
  • Worst Actor: 1980 to present day
  • Worst Actress: 1980 to present day
  • Worst Supporting Actor: 1980 to present day
  • Worst Supporting Actress: 1980 to present day
  • Worst Screenplay: 1980 to present day
  • Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel: 1994 to present day
  • Worst Screen Combo: 2013 to present day
  • Razzie Redeemer Award: 2014 to present day

Retired Award Categories

  • Worst Original Song: 1980 to 1999, 2002
  • Worst New Star: 1981 to 1998, except 1989
  • Worst Musical Score: 1981 to 1985
  • Worst Visual Effects: 1986 to 1987
  • Worst Screen Couple: 1994 to 2009, 2011 to 2012
  • Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble: 2010
  • Worst Screen Ensemble: 2011 to 2012