On Oscar night in 1981, two friends who worked at a company that produced movie trailers decided to have a little fun with films. John JB Wilson and Mo Murphy printed ballots and employed the help of their colleagues to vote on the worst films and actors of the year.
That’s when the first Golden Raspberry Awards were held, in Wilson’s living room in Los Angeles.
Razzies exist to take a hatpin to the Academy Awards’ balloon
John JB Wilson
Now, 40 years on, the anti-Oscar awards, popularly known as the Razzies, have become a talking point during the awards season. The self-described “most-uncoveted award” might not boast the star power of the Oscars, but it can definitely get under the skin of some of the stars and filmmakers nominated as the “worst” of the year.
What are the Razzies?
The Razzies recognise the worst films and performances of the year. Usually held the night before the Oscars, the awards are meant to be good, clean fun and serve as a “reality check” for stars, says Wilson.
“It’s a counterpoint,” he told BBC. “The Academy Awards take themselves so seriously that the Razzies exist to take a hatpin to their balloon.”
Categories include Worst Actor, Worst Actress, Worst Director and Worst Film, among others. This year, the “winners” will be announced on Saturday, April 24, ahead of the Oscars on Sunday, April 25.
Who votes for the ‘winners’?
The shortlist of films for the year are decided upon by paid-up Razzie members in 19 countries. There are currently 1,100 members, including a handful of celebrities whose identities have been kept secret.
Anyone can sign up to be a voting member. Membership costs $40 for new sign-ups and $25 annually thereafter. There is also a lifetime membership for $500, which comes with two official Razzie T-shirts.
What do celebrities think of the Razzies?
When actor Eddie Murphy was asked earlier in March why he took such a long break from films, he told Marc Maron’s WTF podcast it was because “they’re giving me Razzies”.
“They gave me the Worst Actor Ever Razzie. [So I thought] ‘Maybe it’s time to take a break,’” said the actor, who recently starred in Dolemite Is My Name and Coming 2 America.
Murphy was honoured with a “special” Worst Actor of the Decade at the Razzies in 2010.
But some actors and filmmakers have had fun with their recognitions.
German director Paul Verhoeven personally came to collect his seven Razzies for his widely panned film Showgirls in 1996. Halle Berry accepted her award for Catwoman in 2005, and turned up with her Oscar trophy she won for Monster’s Ball in 2001.
“I never in my life thought I would be up here winning a Razzie,” she said, accepting her award, mimicking her Oscar-winning speech. “I mean, it’s not like I ever aspired to be here. But thank you!”
Sandra Bullock came to collect her Worst Actress award for All About Steve in 2010, and tugged along a trolley full of the film’s DVDs.
“This is the deal we are going to make,” she joked to the audience. “You promise to watch the movie and really consider whether it was really and truly the worst performance. If you are willing to watch it, I will come back next year and give back the Razzie.”
In 2004, Ben Affleck famously won three Razzies in one year, one each for Gigli, Daredevil and Paycheck. He destroyed his trophy on live television when Larry King presented him with it.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson didn’t attend the event to accept his Razzie for the 2017 film Baywatch, but posted a video on his social media.
“Let me go ahead and take this ‘L’ right on the chin for Baywatch,” he shared on Twitter. “Win some, lose some … but hey, that’s the way love goes.”
Who has the most number of nominations?
Sylvester Stallone is the reigning king of the Razzies with a whopping 15 nominations. Adam Sandler is a close second, with 11 Worst Actor nominations, plus an additional Worst Actress for the 2011 film Jack and Jill. Kevin Costner, John Travolta and Nicolas Cage complete the top list.
Among the women, Madonna comes out on top, with six nominations, while Demi Moore, Faye Dunaway and Melanie Griffith trail closely behind.
Who are the Razzie nominees this year?
Hollywood superstar Robert Downey Jr and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani have landed on the list of nominees this year.
Downey Jr’s film Dolittle ties for the most nominations, a total of six, with Netflix’s Polish drama 365 Days.
Giuliani is named in the Worst Supporting Actor category for appearing as himself in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
Interestingly, Glenn Close, who’s nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Hillbilly Elegy, is nominated in the same category, and for the same role, at the Razzies.
This year, the Razzies announced a special pandemic-related award for 2020 as “The Worst Calendar Year Ever!”
Updated: March 31, 2021 12:52 PM