The 39th Golden Raspberry Awards will be doled out in the coming week, and there’s no question most of the nominated films, actors and actresses are richly “deserving” of their status as Hollywood’s worst of 2018.
But the Razzies haven’t always gotten it right. In fact, at times the Golden Raspberry voters might have nominated themselves for “worst critics” long after the fact. Some groundbreaking films are panned upon release only to be heralded as ahead-of-their-time classics decades later. Reputations of individual actors and producers can change drastically. Razzie voters aren’t immune to getting caught up in the buzz.
Here’s a look at 3 times the Razzies have gone off the rails.
1981: The Shining is Nominated for Multiple Razzies
The Golden Raspberry Awards screwed up the event’s maiden nominations by including The Shining, now considered an all-time classic in the horror genre, in more than one category.
Stanley Kubrick was nominated for Worst Director, while Shelley Duvall (who played “Wendy Torrance” alongside Jack Nicholson’s “Jack Torrance”) nearly received a nod as Worst Actress.
Kubrick and Duvall were criticized harshly for releasing a film that defied convention. The characters in The Shining often take long, unnatural pauses when speaking to each other, and the movie never explains itself in entirety. Duvall’s performance was slammed as shrill and annoying.
But as decades passed, audiences began to recognize the brilliance of Kubrick’s dream-like production. Not only is The Shining scary, it is symbolic, and some critics have even tied Jack’s smirking brand of evil to the oppression of Native Americans by the United States.
1994: Jim Carrey Nominated as Worst Tinseltown Newcomer
Jim Carrey was considered a rising talent in the comedy ranks when shooting began on The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in the early 90s. Alas, Carrey’s high-energy brand of gag was too much for the Razzie panel, who nominated Carrey for Worst New Star in 1994 after the pictures were released in succession.
Perhaps Razzie voters felt that the the Canadian comedian was a flash in the pan. That was hardly the case. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was popular enough to spawn a pair of sequels, and lines from Dumb and Dumber such as “So…you’re saying there’s a chance?” have become part of the American lexicon.
Carrey later broke new personal ground as a dramatic talisman in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and as a meta-actor in the Andy Kaufman biopic Man in the Moon. Now in his 50s, he has earned respect on social media as a firebrand social activist.
2017: The Razzies Get Too Political
Golden Raspberry awards are often intended as political or cultural statements. For instance, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson won Worst Screen Combo for their 2015 performances in Fifty Shades of Grey. While the film wasn’t exactly the hottest couples’ film of all time, it probably wasn’t as bad as Ted 2 or The Green Inferno, each released to theaters in the same cycle. But Hollywood’s BDSM community was up in arms (or ropes) about what it considered foul ethics and unfair stereotyping in the Fifty Shades script, and the Razzies nodded to the uproar by giving its most lowly-coveted award to the R-rated clinker.
In 2018 the Razzies went overboard by handing out 3 awards to conservative documentarian Dinish D’Souza, with Worst Picture, Worst Actor and Worst Director honors going to the Indian-American activist for Hillary’s America: A Secret History of the Democratic Party. Not sensing that D’Souza’s blue-collar base would purchase a film simply because Hollywood hated it, the Razzie panel may have actually boosted sales of the conspiracy-peddling DVD. “This is absolutely fantastic,” wrote D’Souza when informed of the awards. “My audience loves the fact that you hate me. Thank you.”
We don’t want to see the Razzies give up Washington D.C. altogether, but some balance would be nice. President Donald Trump is nominated for Worst Actor in 2019, though his “performances” in Death of a Nation and Fahrenheit 11/9 are not favored by Las Vegas to prevail. That distinction goes to John Travolta for his milquetoast lead character in Gotti.
Trump is favored by bookmakers to win Worst Screen Combo for his roles, however, while First Lady Melania Trump and White House mouthpiece Kellyanne Conway are each nominated for Worst Supporting Actress.
The Razzies will announce this season’s “winners” on Saturday, February 23rd.
Photo from IMDB.