It seems as though these days, an award in Hollywood isn’t particularly hard to come by. While there are inspirational moments of achievement, representation and legacy, there are also often a myriad of celebrities who simply scratch their nose and they’re bequeathed an Oscar or Tony.
However, there’s another awards ceremony that exists in Tinseltown, one I’m much more interested in. And that is, the annual Golden Raspberry awards, or as they’re more commonly known, the Razzies. Each year, this parodic event celebrates the absolute worst performances of the year. Before we unpack 2023’s nominees together, let’s first take a brief look at where the concept for the nonconformist event came from.
The infamous award show was co-founded by UCLA film graduates Mo Murphy and John J. B. Wilson, with the first ceremony occurring on 31 of March 1981. The idea came after Wilson saw a 99-cent double feature of Can’t Stop the Music and Xanadu and pondered on his drive home that the two movies deserved to be awarded for their low quality—along with other films that he had not been impressed by from 1980. He evidently considered himself an expert on the matter, considering he’d consumed a plethora of film and TV during his job producing trailers.
So, the following year, Wilson held a potluck dinner at his home in Hollywood on the night of the 53rd Academy Awards and afterwards passed ballots regarding the worst in film. His friends were then invited to give award presentations in his living room.
As stated on the Razzies’ Wikipedia page, “Wilson stood at a lectern made of cardboard in a tacky tuxedo, with a foam ball attached to a broomstick as a fake microphone, and announced Can’t Stop the Music as the first Golden Raspberry Award Winner for Worst Picture.”
The ceremony, which seemingly was only supposed to be some lighthearted fun among film enthusiasts, quickly gained the attention of local papers and was even covered by local newspapers, culminating in a mention in the Los Angeles Daily News.
By the fourth annual event, the Razzies had attracted major national coverage. Now, with the 43rd ceremony almost upon us, let’s recap some of the juiciest nominees.
Based on the life and death of American icon and sexual pioneer Marilyn Monroe, the biopic Blonde was one of the most controversial films of 2022. Criticised for both its depiction and obsession with female pain, alongside its graphic interpretations of abortion and sexual assault—it’s unsurprising that the Andrew Dominik-directed feature film has been nominated for a total of eight awards at this year’s Razzies.
Blonde is not the first, nor will it be the last, film which attempts to cash in on Monroe’s legacy. However, it’s safe to say that audiences were overwhelmingly disappointed with the insensitive and offensive approach.
After the film was released on Netflix, netizens took to the internet to express their dismay—with many stating how they found the film unwatchable and impossible to stomach.
“Tried to watch Netflix’s Blonde. Couldn’t stomach more than about 20 minutes of the nearly three-hour length. Those 20 minutes were nothing but cruel and heartbreaking. Absolutely unwatchable,” wrote one user.
Another user went on to criticise how a specific scene involving sexual assault was portrayed: “Saw Blonde and turned it off in record time. Graphically showing rape on screen is not in any way a meaningful way to portray the horrors of sexual assault. Please, I’m btartegging you, leave this woman alone and quit slapping SA [sexual abuse] survivors and women in the face.”
Other criticisms involving the film primarily revolve around societal discourse condemning production companies for profiting off the lives and traumas of public figures—the upcoming biopic exploring the life of Amy Whinehouse has faced such backlash.
While he might be considered the friendliest man in the neighbourhood, veteran actor Tom Hanks is clearly public enemy number one in the eyes of the Razzie awards committee. The Toy Story star received three nominations, including worst supporting actor for his role in Baz Lurhmann’s Elvis and worst actor for Disney’s Pinocchio.
It seems the success of Elvis—which scored Austin Butler his first award win for Best Actor at the Golden Globes—didn’t wow the Razzie judges enough to protect Hanks from the infamous event.
Disney’s live-action remake of Pinocchio, which featured Hanks as woodcarver Geppetto, received terrible reviews from industry insiders and audiences alike. The film itself earned a total of six nominations—not completely surprising considering the film has a measly score of 28 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
After becoming one of the worst-reviewed movies of 2022, it’s no wonder why Morbius was nominated for several Razzies this year.
Musician, actor and highly controversial individual Jared Leto’s portrayal of Dr. Michael Morbius did not leave fans impressed. Right from opening weekend, the Sony picture tanked at the box office, earning less than any Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie in history. Things only got worse from there as critics and fans alike trashed the film from production effects to the storyline—or lack of.
Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson all joined Leto on set, but despite such a promising cast, the movie was still dubbed a major flop.
And the Razzies certainly felt the same way, with Morbius receiving a total of five nominations for worst picture, worst actor, worst supporting actress, worst director and worst screenplay.
If, like us, you can’t wait to see some of these movies win these well-deserved awards, be sure to tune in to the event on 11 March.