Under the Influence

These actors have won awards for worst performance

The Golden Raspberry Awards, also known as the Razzies, celebrates the year's cinematic under-achievements. And many famous names are proud - or not so proud - recipients.
The Golden Raspberry Awards, also known as the Razzies, celebrates the year's cinematic under-achievements. (Wikimedia Commons)

There are a lot of awards shows in the world. One of the most amusing is the Golden Raspberry Awards.

Known to most as the Razzies, they were created by advertising copywriter John Wilson and friend Mo Murphy. The Razzies are a celebration of the worst films of the year.

It all started in 1980 when Wilson hosted a potluck Oscar party for friends. After the award ceremony ended, it was still early in Los Angeles, so Wilson set up a cardboard podium in his living room, put a foam ball on the end of a broom for a microphone and asked his guests to suggest random awards.

The funniest ones were for the year's most terrible movies.

The next year, Wilson and Murphy issued a press release listing the worst movies of the year and it was picked up by a few newspapers. By the fourth year, CNN and three of the major wire services were covering the amateur award ceremony. The Razzies are now voted on by 750 international members comprising of film critics, members of the film industry and frequent film-goers. There are even a few celebrities who vote, but their names are kept secret.

Wilson also figured something else out. He couldn't compete with the Oscars on Oscar night, but when he released their list the night before the awards - the worldwide press - who were all in town looking for something to do - would cover it.

The Razzies ceremony is now held in a 300-seat theatre in Los Angeles. The statuette is a golf-ball sized raspberry spray-painted gold. Street value: $4.97.

In 2005, Halle Berry, who had won an Oscar three years earlier, was given a Razzie for Worst Performance in the film Catwoman. Much to the surprise of the Razzies crowd, Berry showed up to accept the Razzie in person and did a parody of her Oscar speech - with Oscar in hand. The crowd loved her.

Sandra Bullock showed up to collect her Razzie for Worst Performance in the movie All About Steve. She even brought gifts for everyone in the audience.

The next night, Bullock won an Oscar for The Blind Side.

And Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson took his Razzie in stride too.

Of course, not all actors have a sense of humour.

Sylvester Stallone holds the record for being nominated for 30 Razzies and winning 10. He reportedly left a voicemail for Wilson and Murphy asking why they were picking on him.

There is also the Barry L. Bumstead Award. This special Razzie is given to the movie that has underperformed to a historic degree. Think of it as the polar opposite of the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In 2016, the Barry L. Bumstead Award was given to the film United Passions, starring Sam Neill. It had the distinction of having a $30 million budget and a total of $918  in ticket sales. The Razzies only focus on big-budget, big-name movies because they have no excuse for being as bad as they are.

As John Wilson says, the Razzies aren't cruel. They exist to just ask, "Why?"

But, sometimes, there is an unexpected upside to winning a Razzie. The universally-panned movie Showgirls was re-released by the studio who promoted it on posters as the "Winner of an unprecedented 7 Razzies!" And one of the writers of Catwoman said the Razzies actually boosted its DVD sales.

Good or bad, award shows mean business.

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