Home Entertainment What Are the Razzies? An Intro to the Golden Raspberry Awards

What Are the Razzies? An Intro to the Golden Raspberry Awards

by Scott Kacsmar
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Golden Raspberry

Each year, you can bet on award shows that honor the best in film (Oscars), TV (Emmys), Broadway (Tonys), music (Grammys), and even the porn industry (AVN Awards).

But only one satirical award ceremony has had the foresight to honor the worst in the field each year. The Golden Raspberry Awards, known as the Razzies, has existed since 1981 to honor the worst in film each year.

Why do they call it a Raspberry, which films have won the most Razzies, and why does Sylvester Stallone have 10 of these awards? We have you covered with a guide to the history of the Razzies.

The History of the Awards

The origins of the Razzies go back to the 1980s when a couple of UCLA film graduates, John J. B. Wilson and Maureen “Mo” Murphy, had an idea. Wilson was a copywriter and publicist. One day, he spent $1 to watch a double feature of Can’t Stop the Music and Xanadu, and the movies were so bad that he still wanted to ask for a refund. Movies this bad should be able to win an award for how bad they were.

That line of thinking would lead to the creation of the Razzies as Wilson was heavily involved in the film industry to create trailers for films, so he had exposure to the worst of the bunch.

Wilson would hold potluck dinners for friends, including Murphy, on the night of the Academy Awards. During the 1981 ceremony, he gave his friends ballots to pick the worst films from the previous year. Taking it seriously, Wilson held an impromptu ceremony at his house to announce the worst films of the year. He even had a tuxedo on and a cardboard podium.

The comedic ceremony was picked up by local newspapers as about 36 people had attended that evening. Can’t Stop the Music was the runaway winner of 7 awards, including Worst Picture. A year later, the 2nd Golden Raspberry Ceremony had about double the attendance, and it doubled again for the 3rd in 1983.

By the 4th Razzies, upstart news company CNN was among those in the media there to cover the award show. It only just grew from there as holding the event on the weekend of the actual Oscars provided the most media coverage and attention.

But Why a Golden Raspberry?

Well, the Golden is self-explanatory with the award shows using gold statues and names like the Golden Globes. But the raspberry is a reference to the phrase “Blowing a raspberry” when someone makes a noise by sticking out their tongue and blowing. It is akin to a “Bronx cheer” or something sarcastic you would do to show your disgust or disappointment with something.

The Golden Raspberry Award itself is worth about $5 with a golf ball-sized raspberry spray-painted gold and sitting atop a Super 8mm film reel.

Membership for Razzies voting has grown to about 650 people from 19 countries.

What Are the Categories for the Razzies?

Some still complain that the Oscars show too many awards. The Razzies have a smaller number of categories, but they still hit on the main ones you’d expect to see:

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

There have also been other awards that have since been retired, including Worst Original Song (1980-1999, 2002), Worst New Star (1981-1998), and Worst Visual Effects (1986-87).

There have also been some special categories that were only awarded in one year. Here are some examples of those:

  • Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million (1996) – Twister
  • Most Flatulent Teen-Targeted Movie (2002) – Jackass: The Movie
  • Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3D (2010) – The Last Airbender
  • The Razzie Nominee So Rotten You Loved It (2017) – Baywatch

In 2021, there was a special award for “Worst Bruce Willis Performance in a 2021 Movie” with Cosmic Sin beating out 7 other Willis movies of the direct-to-video variety that year. But the Razzies later rescinded that award after learning of Willis’ diagnosis of Aphasia, the medical condition that has severely limited his communication skills, and that decline in his health is why he was taking on so many roles in bad movies to make money for his family while he still could.

But there have been some filmmakers and actors who have accepted their Razzie award. Believe it or not, Bill Cosby was the first actor to openly accept a Razzie in 1988 when he did so on The Late Show.

The first person to claim their award in person was director Paul Verhoeven, who bombed with the NC-17 film Showgirls in 1995. He won the Razzies for Worst Picture and Worst Director.

Former MTV star and comedian Tom Green cleaned up at the 2002 Razzies for his movie Freddy Got Fingered, if anyone even remembers how bad that one was. Green accepted awards for Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple. Impressive failure.

But some very notable actors have accepted their award in person. Halle Berry did so for Catwoman (2004) and Sandra Bullock attended for All About Steve (2009). Incredibly, Berry and Bullock also won Best Actress Oscars within 3 years from their Razzie wins for their roles in Monster’s Ball (2001) and The Blind Side (2009), showing their range.

To date, the only film to win an Oscar and a Razzie is Wall Street (1987). Michael Douglas won the Best Actor Oscar and Daryl Hannah won the Worst Supporting Actress Razzie.

Which Movies and Filmmakers Have Won the Most Razzies?

The king of the Razzies is Sylvester Stallone with 11 wins spread out among several categories:

  • 4 for Worst Actor (Rhinestone, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot)
  • 1 for Worst Supporting Actor (Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over)
  • 1 for Worst Director (Rocky IV)
  • 1 for Worst Screenplay (Rambo: First Blood Part II)
  • 1 for Worst Screen Couple (shared with Sharon Stone in The Specialist)
  • 1 for Razzie Redeemer Award (Creed)
  • 1 for Worst Actor of the Decade (1990 special award for the 1980s)
  • 1 for Worst Actor of the Century (2000 special award)

Adam Sandler is also no stranger to the Razzies. In the 32nd Golden Raspberry Awards to honor the worst in film in 2011, Sandler’s comedy bomb Jack and Jill made history by winning 10 Razzies in all the major categories. It even had a record 12 nominations as it received multiple nominations for Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Supporting Actress.

Here are some other record holders for Razzies:

  • Most Razzies for Worst Actor: Sylvester Stallone (4)
  • Most Razzies for Worst Actress: Madonna (5)
  • Most Razzies for Worst Supporting Actor: Dan Aykroyd (2), Hayden Christensen (2)
  • Most Razzies for Worst Supporting Actress: Paris Hilton (2), Madonna (2)
  • Directors to win multiple Worst Director Razzies: Michael Bay (2), John Derek (2), M. Night Shyamalan (2)
  • Franchise with the most nominations for Worst Picture: Transformers (4)

Criticisms and Controversies

You could say the heart of the Razzies is proof that everyone’s a critic, but that also applies to the satirical award ceremony itself, which has been the subject of criticism and controversy over the 40-plus years it has existed.

For starters, there has been criticism that the voters do not have to actually watch the movies they choose. They can just assume something was awful and vote accordingly, a big difference from the Academy, where voters are assumed to have watched the nominees.

There is also a belief that the Razzies do not go deep enough to dig out the worst movies from the previous year. They attack the low-hanging fruit like John Travolta’s massive bomb Battlefield Earth or a lousy biopic like Blonde. The Razzies tend to stay away from low-budget indie films with awful acting or bad directing.

The Razzies also missed out on a cult classic like The Room (2003), a movie that was so bad it’s good, which would be perfect for highlighting with an award like the Razzie.

We mentioned earlier the rescinded Bruce Willis category in 2021 after his unfortunate medical diagnosis. But the Razzies also had to walk back their nomination of Shelley Duvall in the 1980 film The Shining due to the way director Stanley Kubrick allegedly terrorized her during filming.

Finally, the Razzies recently came under fire for its treatment of child actors. Some believe past nominations of young actors hurt their careers going forward, including Gary Coleman, Macaulay Culkin, and Jake Lloyd (little Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace).

Making a Change

Things came to a head in 2023 when the Razzies nominated actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong for the 12-year-old’s role in Firestarter. At the 43rd Razzies ceremony, the winner for Worst Actress went to the Razzies itself to acknowledge the blunder of nominating a 12-year-old for this category. The Razzies then announced that they would no longer nominate people under 18 years old.

That’s fine, because there are always plenty of bad performances by adults to choose from each year. Favorites for the 44th Razzies to honor the worst films in 2023 include Jennifer Aniston (Murder Mystery 2), Jonah Hill (You People), Tommy Wiseau’s Big Shark, and the leads in the Apple TV+ dud Ghosted with Chris Evans and Ana de Armas.

May the worst win.

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Scott Kacsmar
NFL football picks are Scott Kacsmar's expertise, serving as his main focus. He has contributed to various sports websites and blogs, such as NBC Sports, ESPN Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, JoeWager. Originating from Pittsburgh, Scott maintains a love-hate connection with the Pirates.

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