History of The Razzies: The Awards for the Worst Films & Actors

In this photo illustration the Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzie Awards) logo is seen displayed on a smartphone
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In the age of the Golden Globes, Emmys, and Oscars, there is one award show that aims to bring Hollywood down a peg. The Golden Raspberry Awards, mostly known as the Razzies, is a parody award show that showcases the worst movies and performances of the year. It was founded by film industry veterans John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy and named after the act of blowing a raspberry at someone. Started in 1981, the first awards ceremony was actually held in Wilson’s living room alcove in Hollywood.

Winners, or really losers in this case, receive a statue with a raspberry on top, with an estimated value of under $5. Wilson famously said about Hollywood and the Razzies’ mission, “It’s our reminder that yes, you made movies like Doubt, Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire, but you also made things like Love Guru and Meet Dave and Indiana Jones 4.” The categories mirror other award shows in a way with nominees for Worst Picture, Worst Actor, and Worst Actress.

A general view of the atmosphere at the 32nd Annual RAZZIE Awards Winners Announcement on April 1, 2012 in Santa Monica, California

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Where did the UCLA graduates get the idea for the Razzies and how is it still going strong? Wilson said they were trying to host an Oscars party but being in a different time zone made things a bit harder to plan. He explained, “The Oscars come on at five and are over some time around nine, and when you have that many people over, you have to have something to do, so I set up a cardboard podium and invited people to offer up nominees for the worst film of the year.”

Presenter John Wilson announces the winner for "Worst Picture", "Basic Instict 2" announced as "Basically it Stinks Too" during the Razzie Awards in Hollywood, CA, 24 February 2007. The "Razzie" a gold-spray-painted, golf-ball-size raspberry atop of a mangled super 8 film reel trophy, with an estimated street value of 4.97 dollars, awards the worst movie and actors Hollywood produced during the year. The 2007 winners included, Sharon Stone for Worst Actress, "Lady in the Water" for Worst Picture and its director Night Shyamalan as Worst Director

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When they decided to continue the award ceremony the next year, it started receiving some mentions in the press, especially when they moved the official ceremony to the night before the Oscars. While some celebrities have trashed the Razzies and fear their name or film will come up, others decide to get in on the joke. For instance, in 1995, Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven appeared in person to accept the award for Worst Picture and had a good time with it all. These days, the Razzies are just about as official as any other award show, with 700 voters (think industry insiders and journalists) deciding the awards each year.

Unfortunately for fans of the Razzies, they probably won’t ever be broadcast with a primetime show. Wilson said, “There are some people in Hollywood who get the joke, but most just seem to hate it, and wish we would go away — which of course makes all this that much funnier. For these movies to fail at this level, with these sorts of budgets and promotional efforts and this much talent involved. You look at a movie like Indiana Jones 4 and it’s such a spectacular train wreck that it really does deserve recognition at some level.”

This year, films The Exorcist: Believer, Expend4bles, Meg 2: The Trench, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey are up for Worst Picture. Get the full list of nominees and information on how to watch the Razzies on its website. Which movie do you think will be awarded the worst of the year? Follow them on the YouTube channel to find out!

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