The Golden Raspberry Awards (the Razzies for short) were created as the anti-thesis to the Academy Awards. Instead of praising the fine work of the Hollywood elite on a yearly basis, the Razzies acknowledge the box office bombs and misfires throughout the year.
The Razzie is generally given out in good humor and doesn’t follow rules in the same way as the Oscars. For starters, a Worst Actor or Actress category can include an actor for their work in several films from the year instead of just one specifically. In fact, since the Razzies are more about humor over actual criticism, individuals from documentaries and theatrically released live concerts have taken Worst Actor awards.
Over the years, the Razzies targeted a mix of B-movies and major Hollywood releases, but recently the focus seems almost specifically on major Hollywood fare. In fact, some films have been nominated for both Razzies and Academy Awards.
Let’s take a look at the last decade of big name actors to win the not-so-prestigious Razzie award for Worst Actor.
10. 2003: Ben Affleck – Daredevil, Gigli, and Paycheck
2003 was the year that really did Affleck in. He himself sites the year as one of the worst in his professional life.
Daredevil and Paycheck were indeed bad movies, but in all fairness this wasn’t really due to Ben Affleck’s acting ability. Unfortunately, the Razzie is often times determined by the badness of the film. The award is generally given out of humor and not as a serious attempt to demean an actor.
Gigli was bad on all fronts, up to and including Affleck’s performance. It would take several years and Affleck consistently producing Oscar-worthy material as both an actor and director before he was back in the good graces of Hollywood.
9. 2004: George W. Bush – Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 was a very serious documentary from filmmaker Michael Moore about the Bush Administration using the 9/11 terrorist attacks on The World Trade Center to advance unjust wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The documentary was entirely focused on Michael Moore’s own thoughts on the matter, but the officials for the Razzies must have agreed with him. It can be assumed George W. Bush was added to the list for attempting to lie (acting!) about the motives for going into the two countries.
Since the Razzies are more about humor than an honest attempt to critique, nominations and wins like this have been known to get through.
8. 2005: Rob Schneider – Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Deuce Bigalow may have been fun for some, but a second just wasn’t necessary. It fell victim to a lot of common “here we go again” sequel tropes without the tongue-in-cheek self mockery used by many comedy sequels.
Surprisingly enough, this was the first year Schneider was even nominated for a Razzie. One has to wonder how Schneider’s films The Animal and The Hot Chick failed to earn the Saturday Night Live alumni Razzie nominations.
Schneider would be nominated again in 2006 for the film LiTTLEMAN among others, but would lose the award to…
7. 2006: Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans – LiTTLE MAN
Marlon Wayans plays a short criminal named Calvin that dresses up like a baby to recover a stolen diamond he had stashed in a woman’s purse while evading the police. This was definitely taking the idea of using make-up and special effects to make an actor look different (see: White Chicks, Big Momma’s House, The Nutty Professor) way too far.
The strangest thing about the whole film is it’s almost impossible to get over the fact that anyone thinks Calvin is actually a baby. While special effects did a good job of making Marlon Wayans look short, he still has the head of a full grown man. LiTTLE MAN is far creepier than it ever is funny.
One can assume both Wayans brothers were given the award because it takes a group effort to make a film this bad.
6. 2007: Eddie Murphy – Norbit
Norbit was one of those films that only the critics seemed to hate. The film made money and was even nominated for an Academy Award for make-up as they transformed Eddie Murphy into a very large woman for the film, much like his previous Nutty Professor films.
Maybe the critics and the Razzie’s voters felt Murphy had been riding the wave of playing obese characters in fat-suits for longer than he or anyone else deserved. Perhaps the whole idea in general of Murphy using make-up to play multiple characters in his films had just worn off entirely.
5. 2008: Mike Myers – The Love Guru
Mike Myers‘ time at the top came and went faster than you could say “Shagadellic, baby!”
Myer’s saw a steady resurgence in popularity following his years on Saturday Night Live. The first two Austin Powers films were cultural phenomenon and you’d have to have lived in the darkest cave in the darkest forest of Far Far Away to not be familiar with the Shrek films.
After a series of duds with Austin Powers 3, The Cat in the Hat, and The Love Guru, Meyers was due for a Razzie. The Love Guru was such a failure, Meyers hasn’t been in a lead role besides Shrek since. Even his inclusion in the announced Austin Powers 4 is only “rumored” at this point.
4. 2009: The Jonas Brothers – Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
Considering the Razzies are a more tongue-in-cheek awards show, often times a participant in a documentary can win a Worst Actor award.
The Jonas Brothers getting a Worst Actor win for the theatrically released documentary/live concert was more than likely commentary on a perceived “fakeness” of the Jonas Brothers’ image.
3. 2010: Ashton Kutcher – Valentine’s Day and Killers
There are two words that describe films like Valentine’s Day and Killers: deep hurting. Neither film is terribly original. Valentine’s Day and it’s follow up New Year’s Eve, are both American films done in the vein of a rather good movie called Love Actually.
Killers follows in the footsteps of films like The Whole Nine Yards. It’s a romantic comedy that adds a few guns in hopes of attracting a broader audience.
As for Kutcher, he very rarely makes films that would be considered Oscar material. When’s the last time a cookie-cutter romantic comedy won Best Picture? It was only a matter of time before he was in a movie that was so bad he earned a Razzie.
2. 2011 and 2012: Adam Sandler – That’s My Boy, Just Go With It, and Jack and Jill
Adam Sandler has hit that point in his career where he has enough long-time fans that people go and see his movies anyway. It could easily be argued that Sandler hasn’t made a good film in a decade or more. Regardless of the critical reception and the feelings of fans after they’ve already ponied up the cash for a ticket, the man’s movies make money. You’d think fans would have learned at this point.
That’s My Boy and Just Go with It weren’t terrible films. Well, they aren’t the usual Razzie trash. That being said, Jack and Jill deserves every criticism it’s been given. The film has won twelves awards, all but two of them were for exceptional badness.
1. 2013: Jaden Smith- After Earth
When Jaden Smith first starred alongside his father Will Smith in the film The Pursuit of Happyness, many found the pairing to be quite endearing, especially considering the subject matter of the film; a father and son struggling to survive on the streets as the father goes through a life changing professional move.
Afterwards, Jaden’s parents would be producers on the Karate Kid, a starring vehicle for Jaden, and it began to look like the Smiths were manufacturing careers for their children (for daughter Willow it would be a music career) that they hadn’t actually earned.
By the time After Earth came around, a $130 million science-fiction blockbuster starring Jaden alongside Will, the movie-going public was hip to the gimmick. The film was a critical and box office failure.