The Worst of the Best of the Worst: 5 Times the Razzies Were Dead Wrong

Hindsight’s a bitch.

Suicide Squad-Harley

Hindsight’s a bitch.

What better way to ease into awards season than the shortlist for the 37th Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Awards – a celebration of the best of the worst Hollywood has to offer.

Surprising no one, widely-recognized duds Zoolander 2 and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice lead the nominations, joined by fellow turkeys Gods of Egypt, Collateral Beauty, and Assassin’s Creed, among others.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that taking the Razzies too seriously runs counter to their irreverent spirit. Both Bruce the Shark of Jaws infamy and ex-president George W. Bush are past Razzie recipients. “Blowing a raspberry,” is in itself a derisive and amusing gesture, and if you’ll excuse the mixed fruit metaphor, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

That being said, this year’s shortlist has a couple eyebrow raisers. Both Aubrey Plaza and Octavia Spencer’s nominations for best supporting actress seem unnecessary. The problems with these films had little to do with either’s performance. I assume the joke is that they’re respectable actresses tangentially related to awful movies, and that this is funny.

The most surprising, and arguably objectionable, nomination on the shortlist is that of Margot Robbie, who’s up for Worst Actress for Suicide Squad and Legend of Tarzan. Unlike Plaza and Spencer, Robbie is, by most accounts, a stand out in both of her cited films. Regarding her performance in Suicide Squad, The New Yorker, praised her as the film’s saving grace; according to The Guardian she was “the most memorable, by no small margin”; and The Atlantic went so far as to hail her as “genuinely terrific.” Likewise, her turn as Jane was deemed utterly charming, and even progressive. All to say, in light of this positive reception, her inclusion on the Razzie shortlist is confusing; if there’s a joke, it hasn’t landed.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Razzies have goofed (as much as something like the Razzies can *cough*). Truly, like any awards body, the Razzies’ history is peppered with nominees and winners that don’t feel quite right in retrospect. Here are some of the more embarrassing examples, in chronological order:

The Shining — Worst Director (nominated)

Pictured: nope nope nope nope

When: The First Golden Raspberry Awards (1981)

Why?!: You read that right: Stanley Kubrick for worst director. Stephen King fans might have been pissed that the film deviated substantially from the source materialKing certainly was.

Heaven’s Gate – Worst Picture, Actor, Screenplay, Musical Score (nominated); Worst Director (won)

Analog for what it feels like to watch Heaven’s Gate

When: 2nd Golden Raspberry Awards (1982)

Why!?: Heaven’s Gate is up there with Hollywood’s most notorious flops; the film bankrupted United Artists, went super over budget, and has an astounding 219 minute runtime (!!!). The director’s cut has since received a renaissance, and a release and restoration with the Criterion Collection. The film remains divisive, but is now considered a cinematic achievement.

The Thing – Worst Musical Score (nominated)

Kurt Russell’s beard for Best Supporting Actor, amiright?

When: The Third Golden Raspberry Awards (1983)

Why!?: I think about Ennio Morricone’s Thing score at least three times a week (is that creepy? shut up). This nomination makes sense insofar as The Thing did poorly at the box office and was initially eviscerated (ironically enough) by critics. However, I have NO FLIPPIN’ IDEA why Morricone’s phenomenal score was nominated for a Razzie, for comedy’s sake, or otherwise. Listen for yourselves: it’s creeping dread, crawling flesh, and paranoia all at once and I love it. Also while we’re here, Dave Tompkins’ piece is related (and highly recommended) reading.

Newsies – Worst Picture, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Director (nominated); Worst Original Song (won)

Oh hi baby Christian Bale

When: The 13th Golden Raspberry Awards (1993)

Why!?: Originally considered one of Disney’s biggest flops, and as such a worthy Razzies pick, Newsies has since been adapted as a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Which is funny in retrospect considering the film’s Razzie win was for its music.

The Blair Witch Project – Worst Picture (nominated); Actress (won)

Pictured: more nope nope nope nope

When: The 20th Golden Raspberry Awards (2000)

Why?!: I honestly have no idea. The film was a box office success, defining the found footage genre (for better or for worse) and producing some of the most recognizable visuals of 1999. Hell, one of the most memorable moments is Heather Donahue’s unnervingly frenetic direct-to-camera speech, up-the-nose shot and all. Why she was nominated let alone won is a mystery to me.

Honourable mention: Yentl, for Worst Actor, Supporting Actress (for which it was nominated for an Oscar), and Musical Score (for which it won an Oscar).

For your reading pleasure, the shortlist for the 37th Razzie Awards:

WORST PICTURE
Assassin’s Creed
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Collateral Beauty
The Darkness
Dirty Grandpa
The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Fifty Shades of Black
Gods of Egypt
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Independence Day: Resurgence
London Has Fallen
Mother’s Day
Suicide Squad
Zoolander 2

WORST DIRECTOR
Dinesh D’Souza – Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Roland Emmerich – Independence Day: Resurgence
Justin Kurzel – Assassin’s Creed
Dan Mazer – Dirty Grandpa
Greg McLean – The Darkness
Babak Najafi – London Has Fallen
Tyler Perry – Boo! A Madea Halloween
Alex Proyas – Gods of Egypt
Zack Snyder – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Ben Stiller – Zoolander 2
Michael Tiddes – Fifty Shades of Black

WORST ACTRESS
Jennifer Aniston – Mother’s Day / Office Christmas Party
Marion Cotillard – Allied / Assassin’s Creed
Megan Fox – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Radha Mitchell – The Darkness
Tyler Perry (as Madea) – Boo! A Madea Halloween
Margot Robbie – The Legend of Tarzan / Suicide Squad
Julia Roberts – Mother’s Day
Becky Turner (as Hillary Clinton) – Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Naomi Watts – The Divergent Series: Allegiant / Shut In
Shailene Woodley – The Divergent Series: Allegiant

WORST ACTOR
Ben Affleck – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Kevin Bacon – The Darkness
Gerard Butler – Gods of Egypt / London Has Fallen
Henry Cavill – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Dinesh D’Souza (as himself) – Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Robert De Niro – Dirty Grandpa
Zac Efron – Dirty Grandpa / Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Liam Hemsworth – Independence Day: Resurgence
Brad Pitt – Allied
Will Smith – Collateral Beauty / Suicide Squad
Ben Stiller – Zoolander 2
Marlon Wayans – Fifty Shades of Black

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cassi Davis – Boo! A Madea Halloween
Julianne Hough – Dirty Grandpa
Kate Hudson – Mother’s Day
Keira Knightley – Collateral Beauty
Helen Mirren – Collateral Beauty
Aubrey Plaza – Dirty Grandpa
Jane Seymour – Fifty Shades of Black
Octavia Spencer – The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Sela Ward – Independence Day: Resurgence
Kristen Wiig – Masterminds / Zoolander 2
Kate Winslet – Collateral Beauty

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nicolas Cage – Snowden
Benedict Cumberbatch – Zoolander 2
Johnny Depp – Alice Through the Looking Glass
Jesse Eisenberg – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Will Ferrell – Zoolander 2
Jeff Goldblum – Independence Day: Resurgence
Jeremy Irons – Assassin’s Creed / Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Jared Leto – Suicide Squad
T.J. Miller – Office Christmas Party
Geoffrey Rush – Gods of Egypt
Brenton Thwaites – Gods of Egypt
Owen Wilson – Masterminds / Zoolander 2

WORST SCREENPLAY
Assassin’s Creed
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Dirty Grandpa
The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Fifty Shades of Black
Ghostbusters
Gods of Egypt
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Independence Day: Resurgence
Mother’s Day
Suicide Squad
Zoolander 2

WORST PREQUEL, REMAKE, RIPOFF OR SEQUEL
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Blair Witch
The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Fifty Shades of Black (rip-off of Fifty Shades of Grey)
Independence Day: Resurgence
The Legend of Tarzan
London Has Fallen
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
Ride Along 2
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Zoolander 2

Burgeoning wine mom and talented napper. Secretly just three toddlers in a trenchcoat.