In the midst of the Hollywood awards season, the Razzies offer welcome relief from self-seriousness of all the people handing out statuettes of one sort or another.
Golden opportunity at the Raspberry nominations
The announcement of the Oscar nominations on Tuesday means that even the dimmest among us will now be aware that we are knee-deep in awards season. Red carpets have been vacuumed and rolled out, trophies are being polished so that they sparkle brighter than the sun and the obligatory best- and worst-dressed lists are in fine fettle. Don't yawn. There is succour for those tiring of the endless parade of congratulation. Rescue arrived earlier this week in the shape of the Razzies nominations.
Officially called the Golden Raspberry Awards, the Razzies are a batch of "honours" doled out for the worst films of the year. Started in 1980 by the American publicist John Wilson, the Razzies traditionally are given out the night before the Academy Awards ceremony. "We finally figured out you couldn't compete with the Oscars on Oscar night, but if you went the night before, when the press from all over the world are here and they are looking for something to do, it could well catch on," Wilson told the BBC three years ago.
The Razzies panel is made up of paying members, who cough up anything from $25 (Dh92) for annual voting rights to $500 (Dh1,800) for lifetime membership. For one night of the year, they cheer and celebrate poor talent, which is quite an admission for the self-congratulatory air of Hollywood. And this year, we're really in luck because not only does it mark the ceremony's 30th anniversary, but it's also 2010 and organisers have added three categories to honour the very best excrescence of the past decade.
Worst Picture of the Decade, along with Worst Actor and Worst Actress of the Decade, will be awarded along with all the usual categories when the ceremony takes place on March 6. Contenders for Worst Picture of the Decade include Guy Ritchie's flop, Swept Away, which starred Madonna; Ben Affleck and Mike Myers were nominated for Worst Actor, and Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were nominated for Worst Actress.
From last year's work, the two films vying for the most raspberry trophies are the summer blockbuster Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and the screwball dinosaur comedy Land of the Lost. They have chalked up seven nominations each, and have jointly been included in the Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel and Worst Screen Couple categories. In the latter, Shia LaBeouf is to be particularly applauded for winning the nomination based not only on his screen presence (or lack of it) with his co-star, Megan Fox, but also for his pairing with "any Transformer".
Close behind them comes the second Twilight instalment, New Moon, with four nominations. Kristen Stewart, much like LaBeouf, has earned a nomination for Worst Screen Couple for her performance alongside both Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. Other names given the thumbs-down this year include the trio of Jonas brothers, who have fallen victim to the Worst Actor category for their roles in Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. Sarah Jessica Parker makes an appearance for her jaw-grindingly irritating performance in Did You Hear About The Morgans? Beyoncé is included in the Worst Actress category for her role in the Fatal Attraction copycat, Obsessed, and Sienna Miller gets a Worst Supporting Actress nod for her role as the baddy in GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, is the only figure to make the cut for appearing as himself, in the comedy Miss March. It's worth pointing out that Razzie nominators seem to take a loftier view of several films than the paying public. Transformers grossed more than $800 million (Dh2.9 trillion) worldwide and New Moon took more than $700m. Sandra Bullock is also up for the Worst Actress Razzie for her turn in All About Steve, despite having recently been declared 2009's most bankable actress, taking home a Golden Globe last month, and receiving a Best Actress Oscar nomination for The Blind Side.
Does it equate to film snobbery or is it just the chance to poke a bit of fun at the industry? Let's hope at least a few of those nominated prove their sense of humour by showing up next month.