The Golden Raspberry Awards, known to most as The Razzies, take the Oscars approach and flips it on its head. Rather than recognizing the best and brightest in cinema over the prior calendar year, The Razzies recognizes the worst and darkest.
While The Razzies often get it right, nominating films like 2022's stoner “comedy” Good Mourning and its 0% Rotten Tomatoes rating, other Razzie nominations are far more controversial. That is, sometimes The Razzies nominates films and performances that are widely respected or even beloved.
Here are 18 times that The Razzies got it wrong or at least failed to hit the nail on the head.
1. The Shining (1980)
Few films have held up quite as well as The Shining, with a chilling lead performance from Jack Nicholson, utterly unique direction from Stanley Kubrick, and strong source material from Stephen King combining to deliver one of the most indelible horror films of all-time. Nevertheless, lead actress Shelly Duvall received a Razzie nomination (though it's since been retracted by The Golden Raspberry Foundation).
2. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
Not liking Ace Ventura: Pet Detective as a film is one thing. But taking direct aim at Jim Carrey, who the Razzies nominated for Worst New Star in 1995, seems like a real head-scratcher. While Carrey had shot to stardom thanks to Dumb and Dumber and The Mask by the time he received the Razzie nomination in 1995, it was his turn as Ace Ventura that seems to have put him on the Golden Raspberry Awards' radar.
3. The Thing (1982)
1983 was not the strongest year for The Razzies. It was a tough enough look that the Golden Raspberry Foundation would include The Thing, John Carpenter's innovative and legendary horror film, at all. The fact that equally legendary composer Ennio Morricone was the subject of the Worst Musical Score nomination is even more egregious.
4. Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Arnold Schwarzenegger has never been a serious contender for a Best Actor Oscar, he was a massive box-office draw throughout most of his acting career. Therefore, his nomination in 1983 for his role in Conan the Barbarian seems undeserved, especially considering that the fantastical film also starred James Earl Jones, has decent reviews, and was never meant to be taken all that seriously.
5. Batman Returns (1992)
Compared with The Dark Knight trilogy or even 2022′ The Batman, Tim Burton's take on Batman still seems…strange. Yet, the bizzaro nature of Burton's Batman Returns, including Danny DeVito's turn as Penguin, has garnered plenty of camp appeal over the decades since its 1992 release. For that reason, DeVito's nomination for the Worst Supporting Actor Razzie seems like an error.
6. Scarface (1983)
Brian De Palma's Scarface has stellar critical ratings, with Al Pacino turning in an epic performance as Cuban gangster Tony Montana. When it was released, though, many critics saw Scarface as a tasteless gore-fest that, some said, exploited the drug-fueled violence causing mayhem in South Florida during the 1980s. Which explains De Palma's nomination for the Worst Director Razzie.
7. The Godfather: Part III (1990)
Did The Godfather: Part III fall well short of the lofty expectations set by its predecessors? Absolutely, though some maintain that the third Godfather catches far too much heat. Was The Godfather: Part III bad enough, in any facet, to be mentioned among Razzie Award nominees? That seems excessive.
Yet, Sophia Coppola received a Worst New Star of the Decade at the 2000 Razzie Awards for, in part, her performance in GF3.
8. Friday the 13th (1980)
1981 was the inaugural year for The Razzies, and any first-timer is bound to have missteps. One notable misstep was nominating Friday the 13th in the Worst Picture category. While the slasher flick is by no means a cinematic masterpiece, it has surpassed its cult status designation to become a respected horror film with several successful sequels and spin-offs.
9. Mother! (2017)
Director Darren Aronofsky has a knack for directing polarizing films, including movies that leave viewers feeling a bit queasy. 2017's Mother! was no exception in its ability to divide viewers, but few would call the film unequivocally bad. For that reason, Jennifer Lawrence's 2018 Razzie nomination for Worst Actress came as a surprise to many.
10. Newsies (1992)
Musicals are often low-hanging fruit for critics. In rare cases (The Sound of Music, for example), critics adore a musical. In other cases, like 1992′ Newsies, it takes time for critics to set aside their biases and judge a musical objectively. Therefore, the nomination of Newsies for the 1993 Worst Picture Razzie makes sense, but reviews indicate that the film didn't deserve the hate.
11. Purple Rain (1984)
Purple Rain is yet another Razzie-nominated film that wasn't threatening to win Best Picture, but has a more than respectable claim to being a decent film. Lovers of Prince might take great offense at the audacity of the 1985 Razzie selection committee, which decided to nominate Purple Rain for Worst Original song. Love or hate “Sex Shooter”, Prince deserves better.
12. Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky Balboa. Ivan Drago. Apollo Creed. What, exactly, about Rocky IV compelled the Golden Raspberry Foundation to nominate Sylvester Stallone for Worst Director?
This is one of those questions for which we may never have an answer. Truly inexplicable.
13. Hillbilly Elegy (2020)
When you think “Razzie”, you're typically expecting a Rotten Tomatoes score below 20% or a sub-5 IMDb rating (at the very best). Therefore, Ron Howard's Hillbilly Elegy simply doesn't qualify. And with a cast including Glenn Close and Amy Adams, this movie stands out like a sore thumb among its Razzie-nominated counterparts.
14. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
As a film that started a sub-genre of its own, The Blair Witch Project was never going to be a cinematic masterpiece. And while the handheld footage directorial style was not necessarily popular among critics, did it really warrant a Worst Picture nomination at the 2000 Razzie Awards? Its IMDb rating would suggest not.
15. Big Daddy (1999)
Adam Sandler‘s brand of comedy has never been the critics' cup of tea. Some might even call it juvenile. However, Sandler's 1999 hit Big Daddy had plenty of charm, a solid comedic cast, and a generally good-natured vibe. The nomination for Worst Picture at the 2000 Razzies (alongside The Blair Witch Project) feels like an anti-Lifetime Achievement Award for the Sand Man.
16. Joker (2019)
OK, this one actually gets a pass. The Razzies poked fun at itself by nominating 2019's smash hit Joker in the category of “Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property.” Still, a film the caliber of Joker has no business being associated with The Razzies, joke(r) or not.
17. Anchorman (2004)
Ben Stiller's nomination for Worst Actor for his part in Anchorman makes you wonder whether The Golden Raspberry Foundation understood that Anchorman was a borderline slapstick comedy. Elite acting was not exactly part of the Anchorman formula, which is part of the reason it has remained in the pantheon of beloved 2000s comedies.
18. Batman Begins (2005)
Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins kicked off one of the most critically acclaimed trilogies in cinematic history. While Katie Holmes did not exactly steal the show as Rachel Dawson, it's hard to wrap one's head around her nomination for Worst Supporting Actress at the 2006 Razzie Awards.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.