What are the Razzie Awards?

Jessica Ellis

The Razzie Awards, also known as the Golden Raspberry Awards, are an ironic “honor” given annually to the worst films and actors of the year. Created in 1980, the awards chosen by voting members of the public who join the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation (GRAF). The Razzie Awards were created as a contrast to the Academy Awards, and recipients are typically announced the day before the Academy Awards show.

When Hollywood produces a clunker movie, Razzie Awards are often handed out.
When Hollywood produces a clunker movie, Razzie Awards are often handed out.

Created by publicist John Wilson, the Razzie Awards are a gentle mockery of the better known Academy Awards. Categories include Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and a variety of awards for Worst Acting. Special categories are often included to bring attention to particularly atrocious films of the year, including the 1997 award for Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property, won by Con Air.

Razzie Awards are given to movies that are generally a flop at theaters.
Razzie Awards are given to movies that are generally a flop at theaters.

Razzie Awards are typically ignored by their recipients, though on a few memorable occasions the “winners” have graciously accepted their awards. In 1995, director Paul Verhoeven accepted trophies for Worst Picture and Worst Directors for his work on Showgirls, becoming the first winner to attend the award ceremony. Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry also graced the Razzie stage in 2004, cheerfully taking her Worst Actress award for Catwoman while parodying her own Academy Award acceptance speech from 2002.

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Some films and actors have suffered the mocking of the Razzie Awards repeatedly, racking up numerous nominations and awards. As of 2008, Sylvester Stallone leads the list of Razzie-nominated actors, receiving 29 separate nominations and 10 “wins.” Gigli, starring Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, is the only film to win all five top categories in a single year. The 2003 film was given Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Actor, Worst Actress, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay. Some nominees have been concurrent Oscar nominees as well; in 1994, actress Uma Thurman was simultaneously nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Pulp Fiction and a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

Some critics feel that the Razzie Awards are a mean-spirited tradition that mocks the hard work of hundreds in the film industry. While there are always going to be bad films, some feel that giving awards for the worst unnecessarily singles out some movies for additional ridicule. Others suggest that the Razzies are a subtle rebuke to the Hollywood film industry, in the hopes that better-quality films will be produced instead of those that merely seek box-office dollars. Either way, the popularity of the Razzie Awards continues to rise as the ceremony approaches its 30th year, and looks to continue as long as Hollywood keeps producing the occasional terrible film.

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Discussion Comments


I am a real film buff, and I look forward to the Golden Raspberry awards every year. I usually agree with most of the Razzie awards nominees, but not always the Razzie winners. Sometimes I think the "winner" should be someone who didn't bother trying to turn in a good performance. Elizabeth Berkley's non-performance in "Showgirls" is a prime example. She truly deserved the Razzie award for worst actress that year. Halle Berry did a decent job in an otherwise forgettable movie, so I wouldn't have given her the Golden Razzie that year.


Considering how many awards are given out every year during "award season", it wouldn't surprise me if some actors and directors actually look forward to the Razzie awards. It's a safe blow to their egos if they get acknowledged for being in a terrible movie once in a while. I remember one year an actress won an Oscar or Golden Globe award for one movie and won the Razzie for another.

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