Wilson doesn’t accept these criticisms. The Razzies, he says, are simply reflecting the average cinema-goer’s view of Hollywood’s latest offerings. Anyone who pays a small fee can vote, so there are now 1100 Razzie members who are being honest about what they loathe. “It’s not supposed to be mean, it’s supposed to be in the spirit of fun, but it expresses a real opinion. People really didn’t like those films. And I would argue that we have been pretty accurate. Our members are pretty good at picking films that did deserve to win.”
What about piling on actors who have delivered solid performances in regrettable projects? Wilson counters that this isn’t about the acting per se, but about collective responsibility. “The actors all have a choice and I assume they all read the script before they said yes, so they have to take some of the blame. And if they were offended by what was going on around them on set, why didn’t they say something to the director? What we’re really saying is, ‘You’ve shown us you can do better stuff, so why are you in Cats? Why are you in Battlefield Earth?'”
Their detractors may not be convinced, but the Razzies never claim to be anything they aren’t. For all the press coverage they get, and all the influence they have, they are still cheap and cheerful party entertainment, run by the people who founded them, and staged with the trashy thrift-store aesthetic of an early John Waters film. Instead of signing up with corporate sponsors or bringing in famous comedians as guest hosts, Wilson and Murphy have stubbornly kept on doing their own thing for four decades – and, in Hollywood, that’s worthy of an award itself. “Years and years ago,” says Wilson, “a company that puts on one of the very big awards ceremonies came to us and asked if they could be involved. We talked to them, and the first thing they said was, ‘Do you have to use the word “worst”?’ We knew it wasn’t going to work out.”
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