Gasp! Say it ain’t so! Could a distinguished cinematic body as proud as the Golden Raspberries be compromised? It seems so. The Golden Raspberry Awards have been handed out every year since 1981 to recognize the worst movies and actors of the year. The nominees are always announced the day before the Academy Awards announces theirs, and the prizes are also handed out just prior to the Oscar ceremony. Anyone can join the Golden Raspberry voting committee as long as they pay annual dues of between $25-$40. It’s a fairly small grassroots effort, but one that receives national coverage every year, and has even attracted some big name “winners” who have attended the ceremony in person– Halle Berry (‘Catwoman’), Sandra Bullock (‘All About Steve’), Tom Green (‘Freddy Got Fingered’), J. David Shapiro (‘Battlefield Earth’, which won Worst Picture of the Decade), and Paul Verhoeven (‘Showgirls’).
But one Razzie voter is accusing the awards of being rigged and forwarded a PDF file to the Hollywood Reporter, which seems to prove that this year’s announced nominees were not actually those that got the most votes from these paying voters. (If you read my original write-up of the nominations, I noted at the time that this listing seemed off from those in years past.)
The Golden Raspberries nominate five entries in each category, but according to this source, the announced nominees were not the top five vote-getters.
“The guy who runs the Razzies left the ballot results open after the voting ended. Clearly [co-founder] John Wilson just picks whatever he wants. Razzie voters are paying members who expect some sort of integrity in the voting process.”
On the voters’ forum, another voter expressed:
“The nominations are fixed by a biased creep with a bitter political agenda who has no shame in stealing $25-40 from voters.”
‘Fifty Shades Freed’ was not nominated for Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel, but according to this PDF, it received the most votes. (I also noted its absence, considering that the Razzies have had it in for the ‘Fifty Shades’ franchise from the start.) Its star, Jamie Dornan was also not nominated for Worst Actor, even though he received enough votes.
But ‘The Meg’, which the Razzies consider a Rip-Off of ‘Jaws’, only got enough votes to land at 11th place in the Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel category, was one of the top five nominees.
Kevin Spacey also received enough votes to land in the top five for Worst Actor for ‘The Billionaire Boys Club’, his first role after coming under fire for sexual abuse. But Spacey and Dornan’s spots on the final ballot were taken by Bruce Willis (‘Death Wish’) and Johnny Depp (‘Sherlock Gnomes’), who technically didn’t get enough votes.
When THR reached out to Wilson for a response, he chalked the negative chatter up to a “bad apple.” He also chalked up any issues with voting to a “technical difficulty,” saying:
“We did have technical difficulties about a day or two into the voting, when a safety certificate expired that prevented us from accessing the results. It was resolved at the last moment. We were able to get a final tally that does not agree with what this person was posting. He was very disgruntled and wants to cause us trouble. If that’s his agenda, he is living it out very clearly.”
According to Wilson, once the issues were resolved, certain nominees experienced a sudden last-minute surge in the rankings. However, he did admit that he exercises some control over the final listings. “I have influence because some years, like this year, we had 20 possible suggested contenders for supporting actors. Yes, I whittle that list down. But we are satisfied with the results we got and the resolution of this issue.”
Generally speaking, the Razzies don’t so much “reward” the true worst in film, but rather the easiest and most high-profile targets. For example, Donald and Melania Trump and Kellyanne Conway are nominated in the acting categories for appearing in two documentaries.
The Razzies carry no weight and are mostly done just for fun, but if a person pays to be able to vote, it’s understandable that they want their voices heard and considered and that this list isn’t just crafted by one person or a small group.
How do you feel about the Razzies possibly being rigged?