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Monday, August 05, 2013

The Golden Raspberry Awards

This Monday Matinee feature is going to be quite different from all of the others because for the first time ever in the history of this blog, we're not going to be featuring a movie!

I know what you're thinking.  WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?  The Monday Matinee has been a weekly feature since May 2011!  In this blog, we have featured at least one hundred and twenty movies on this particular blog from all different genres, time periods, and subjects.  We've featured movies that people stood in line for hours to see, while others were movies that people had forgotten all about.

However, I do have some sort of consolation prize for all of you reading this blog entry.  Although we are not talking about a movie specifically for this entry...we are talking about an event that is associated with the subject of movies.  And, I'm not talking about the Oscars either!

For this edition of the Monday Matinee, we're going back a little over thirty-two years in the past, to March 31, 1981.

That was the day that the 53rd Academy Awards aired on television.  It was supposed to have aired the day before, on March 30, 1981, however due to the attempted assassination on then American president Ronald Reagan that day, the ceremony was postponed to the thirty-first.

Now, just as a little bit of a recap for that particular awards ceremony, here were the big winners of the night.

BEST PICTURE - Ordinary People
BEST DIRECTOR - Robert Redford, Ordinary People
BEST ACTOR - Robert De Niro, Raging Bull
BEST ACTRESS - Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner's Daughter
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Mary Steenburgen, Melvin & Howard

So, as you can see, "Ordinary People" was certainly the film to beat.  But how ironic it was that on the same night that the Academy Awards for 1980-1981 were broadcast that a group of ordinary people would host an awards ceremony of their own that night.  And that this awards ceremony would end up being a cult phenomenon that some people actually looked forward to more than the Academy Awards themselves.

There was just one catch.  Nobody wanted to win the award, for it celebrated mediocrity, disappointment, and just plain cheesiness in the world of motion pictures.

And to think that these awards were founded by a man named John "J.B." Wilson thirty-two years ago.

I'm talking about the Golden Raspberry Awards - affectionately known as the Razzie.

Now, for the inaugural ceremony of the Golden Raspberry Award, you'd probably think that it was held in a small, but decent venue.  Perhaps maybe a convention hall, or a hotel lobby, or maybe even a high school gymnasium.

Would you believe that it was held inside of Wilson's living room?

Since Wilson worked in Los Angeles as a copywriter and publicist in the early 1980's, he was certainly considered to be a part of the Hollywood social scene.  And prior to 1981, he was known to have frequently hosted Oscar parties, in which his guests brought a dish while they dished about the Academy Awards - you know, things such as who won, who lost, who was dressed to the nines, and who looked like something the cat dragged in.  Things like that.

Anyway, when the 53rd annual Academy Awards aired, Wilson decided to do an impromptu awards ceremony of his own that year - only instead of celebrating the best of film, he would pan the films that he deemed the very worst.  So, after the conclusion of the Academy Awards, he had a few of his friends present awards of their own.

It is reported that Wilson came up with the idea after watching a double feature of "Xanadu" and "Can't Stop The Music"...two films that were easily considered among the worst films of 1980 (even though Xanadu has a bit of a cult following today).

Standing in front of a cardboard podium, dressed in one of the ugliest tuxedos that one could ever imagine, Wilson presented the very first Golden Raspberry Award to the film "Can't Stop The Music", a thrilling film which starred these guys.

Now, I bet you're wondering where the name "Golden Raspberry" came from.  You've heard of the term "blowing a raspberry" right?  That's how the name came to be.  But in later years, I suppose the term has taken on a deeper meaning.  After all, films and actors who are critically panned are kind of "razzed", right?  

Here's where things get interesting though.  Apparently the facetious awards ceremony attracted the attention of the press!  Specifically, the Los Angeles Times printed a story about it with the headline "Take These Envelopes, Please".  Not bad, considering that the first installment of the Razzies only had an audience of approximately thirty-five people!

But when the second annual Golden Raspberry Awards were presented in 1982, the attendance doubled.  And the following year, the number of people in the audience were triple the amount that showed up at the inaugural ceremony!  By the mid-1980s, CNN began to broadcast the Golden Raspberry Awards, and Wilson began to earn even more interest in the Razzies by beginning to schedule the event one day before the actual Academy Awards - a tradition which has been upheld since 1984.

Now nobody really wants to see their name attached to a Golden Raspberry Award.  Nobody wants to see their names linked to a really bad film, and certainly nobody wants to be "honoured" for being the worst actor or actress of the year.

But do you know which actors and actresses have been nominated for the most Golden Raspberry Awards?  Here's a list of the, wait...make that Bottom 5 actors and actresses, in order of nominations they have received.

05 - Eddie Murphy (5 nominations), Kim Basinger (5 nominations)
04 - John Travolta (5 nominations), Sharon Stone (5 nominations, 2 wins)
03 - Kevin Costner (7 nominations, 3 wins), Melanie Griffith (6 nominations)
02 - Adam Sandler (8 nominations, 3 wins), Demi Moore (6 nominations, 2 wins)
01 - Sylvester Stallone (13 nominations, 4 wins), Madonna (6 nominations, 5 wins)

So, basically by this list, Sylvester Stallone and Madonna should never act again as long as they both shall live.

And, as to be expected, most of the people bestowed with the "honour" wouldn't be caught dead picking up their trophies at the event.  But fortunately, there are still a few good sports out there in the world, as some actors, actresses, and directors have gone to the ceremony themselves to proudly accept their Razzies.

Bill Cosby was the very first person to actually accept his Razzie Award in 1988 for his performance in 1987's "Leonard, Part 6".  The total cost for his statuette?  $1.97! 

Other people who have come down to accept their awards in person have been Tom Selleck, Paul Verhoeven (director of 1995's "Showgirls"), Brian Helgeland (winner of Worst Screenplay for 1997's "The Postman"), J. David Shapiro (winner of Worst Screenplay for 2000's "Battlefield Earth"), and Tom Green (for 2001's "Freddy Got Fingered").

And would you believe that the list of celebs who have accepted Golden Raspberry Awards included three former Oscar winners?  It's true!

Ben Affleck may have won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay with "Good Will Hunting", but seven years later, he was a triple-threat in the 24th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards, being nominated for his work in "Gigli", "Daredevil", and "Paycheck" - all in the same category!  Is it any wonder he won the prize?

Halle Berry made history by being the first African-American woman to win an Academy Award for "Monster's Ball", but when she won the Razzie for "Catwoman", she accepted the award holding the Razzie in one hand, and the Oscar in the other!  What a terrific sport she was!

Of course, nothing will top Sandra Bullock's story.  She was just as happy to have won the Razzie for her role in "All About Steve" as she was when she won the Academy Award for "The Blind Side" the VERY NEXT DAY!  To win a Razzie and an Oscar in the same year is a once in a lifetime event, and luckily, Sandra won them in the right order!

And in conclusion, I'll be posting the films that have won the Golden Raspberry Award over the last ten years in a convenient list.  Is your "favourite" on the list?

2004 - GIGLI

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