UPDATE January 25, 2023: In response to the outcry, the Golden Raspberry Foundation removed 12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong from the ballot. In a statement, Razzies co-founder John Wilson issued an apology and called the review “valid”, saying the backlash “brought our attention to our insensitivity in this instance. Accordingly, we have removed Armstrong’s name from the final vote that our members will cast next month.We also believe that a public apology is due to Ms. Armstrong, and would like to say that we regret any harm she has suffered as a result of our choices.
ORIGINAL STORY: Since their launch in 1981, the Golden Raspberry Awards have positioned themselves as the anti-Academy Awards. Proclaiming themselves “Oscar’s ugly cousins,” the riotous Razzies have dishonored the worst movies and performances from an industry infamous for over-rewarding itself this time of year with eccentric categories. For example, Jackass: the movie won most flattering movie aimed at teens in 2002, while the notorious turkey The cat in the hat was named Worst Excuse for an Actual Movie in 2003.
Cheerful celebrities like Tom Green (five-time winner of the 2002 Freddy got fingered), Halle Berry (Worst Actress of 2004 catwoman) and Sandra Bullock (who scored a Razzie for All About Steve the night before winning an Oscar for The blind side in 2010) all showed up to the otherwise low-key ceremony to collect their trophies.
In recent years, however, the Razzies have lost both pop culture cachet and moviegoer goodwill. “Is it time to retire the Razzie Awards?” asked several experts. Some of the backfire could be attributed to fatigue – perhaps we evolved beyond snark; maybe the four-decade-old gag just jumped the shark – but the nominating committee has also made some very public missteps in recent years that have drawn mounting criticism.
The latest controversy came on Monday when the Razzies selected a 12-year-old Fire starter actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong among the list of nominees for Worst Actress, up there with Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World: Dominion), Diane Keaton (Mack and Rita), Kaya Scodelario (The King’s Daughter) and Alicia Silverstone (The shark).
It doesn’t matter that Armstrong (It chapter two, Black Widow, old fashioned) is one of the most talented and prolific child actors, or that she wasn’t the worst part of Stephen King’s failed remake. The problem, of course, is that she’s a child that adults laugh at – even if the Razzies insist it’s just a joke.
Either way, the organization faces a scathing rebuke over the nomination.
“If you thought the Razzies would decide to be less mean this year, think again, because this year’s nominees for Worst Actress include a 12-year-old girl,” wrote The varietyIt’s Ethan Shanfeld.
“The Razzies hit a new low by naming an eleven-year-old girl – whose performance I really dug,” tweeted filmmaker Joe Russo (not that Joe Russo). “If you continue to denigrate people’s hard work – which you shouldn’t – at least target adults.”
“The [Razzies] are already petty and classless, but naming a child is simply repugnant and wrong,” wrote another child actor, Julian Hilliard. “Why put a child at increased risk of bullying or worse? Be better.”
There was no immediate comment from the Golden Raspberry Foundation, the group behind the Razzies, about the latest controversy.
Although Armstrong’s nomination appears to be a tipping point, she is not the first child actor targeted by the organization. Previous nominees have included Diana Scarwid (who played Joan Crawford’s daughter in 1981 Dear Mum), Jake Lloyd (who played a very young Anakin Skywalker in 1999 Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) and Macaulay Culkin (for three different performances in 1995).
The controversy over Armstrong’s nomination comes just a year after the Golden Raspberry Foundation embarrassed itself by creating a special category called Bruce Willis’ Worst Performance in a Movie of 2021, to rescind the nomination once Willis’ family revealed he was battling neurological disorder aphasia and moving away from acting. Willis had appeared in 11 films as of 2021, but multiple reports suggested that due to his deteriorating health he was being exploited by the industry to appear in films for profit.
There are certainly factions of movie fans who never gave the Razzies much credit. In its first year, the Razzies took aim at another Stephen King adaptation, awarding Stanley Kubrick the worst director for the horror classic. The brilliant. However, the The organization behind the awards announced last year has announced that it will ‘take back’ the Worst Actress award from Shelley Duvall due to alleged on-set abuse she suffered at the hands of Kubrick.
But while the hostility toward the Razzies seems to be growing over the years, it seems Hollywood has a hands-down contender for the worst awards show.
This story was originally published on January 23, 2023 at 3:40 p.m. PT.