How, we wondered yesterday, could the Razzies have overlooked the tailor-made star bomb The Spirit for inclusion on their annual dishonor roll of nominees? We went straight to Razzies founder John Wilson for the scoop.
DEFAMER: So the nominees that emerged yesterday weren't official yet?
JOHN: What happened is we have press members on our mailing list, and this guy Larry Carroll from MTV's Movie Blog apparently misunderstood and thought that was a final list. And it kind of went viral for us.
So what was it, if not a list of nominees?
When we send out our nominating ballots, we also send out a list of suggested nominees—only because if you don't steer it somehow, you just get no consensus with as many people as we have voting. Those are likely nominees when the final ballots are tabulated and the actual nominations are announced on the 21st, but those are not the official nominees.
Are there any dark horses that could still emerge?
I'm assuming you're talking about The Spirit, which is getting a lot of write-in votes. One of the things that's happened ever since the Oscars jumped their show a month ahead is that we have to get our material out the week of Christmas, and anything that comes out on Christmas or later is not likely to make it out onto our ballot. [...] With Tom Cruise (in the Christmas-released Valkyrie), someone asked, "Well, how can Tom Cruise be on there if The Spirit wasn't?" And with Tom Cruise, the advance buzz was really awful. Although apparently the movie isn't that bad, so it'll be interesting to see if he does or does not get a nomination.
Well, one big star vehicle that seems to have supplanted Valkyrie as far as public ire is Seven Pounds, which a poll of critics recently voted the year's worst.
You know, I've seen that. It's weird, and it's an odd concept for a movie, but it's not quite to the standards of what we would consider for a Razzie. At least until the jellyfish part, which definitely belongs on the "nuke the fridge" list. Up to that point, it's a reasonably reputable movie, though I should admit that it also is getting write-in votes for screenplay. I don't think Will Smith is getting many votes for that, he's getting them for Hancock.
So what criteria do you consider for Worst Picture?
We look at box office—and big box office doesn't protect you from being Razzie-nominated—we look at the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes, we pay attention to what's being said on the forum of our website. We look at the track record of the people involved. Like Uwe Boll—the guy over at Rope of Silicon was saying "duh." Well yeah, "duh"—it's the same thing as Meryl Streep getting an Oscar nomination! Uwe Boll is just as shitty a director as Meryl Streep is a terrific actress. They're kind of mirrors of one another, and nobody attacks the Academy for nominating Meryl Streep. Uwe's Boll's Postal...if you've seen it, you have my sympathies. I actually have, and it's right up there with Freddy Got Fingered as just an inexcusable, tasteless, unfunny, "why did anyone give this person money" movie. And Freddy Got Fingered is the only Worst Picture winner that I've actually hated.
Has there ever been any overlap with Oscar bait? One of our editors suggested Revolutionary Road this year...
Three times, I believe, the exact same thing has been nominated for a Razzie and an Oscar. And in all three cases, it didn't win either. The best known one is probably Amy Irving as Barbra Streisand's wife in Yentl, who was nominated as both Best and Worst Supporting Actress. I'm trying to remember if the song from Con Air, "How Do I Live," that also may have been nominated for both.
Well there are so many terrible Oscar-nominated songs! That's probably the category that deserves the most overlap.
We actually had a Worst Song category for years, and we had a lot of fun with it. Generally speaking, though, if a song gets a Razzie nomination it's probably one that won't get played a lot on the radio. Although I guess "I Want Your Sex" from Beverly Hills Cop II did win a Razzie!
So what do you think are the top frontrunners this year?
I don't think I agree with our members or the public about The Love Guru. I thought that it was stupid, but I didn't find it offensive. Still, it looks like it has the inside track to get nominated all over the place. I know that when this list went viral yesterday, a lot of the public was disturbed that we had bothered to nominate Rambo. Personally, I think Rambo was a violent, pointless, ill-conceived, badly-written, horribly-acted, badly-edited piece of crap.
Tell us how you really feel!
Eddie Murphy has the highest-profile box office bomb of the year in Meet Dave. I will be curious to see how many nominations—not if it will get nominated, but how many—it will get. He swept three characters at last year's awards, so I'm sure he'll end up with some. The one I'm hoping gets a lot of nominations is Postal. The real enigma about Uwe Boll is not why he exists but why he continues to make movies! Who needs the tax loss so bad that they can spend $50 or $60 million on these movies? I can't wrap my head around it.
Are we going to see any love for M. Night Shyamalan this year?
It looks like it has the possibility, but if there's anything he's learned from the multiple Razzies that Lady in the Water won years ago, it's that casting yourself as a Jesus-like character in your own movie doesn't go over well. At least he isn't in The Happening. That was one that was a lot of fun to see with people when it first opened, because the audience doesn't know you're going to find out that it's bush—but not the President!—that's responsible for Armageddon. That twist he does in all his movies was particularly dunderheaded in this one. And I'm normally an admirer of Betty Buckley, but of all the elements in this movie that I hope get nominated, Betty Buckley as a crazy old lady who crashes her head through a window and screams at Mark Wahlberg is high on my list. That definitely deserves some attention from us!