Sandra Bullock showed up in person to collect her Worst Actress Award at the Razzies last night and got a standing ovation. "Thank you for ruining my career," she told the audience at the Golden Raspberry Awards, which are held annually in Hollywood to celebrate the worst achievements in film. "I had to leave a charity event with Jeffrey Katzenberg to be here and he wasn't happy."
Bullock walked onstage pulling a cart with 700 DVDs of All About Steve, the critically slammed romantic comedy for which she was being "dishonored"—a copy for every voting member.
"Thank you!" shouted a man in the audience.
"You say that now," she replied, thoroughly in tune with the affectionate spirit of the proceedings.
"Believe it or not, the Razzies come from a place of love," says John Wilson, the movie-trailer copywriter who created the Razzies 30 years ago. "It's probably not the kind of love the filmmakers were seeking, but it's love nonetheless. We train our sights on the big-budget, big-name releases because they have no excuse to be as bad as they are."
Not unlike the Oscars, the Razzies ceremony is a rickety mix of sharp wit, amateur dramatics, and musical pastiche. The songs, which have creaky titles like “All that Razz” and “Hooray for What's-not-good,” are belted out with pitchy gusto. Presenters include a man dressed as Julia Child ("Today's dish—soufflé du merde") and a drag queen dolled up as a Christmas tree; this outfit a tribute to Mommie Dearest (voted Worst Film of the Decade by the Razzies in 1990) and its immortal camp line: "Helga! When you polish the floor, you have to move the tree."
The biggest laughs of the night come when the presenters read the most damning reviews for the nominees. "The kind of acting talent reserved for cruise ships… Like a busload of orphans slamming headfirst into the Hoover Dam… A turd of T-Rex proportions…"
• Our Complete Oscar CoverageAfter yet another awards season of rambling, tearful, pretentious acceptance speeches, the Razzies are a refreshing jolt of mischief. They are by no means unprovoked either as confirmed by the many clips shown during the show. Lindsay Lohan and Billy Ray Cyrus both got big laughs for spectacularly plank-like acting. But the 24-carat howlers only surface after watching films being honored in the Worst of the Decade categories. After re-watching Jennifer Lopez's infamous yoga-mat monologue to Ben Affleck about her vagina, I can safely say that there will be no critical resurrection for Gigli anytime soon. And when I say soon, I mean for the rest of time. Ditto Madonna's performance in Swept Away.
The clips also confirmed that no amnesty need be extended to the Razzie Awards’ most egregious repeat offenders, John Travolta and Eddie Murphy, honored for Worst Film of the Decade ( Battlefield Earth) and Worst Actor of Decade. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, neither actor showed up to collect. Until Bullock's appearance last night, the only big star to collect in person was Halle Berry five years ago, after being voted Worst Actress for Catwoman. To her credit, Berry treated the event just like a regular acceptance speech. "First of all, I want to thank Warner Bros. for putting me in a piece of shit godawful movie!" It brought the house down.
Bullock didn't capitulate quite that fully. She argued charmingly, but sincerely, that most of the Razzie voters clearly hadn't seen All About Steve. "If you watch the DVD and decide I'm not the worst, I will come back next year and give it back. Then we can all go get a drink afterward."
She should come back anyway—and bring Jennifer Lopez with her.
This Year’s Winners:
Worst Picture: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Worst Actors: The Jonas Brothers (all three): The 3-D Concert Experience Worst Actress: Sandra Bullock, All About Steve Worst Screen Couple: Sandra Bullock & Bradley Cooper, All About Steve Worst Supporting Actor: Billy Ray Cyrus, Hannah Montana: The Movie Worst Supporting Actress: Sienna Miller, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel: Land of the Lost Worst Director: Michael Bay, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Worst Screenplay: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Special 30th Razzie-versary Awards:
Worst Picture of the Decade: Battlefield Earth Worst Actor of the Decade: Eddie Murphy, Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime Worst Actress of the Decade: Paris Hilton, The Hottie and the Nottie, House of Wax, Repo: The Genetic Opera
Sean Macaulay was the L.A. movie critic for The London Times from 1999 to 2007. He has also written for Punch, British GQ, and The Mail on Sunday. He was most recently creative consultant on the award-winning documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil.