The Oscars – the awards for the best films of the year – have just taken place in Hollywood. All the celebrities turned up beautifully dressed, gave interviews, smiled a lot and helped to create the impression that Hollywood was there to celebrate and congratulate itself.

The winners are for such things as Best Picture, Best Music, Best Actor, Best Actress and so on. There are also awards for the more technical aspects of movie-making: Best Sound Mixing, Best Make-up and Hair Styling, Best Cinematography. Everyone wants to be recognised!
But you may not have heard of the Razzies. These are a set of awards that are far more entertaining and far more useful to the movie-going public.

All of you will have either been to the cinema to see films, or watched them at home on DVD or television. You will have watched movies you loved, and you will have watched movies that you thought was awful. Either way, you will have told someone else about it – “hey, don’t watch that film, it’s awful; the story is rubbish and the actors are really bad” or “I’ve just seen this awesome film; the action scenes were amazing”.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an awards ceremony that poked fun at movies and awarded prizes to the worst movies of the year? The Razzies do exactly that. Like discussing movies with your friends, the Razzies point out the best and worst about films of the year.

Categories for the Razzies (or Golden Raspberries, as they’re properly known) include: Worst Film, Worst Actress, Worst Actor, and Worst Director. I’m sure you could all think of winners for those categories!The Razzies, held on the same night as the more famous – and self-congratulating Oscars – makes a good balance for movie watchers. And some film stars join in the fun, laugh at themselves, understand that it’s important not to take themselves too seriously.

Some even turn up to receive their Razzie award in person – including Sandra Bullock, in 2010, who was nominated in this year’s Oscars for her role in ‘Gravity’!
Although meant to poke fun at the seriousness of the Oscars, the Razzies provide some important and much-needed balance and light relief to Hollywood’s excess and ‘look at me’ attitude.

Article written by Ben Egerton

Critical Thinking Challenges:

1. There are lots of award ceremonies around the world – and in New Zealand – for various things: film, music, sport, community work. Why do we need them? Why do people like to give and receive prizes? Are they of any real value?

2. If you were to set up your own alternative awards ceremony, what would it be and why? Think about what you could call it, who you would nominate and what you might award them!

Practical Tasks:

1. Write a film review. Think of a film that you have watched recently that you have either really enjoyed or thought was awful – and write a 200-word review of it going into detail and giving reasons why you thought the film was so good/bad. Think about acting, the script, special effects, music, who it was aimed at, and overall experience.

2. Research into Oscar or Razzie winners in the past. Pick a year at random between, for example, 1950 and 2000. How many of the films or actors and actresses have you heard of? If age-appropriate, watch one of the films and write down what you think. Do you agree with the Oscar judges?






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