The nominees for the 38th annual Golden Raspberry Awards were announced Monday morning, and the list of shame included multiple nods for “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “The Emoji Movie” and “The Mummy.” No big surprises there — the Razzies “celebrate” Hollywood’s most dismal output, so it’s appropriate that the contenders are a bunch of critically derided box office underperformers. But there also were eyebrow-raising selections. Let’s take a look at the surprises, snubs and other noteworthy choices among the nominees.
Surprise: All the actresses who did decent work in bad movies
Jennifer Lawrence, Dakota Johnson, Sofia Boutella and Susan Sarandon were all in (arguably) terrible movies this year, but that doesn’t mean their performances were worth singling out for ridicule. Johnson, for example, is by far the best thing about the “Fifty Shades” movies. She’s the only one that seems in on the joke of the movie’s cheesiness. And it’s not Boutella’s fault “The Mummy” was awful. She did just fine in the (admittedly one-note) role of a seductive zombie princess.
And then, of course, there’s Lawrence. The Razzies don’t usually go after self-serious art house films, so it was a bit of a surprise to see so much attention paid to Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!,” the divisive drama about a famous poet and the woman he sucks dry. The movie was bizarre and disturbing, but Lawrence turned in the kind of work the Oscar winner always does. She was wholly committed.
That may be the biggest flaw in the Razzie system. The decision-makers seem to zero in on a handful of movies they deem “bad” then fill every category with nominees from those films, leaving out some epically terrible performances in the process.
Snub: “Tulip Fever”
It’s pretty conspicuous that one of the most high-profile flops of the year didn’t get a nomination — especially since it was a Weinstein Company production. Footage from the movie was first screened during the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, which seemed to indicate that a premiere was imminent. It wasn’t, and that’s never a good sign. The release was pushed back no less than five times, finally arriving in September, after which it made back a fraction of its budget and earned a 9 percent fresh rating from critics. Ouch.
Interestingly timed selection: Mark Wahlberg in “Transformers” and “Daddy’s Home 2″
How funny that so soon after the big payday imbroglio surrounding Wahlberg’s salary for “All the Money in the World,” the actor gets Razzie noms for his performances in two movies, “Daddy’s Home 2″ and “Transformers.” True, the Razzies acting nominations don’t always line up with acting ability (see above), but in this case, they nailed it. Wahlberg — not to mention his co-star, the also nominated Anthony Hopkins — phoned it in on “Transformers,” racing through the horribly written dialogue as if talking faster might distract the audience from how idiotic the script was. It didn’t work.
Snub: “The Snowman”
Even Tomas Alfredson, the director of “The Snowman,” knew his movie was ghastly. That’s why, upon its release, he immediately went on the record explaining what had happened. The Swedish director told Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation that he didn’t have enough time to shoot the Michael Fassbender-starring thriller. When you don’t have enough footage, it’s pretty hard to make a coherent film, which is a little factoid he learned during the editing process.
“We discovered that a lot was missing,” he admitted, adding that about 10 to 15 percent of the screenplay was just never shot.
“It’s like when you’re making a big jigsaw puzzle and a few pieces are missing so you don’t see the whole picture,” he clarified.
Hey, it happens. But when it does, the people in charge of choosing the year’s worst films should take notice, right?
Questionable categorization: Tyler Perry in the best actress category — again
The Razzies have a history of nominating Tyler Perry when he plays his character Madea and putting him in the worst actress category. They did it in 2012 with “Madea’s Witness Protection” and 2013 with “A Madea Christmas,” not to mention last year for “Boo! A Madea Halloween.” Message received, Razzies: You’re not into Madea. But can we all agree that Tyler Perry is, in fact, a man and that putting him in with the actresses is a tired play for juvenile laughs? It’s not like it’s the first time the awards show has done it. Adam Sandler was also nominated for best actress (and actor) for “Jack and Jill,” in which he plays opposite-sex fraternal twins.
Snub: “The Book of Henry”
Colin Trevorrow’s “Jurassic World” follow-up was such a wildly problematic genre bender that it inspired some of the most imaginative critical writing of 2017. I’ll just let Washington Post critic Michael O’Sullivan explain: “After a foray into more straightforward stuff, with 2015’s ‘Jurassic World,’ the cinematic mad scientist has returned to the laboratory with ‘The Book of Henry,’ a movie so mystifyingly misbegotten that it makes Frankenstein — the monster, not the movie — seem unremarkable. It’s the filmmaking equivalent of a monkey with the head of a goat, the tail of a fish, wings and teeny-tiny rat claws.”
And yet, when it came to Razzie time, “The Book of Henry” was nowhere to be found on any of the lists. The competition seems to be all about the biggest blockbusters — with the exception of “Mother!,” of course — and it leaves off some noteworthy cinematic nightmares.
So it goes. The winners, such as they are, will be announced March 3.