There’s nothing quite like offering a public apology for a PR blunder that was rightly called out by the internet mob, while simultaneously ignoring the fact that this kind of behavior has been standard business for your organization for literal decades. That’s what the Razzie Awards did today in responding to criticism of their decision to nominate a 12-year-old child actress in this year’s awards lineup for the title of “Worst Actress,” attempting to appease movie fans after an internet backlash.
The trouble began when the annual, satirical “worst movie” awards unveiled their lineup of nominations for 2022, with films such as Netflix’s Blonde and Sony’s Morbius leading the way. But it was the Worst Actress nomination of 12-year-old actress Kiera Armstrong for the remake of Stephen King’s Firestarter that captured the internet’s attention, with defenders slamming the Razzies for cruelly calling undeserved scorn on a young girl.
Razzies founder John Wilson then responded, offering a public apology to Armstrong and saying that her name would be removed from the ballot. He went on to say that the official rules of the contest would be changed to impart an 18-year-old age limit, and acknowledged that fessing up to the mistake was consistent with the Razzies motto of “Own Your Bad.”
Problematically, however, Wilson failed to acknowledge that this was not some one-time lapse of judgement on the part of his organization—the Razzies have been heckling child actors since the very beginning, and have only stopped now thanks to public outcry. In 1982, Gary Coleman was nominated at age 14 for On the Right Track, while Macaulay Culkin was a frequent target of shaming, nominated in 1995 for Getting Even With Dad, Richie Rich and The Pagemaster. Jake Lloyd was famously nominated at just 11 years of age for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and Maddie Ziegler was the “winner” of Worst Supporting Actress as recently as 2021 for the film Music, which she filmed when she was just 14 years old.
So apparently the Razzies acknowledge that it’s cruel to nominate a child actress for “Worst Actress” in 2023, but it was just fine to award a Worst Supporting Actress statue to a different child actress only two years ago.
You’ll forgive us if we retain a little doubt that this tasteless organization has truly turned over some kind of new leaf.