In a vast sea of uncertainty, with all of Hollywood worrying that no one will show up for the big-time awards shows, it's nice to know that one thing remains certain:
The Razzies will go on as scheduled. And none of the winners will show up to claim their prizes.
Who can blame them? Every year, as Hollywood pats itself on the back and honors the best of the previous year's movies, the folks at the Golden Raspberry Awards Foundation serve as a welcome reality check. While everyone last year was feting Martin Scorsese and The Departed, founder John Wilson and his pals at the Razzies took a moment to remind everyone of all the garbage moviegoers are asked to endure annually. It took no guts to laud The Departed as best film of 2006, but only the Razzie voters took a moment to dishonor Basic Instinct 2 - or, as they called the 14-years- in-the-making sequel, "Basically, It Stinks, Too" - as the year's worst.
This year's font of cinematic awfulness, to be dissed in ceremonies set for a Santa Monica, Calif., theater Feb. 23, the day before the Oscars, features the usual assortment of Saturday Night Live alumni, self-destructive starlets and skilled professionals who really ought to know better.
Foremost among the potential "winners" is Eddie Murphy, about as far removed from the acclaim he garnered for his 2006 turn in Dreamgirls as humanly possible. In fact, Murphy set a record when Razzie nominations were announced Monday, finding himself up for five of the $4.89 statuettes. Ponder this for a moment: Cate Blanchett earned headlines Tuesday for getting a pair of Oscar nominations, but Murphy more than doubled that total!
The reason for Murphy's nonacclaim is his starring performance in Norbit, an alleged comedy in which he got to play a host of roles, some thin, some fat, some male, some female, all awful. For showing such range (and wearing such a vast array of latex), Murphy finds himself up for Razzies for Worst Actor (as the title character, a shy wallflower of a guy married to one "woman" while desiring another), Worst Supporting Actor (as the Asian restaurateur/orphanage director Mr. Wong) and Worst Supporting Actress (as Rasputia, Norbit's 400- pound spouse). Murphy is also up for the Worst Screen Couple award (and because he plays both halves of the offending couple, he wouldn't have to share his Razzie with anyone), as well as the Worst Screenplay nod.
Ironically, Norbit was nominated for an Oscar as well this week, for makeup effects.
Now, some might argue that throwing brickbats at Murphy constitutes piling on, because it's generally believed that he lost the Oscar for Dreamgirls after voters saw him in Norbit. But hey, such wretched wretchedness deserves all the attention it can get.
Surprisingly, even with Murphy's multifaceted dominance of the acting categories, Norbit doesn't enter the Razzies homestretch as the year's most dis- acclaimed film. That distinction goes to the Lindsay Lohan star vehicle I Know Who Killed Me, in which the actress whose career most resembles a train wreck gets to play the dual roles of an exotic pole dancer and her psychically connected, small-town twin sister (or are they the same person? Aye, there's the rub ... ). Killed garnered nine nominations, including Worst Picture, two for Worst Actress (Lohan got one for each sister), Worst Screen Couple (as with Murphy, Lohan plays both halves), Worst Supporting Actress (Julia Ormand, whose agent might have some explaining to do), Worst Screenplay (Jeffrey Hammond, making quite the impression with his first film) and Worst Director (Chris Siverston, who once co-directed a movie called All Cheerleaders Die, thus raising the question, "What did you expect?").
I Know Who Killed Me is also up for Worst Remake/Rip-Off, as the Razzie folks view it as an amalgam of Hostel, Saw and The Patty Duke Show. It's also competing in a new category, Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie. Its competition: Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, Captivity, Hannibal Rising and Hostel: Part II.
If you've never seen any of those five films, consider yourself lucky.
Handicapping this year's Razzies is a tough slog. It's bad enough, having to pick between Norbit and I Know Who Killed Me for Worst Picture (Norbit gets my vote). But the remaining nominees are plenty awful themselves: Bratz, in which a gaggle of Best Friends Forever scamper around for some 110 minutes; Daddy Day Camp, another sad chapter in the downward-spiraling career of Cuba Gooding Jr.; and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, with Adam Sandler and Kevin James as faux gay New York firefighters.
Murphy is the clear dis-favorite for Worst Actor, but he's up against some genuine cinematic bilge, in the persons of Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider, National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Next), Oscar winner Gooding (Daddy Day Camp), Oscar-winner wannabe Jim Carrey (The Number 23); and certain Oscar Mayer wiener fan Sandler (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry).
As for Lohan and the Worst Actress race, her competition includes Jessica Alba (Awake, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Good Luck Chuck), Elisha Cuthbert (Captivity), Oscar winner Diane Keaton (the awful and largely overlooked Because I Said So); and the four stars of Bratz (Logan Browning, Janel Parrish, Nathalia Ramos and Skyler Shaye) nominated collectively.
Razzie voters have until Feb. 15 to cast their votes. Pity those Razzie members so conscientious that they actually want to see all the nominated movies before deciding. That's the sort of cruel and unusual punishment the Supreme Court ought to declare unconstitutional.