Russell Crowe among worst actor nominations for Razzies

“In 2023, everything went pink … but thankfully there was still lotsa stink”

Organisers of the 44th Razzies (Golden Raspberry Awards) – held unceremoniously the night before the Academy Awards on March 10 – have announced nominations for the worst films, actors and actresses who graced our screens last year … and there’s no surprises for the top five in each category.

With no awkward backdowns or embarrassing shocks by voters this year – think Bruce Willis’s worst actor nomination after being diagnosed with dementia, or nominating 12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong – 1179 movie buffs, film critics and journalists from 49 US states and two dozen foreign countries have regrouped and expertly narrowed the field.

And some might say, nailed the very worst in cinema.

In the worst actor category, Russell Crowe in The Pope’s Exorcist is up against Vin Diesel’s performance in Fast X, Chris Evans in Ghosted, Jason Statham in Meg 2: The Trench and lastly Jon Voight in Mercy.

All are films worthy of watching for free on long-haul international flights.

Receiving much hype in the lead-up to its premiere, Crowe’s portrayal of Father Gabriel Amorth left critics and reviewers giving it mixed blessings with just a 50 per cent approval rating.

” … [it’s] still hard to fathom how an actor who won one Oscar (for Gladiator) and could have easily won two more (for A Beautiful Mind and The Insider) ended up here,” wrote Rolling Stone after the “chintzy, derivative” and low-budget film was released in April.

Crowe spent weeks filming in Rome, regularly gave us teasers via his social media riding a Vespa in priestly robes through cobbled streets, and eventually delivered a whisky-guzzling priest with a dubious Italo-English accent trying to exorcise Satan’s demons from an unsuspecting family.

To be fair, Variety reckoned Crowe saved the film, which was directed by Australian “genre stylist” Julius Avery.

“As the film’s version of Father Amorth … the slumming Oscar champ props up proceedings with just the right balance of gruff, paternalistic credibility and wry, self-mocking irony,” it opined.

As for films, the unnamed Razzie team say that after a year of double strikes, “lingerings of a worldwide plague and a general sense of universal agoraphobia”, “the decline of the cinematic experience goes without saying”.

They made special mention of Barbie and Oppenheimer for saving cinema, as both films have already won multiple awards at this season’s Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and Primetime Emmys and brought in huge box-office receipts for studios.

“A doll pic and a bomb movie jump-started The Industry … [and] left a trail of Pooh behind for the Razzies to pick up”.

The Expend4bles trailer

‘Action stinks, wasted cast’

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Statham, Megan Fox, Fifty Cent and Dolph Lundgren, the fourth instalment in the Expendables franchise, Expend4bles, received a whopping seven nominations.

Tied for second place with five nominations were The Exorcist: Believer and Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, about serial-killing bears.

Two big-budget superhero movies, DC’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, both landed four nominations and the Meg sequel landed three.

Of Expend4bles, there were lots of excuses as to why it flopped.

“… [it was] another instalment of a franchise that’s fading faster than Razzie ‘winner’ Donald Trump’s mental acuity,” wrote the Razzies.

Lundgren was surprisingly candid in explaining the sequel’s lack of success.

“The project had issues from the beginning. It really didn’t have a good script … Stallone wasn’t involved, like he usually is [with the writing]. He just played a character in it, and when he’s in charge, the quality is going to be pretty good,” he told Screen Rant.

” … the director was replaced, like, a month before shooting … the picture opened during the strike, which wasn’t very clever, so they couldn’t do any publicity.”

Fans on social media agreed there was something missing.

Expend4bles just lacks any of the charm from the first two movies. The action stinks, the editing was choppy as hell, flat direction, a story that’s been-there-done-that, wasted cast, and some of the worst CGI from 2023 next to The Flash.

“Seriously, I don’t recommend it,” he wrote.

The remaining train-wreck films include The Exorcist: Believer, “a fifty-years-later remake/rip-off that was horrifying in unintended ways”, Meg 2: The Trench, Shazam! Fury of the Gods – “one of 2023’s several comic-book movies failing to save the superhero genre”

Serial killer flick Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey rounds out the category.

Do the stars turn up to receive their awards?

Mostly, no.

A day after receiving the Golden Raspberry for worst actress in All About Steve in 2010, US actor Sandra Bullock was awarded the Oscar for best actress for The Blind Side.

With good humour, she accepted the award on stage.

During the Los Angeles ceremony, she surprised Razzie attendees by showing up to collect her award with an entourage wearing “Team Bullock” T-shirts.

She also had a trolley full of All About Steve DVDs.

You promise to watch the movie and really consider whether it was really and truly the worst performance,” Bullock joked during her acceptance speech.

“If you are willing to watch it, I will come back next year and give back the Razzie.”

In 2005, Oscar winner Halle Berry turned up to collect the Worst Actress raspberry for her performance in Catwoman.

“I want to thank Warner Brothers, for putting me in a piece of s—, god-awful movie … it was just what my career needed. I was at the top, and then Catwoman just plummeted me to the bottom.”

She told Harper’s Bazaar in 2021 she eventually set her Golden Raspberry Award “on fire”.

Is Crowe likely to turn up?

He’s been promoting his Indoor Garden Party gigs on the Gold Coast and is in the midst of filming a documentary, Last Breath, while his local film, Sleeping Dogs, is in post-production.

He also has four films in pre-production – American Son, Nuremberg, Beast in Me and Rothko.

Might be too busy.

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