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Put Your Lips Together and Blow: The Razzies

I confess that as my Vulture colleagues devote hundreds of millions of words to every bleeding aspect of the Academy Awards (which I don’t take particularly seriously, so I’m delighted to cede the territory to non-critics), I think with more and more affection on the Razzies. I wish I were a voter, because I’d bring something different to the party. For example, I’d try to nominate more movies that critics raved and are therefore more destructive —Precious, say, or An Education, both of which are nominated for Best Picture Oscars. And where was Funny People at the Razzies? Why don’t voters have the guts to nominate critical darlings like Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and its leading man, Nicolas Cage, who is the worst thing ever to happen to gonzo because he makes you realize how essentially pretentious it is? This year’s Razzies were both exhilarating and troubling, for reasons that follow.

One of the saddest-happiest things was Sandra Bullock’s award for All About Steve. It’s a terrible movie, but Bullock by no stretch gives the worst female performance of the year. More to the point, in her other romantic farce, The Proposal, she gives one of the most deft performances of the year — one that easily eclipses her work in The Blind Side. I think The Proposal should counteract All About Steve. The happiest thing was that she showed up bearing DVDs of the film to give to all and sundry. All and sundry will hate it, but they’ll love her for the gesture. Let me be frank: I adore Sandra Bullock. She’s charming and smart and has great timing in every one of her films, although most of her films are bilge. She was even (just) bearable in Speed 2, the worst sequel ever made in a category that includes Cocoon 2: The Shriveling and The Sting 2: Newman and Redford Don’t Push Their Luck.

Michael Bay certainly earned his Razzies. Transformers 2 was an excruciating hash, but it’s just too easy to hate on Michael Bay. There are much worse directors out there, some of whom have Oscars on their mantles. Stephen Sommers routinely leaves Bay in the dust, and Tony Scott’s direction of The Taking of Pelham 123 remake was much worse than Bay’s in Transformers 2, because Scott’s bore no relationship to the content of the film whereas Bay and his brain-dead material were in synch in a way that was organic. I believe this is an auteur principle and one I stand by.

I’m sure everyone had a laugh over Sienna Miller’s award, but Miller, even if she’s model-gorgeous, has talent. See her in the Steve Buscemi movie Interview — a two-character drama in which she holds her own and then some. How can you blame someone for being god-awful in a Stephen Sommers movie?

The worst actor of the decade was not Eddie Murphy, no matter what you think of Norbit or Here’s Dave or (shudder) Pluto Nash. In the last decade, Murphy has climbed out of the black hole created by his monstrous narcissism and has begun to sparkle again. Sure, the material has been crapulous, but as a comic artist he's breaking new ground.

I have no problemo with the other awards — especially Battlefield Earth, which is worthy of the worst-movie-of-all-time prize not just because its Plan 9 gut-busting, but because it’s a kind of Ten Commandments for one of the most Razzie-worthy religions ever concocted (a category filled with far more earth-shaking frauds than the one with Speed 2).

Still. Golden Raspberry people: We need to talk. You can perform a far more valuable social function if you dare to piss more people off instead of piling on the obvious losers.

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