The Golden Raspberry is the anti-Oscar, a negative film award for particularly bad performances. But now the organization behind it had to apologize.
No, the remake of Stephen King’s Firestarter starring Zac Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong is not a good movie. That’s correct. Even the first film adaptation “The Firestarter” from 1984 with David Keith and Drew Barrymore was considered to be below average. Nobody would have expected that director Keith Thomas’ remake would do even better than that. If you just look at the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, reviews and fan opinions speak for themselves.
So it’s no surprise that Firestarter, which you can stream on Amazon, has been nominated twice for a Golden Raspberry. In fact, it’s actually more of a surprise that it didn’t rain even more nominations. In addition to a well-deserved Anti-Oscar nomination for Worst Remake or Cheapest Imitation, Ryan Kiera Armstrong was also nominated for Worst Actress. Of course, one could say that she’s in illustrious company this year, as well as Bryce Dallas Howard for Jurassic World: A New Age, Diane Keaton for Mack & Rita, Alicia Silverstone for The Requin. and Kaya Scodelario for The King’s Daughter are among the nominees.
But: Unlike her colleagues, Ryan Kiera Armstrong is still a child, she is only twelve years old. Although she has acted in a number of productions, both in films and in series, since she was eight years old, the role of the pyrokinetically gifted Charlie McGee in “Firestarter” is one of her first leading roles. Children and adolescents in particular sometimes react extremely sensitive to criticism, feel insecure and still looking for their place in the world. A nomination for such a hateful anti-award, which the Golden Raspberry is, can potentially have a negative impact on their (acting) development, unsettle them and possibly divert them from their chosen career path.
The indignation at this nomination was correspondingly great. Numerous colleagues and fans showed their solidarity with the young child actress:
The Razzies nominating Ryan Kiera Armstrong for "Worst Actress" is so completely ignorant and cynical I can't wrap my head around it. They have no clue what this can do to a child actress who probably considered her starring role in FIRESTARTER as a high point in her life. (1/7)
— Brandon Hardesty (@Brandon_Hrdesty) January 24, 2023
The razzies are already mean-spirited & classless, but to nominate a kid is just repulsive & wrong. Why put a kid at risk of increased bullying or worse? Be better.
— Julian Hilliard (@_JulianHilliard) January 23, 2023
On the other hand, the young actress should really keep in her heart the meeting with her quasi-predecessor and idol Drew Barrymore on her show “The Drew Barrymore Show”:
“Golden Raspberry”: The organizer withdraws the nomination
The fact that it wasn’t necessarily a good decision to nominate a child for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress must be clear to the organization around founder John J. B. Wilson. In a statement, Wilson apologized and withdrew the nomination. And that’s not all (via Variety):
“Sometimes you do things without thinking. And then you will be informed. Then you get it. This is why the Golden Raspberry was created in the first place. Recent valid criticism of the choice of 12-year-old Armstrong as a nominee for one of our awards has made us realize how insensitive we have been in this case. As a result, we have removed Armstrong’s name from the final selection that our members will be voting on next month. We also feel that we owe Miss Armstrong a public apology and regret any injury she may have suffered as a result of our decisions. As we have learned from this lesson, we would also like to announce that we are moving forward with a voting policy that will exclude performers or filmmakers under the age of 18 from being eligible for our awards.”
It was never intended to destroy the nominees’ careers, Wilson said. That is why the Redeemer Award for former prizewinners was created, which Eddie Murphy recently received for “Dolemite Is My Name”. This award is given to stars who, after receiving a Golden Raspberry, have distinguished themselves with good films or even Oscar awards.