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Road to the Razzies 2011: An interview with John Wilson

Well, it’s 2011 and Oscar season is fast approaching. Will the Academy finally accept director David Fincher’s friend request and award him the best picture gong for The Social Network? Will Christopher Nolan be rewarded for his mind-boggling efforts directing Inception, the most epic nap in film history? Or, now that it’s been announced that Toy Story 3 is eligible to win best picture, will Pixar do what it does best and blow the competition out of the water?

And the tough decisions don’t stop there. Between now and the February ceremony, there are a few late arrivals that the Academy simply can’t afford to ignore. 127 Hours has Danny Boyle tipped to win, True Grit puts Jeff Bridges in the lead for best actor second year running, not forgetting Colin Firth’s amazing turn in The King’s Speech.  Whatever way you slice it, it’s going to be a tense night.

Recognition – that’s all anybody in the ‘biz wants, but those snubbed by the Academy shouldn’t worry, chances are John Wilson has an award with their name on it.  Who’s John Wilson? He’s the creator of the Golden Raspberry Awards (The Razzies for short), the ceremony for movies so bad watching them becomes an ordeal worse than a homemade human centipede experiment.

2011 marks the 31st anniversary of his coveted alternative Oscars and over the years they’ve become as recognised as their high brow alternative. Needless to say, Wilson’s never had a shortage of nominees. “We don’t consider ourselves a slap in the face, we’re more like a banana peel on the floor” chuckles Wilson when Viva catches up with him at his Hollywood home, “our message is not ‘how dare you?’ it’s ‘why would you?’”

After seeing one to many crappy movies, Wilson started the event as a joke in his front room during a dinner party. “We put up a cardboard podium, a foam ball on a broomstick pretending to be a microphone, it was even sillier than it is now but everybody loved it.”  The rest is, as they say, history. By scheduling the event on the eve of the Oscars, Wilson’s dinner party joke quickly attracted worldwide press coverage from news stations hungry for a pre-Oscar scoop.

Despite being a poke in the ribs to Hollywood, not all Razzie winners take it in their stride. “The main target of The Razzies that I’ve always understood doesn’t find it funny is Sylvester Stallone,” explains Wilson.  “He’s been nominated for thirty different ‘achievements’ and he’s won ten. He won worst of the century!” giggles the event mastermind.  “He may be back this year.  Expendables is like a highlight reel of all the bad movies all those bad actors ever made, re-enacted from the motion picture retirement home!”

Sly aside, big name stars have been known to drop by and poke fun at themselves. Sandra Bullock’s appearance quickly became a classic Razzie moment. “Within 72 hours she won the Razzie, the very next night she won the Oscar and the next morning it was revealed that her husband was a jerk. So she had a completely life changing weekend” describes Wilson.

Oscar winner Halle Berry also attended, completely unannounced, with her Oscar statuette in hand. “When Halle Berry stepped out onto the stage, for a nano-second, the audience thought it was an impersonator and then they realized, that’s a real Oscar, that’s really Halle Berry and the theatre went nuts.

“She got a minute-long standing ovation and she was hilarious for close to eight minutes. That was the perfect way to handle what we do.  You embrace it, you poke fun at it, you accept it, you move on.

“If you get up there and you just be nasty that’s not funny, doesn’t make you look good, really doesn’t damage us because we’re already saying you’re not very good and here you are showing you also have no sense of humour!”

From one set of award predictions to another, we ask the Head Raspberry himself which films he thinks will win big at this years Razzies ceremony.  “M. Night Shyamalan is one of those people who seems to be participating in his own demise,” muses Wilson.  “He keeps thinking ‘well I’ll do this and they’ll like me’ or ‘I’ll do that and they’ll like me’ and it’s like ‘meh, we just don’t like you’ but Last Airbender is obviously a great big juicy Razzie target.

“The other likely big target is Megan Fox in an awful, awful box-office bomb called Jonah Hex. She’s really only in the movie for maybe seven or eight minutes and sucks in every one of those seven or eight minutes” chuckles Wilson.

As long as Hollywood continues to praise itself at the Oscars, The Razzies will be there to knock them down a peg or two.  “If our point was keep Hollywood from making bad movies we’ve failed horribly because they still make bad movies” laughs Wilson, “they’re just asking for a cream pie in the face!”

The 2011 Razzie Awards take place on February 26th, to find out more, click here.

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