"Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones," "Swept Away" and "Crossroads" tied with seven nominations each, including Worst Picture of 2002. The other nominees for worst picture -- as chosen by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation -- are "Pinocchio," the retelling of the classic Italian fable by writer-director Robert Benigni, and "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," an Eddie Murphy comedy that bombed with critics and moviegoers alike.
"Pinocchio" and "Pluto Nash" each had six nominations.
The foundation -- created in 1980 by author and movie fan John Wilson -- is committed to deriding what it considers to be the worst in American movies each year. It announces its nominees the day before the Academy of Arts and Sciences announces the Oscar nominees, and it presents the Razzies each year on the day before the Academy Awards are presented.
In addition to Worst Picture, "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" was nominated for Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Supporting Actress (Haden Christensen and Natalie Portman), Worst Screen Couple (Christensen and Portman, again), Worst Director (Lucas), Worst Sequel and Worst Screenplay (Lucas and Jonathan Hales).
"In the separate universe that is 'Star Wars,'" said Wilson, "there are certain expectations, both entertainment and financial. A fair number of our voting membership has fond memories of the early 'Star Wars' films. I don't think George Lucas had any idea how many people disliked 'Episode I.' Other than not having Jar Jar all over the place, 'Episode II' was as obtrusive, boring and uninvolving as 'Episode I.'"
Along with its nomination for Worst Picture, "Swept Away" was also nominated for Worst Actress (Madonna), Worst Actor (Adriano Giannini), Worst Screen Couple (Madonna and Giannini), Worst Director (Guy Ritchie), Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Screenplay (Ritchie). Wilson called it the worst in a series of bad Madonna movies.
"Because of her husband's involvement in it," he said, "this was more personal for her than all of her other wretched movies."
Spears was nominated for Worst Actress in her feature film starring debut, "Crossroads," which was also nominated for Worst Screen Couple (Spears and "Whatever-his-name-was"), Worst Director (Tamra Davis), Worst Screenplay (Shonda Rhimes) and a new Razzie category, Most Flatulent Teen-targeted Movie. "Crossroads" also scored a rare double with two nominations for Worst "Original" Song -- "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" and "Overprotected."
It is hard to tell where Wilson and the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation draw the line between good-natured razzing and sincere hectoring. But Wilson said "Crossroads" deserved no mercy, because it "sexualized" young children.
"That's not laughable to me," he said. "That's sad."
Benigni and Murphy were nominated for Worst Actor, along with Giannini, Steven Segal ("Half Past Dead") and Adam Sandler -- who was dishonored for his performances in two movies, "Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights" and "Mr. Deeds." Murphy "topped" Sandler, having been singled out for his performance in three movies -- "Pluto Nash," "I Spy" and "Showtime."
Along with Madonna and Spears, the nominees for Worst Actress are Angelina Jolie ("Life or Something Like It"), Jennifer Lopez ("Enough" and "Maid in Manhattan") and Winona Ryder ("Mr. Deeds"). Madonna also snagged a nomination for Worst "Original" Song, for "Die Another Day" from the James Bond movie of the same name.
In addition to Lucas, Benigni, De Niro and Jolie, two other Oscar winners were nominated for Razzies this year.
This year also proved something of a rarity in that Sylvester Stallone was not nominated for a Razzie this time around.
"If Stallone's most recent film had not gone straight to video," said Wilson, "I suspect he would have gotten his 30th or 31st nomination."
Stallone is the all-time Razzie "champion, with nine awards -- including Worst Actor of the Century -- according to Wilson.
Nominees were determined by a mail-in vote by 537 Golden Raspberry Award Foundation members in 38 U.S. states and a dozen foreign countries. The Razzie -- which has "an estimated street value of $4.89" -- is a handcrafted golf-ball-sized raspberry, mounted on a mangled reel of Super 8 film, spray-painted gold.
The 23rd Annual Golden Raspberry Awards will be presented March 22 in Santa Monica, Calif.
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UPI Almanac for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014