“I’d like to thank the Academy and all the little people…”



For April Fool’s Day, and just weeks from the annual Golden Raspberry Awards (The Razzies), a program featuring some of the worst and sometime unintentionally hilarious film music of the 80’s and 90’s wrapped in an essay of how badly people have ruined the entire award system by truly not challenging it at every level. #razzies #filmmusic #1980s #1990s #razzies #aprilfools #webbys #commuunicatorawards

Currently, we are in the middle of awards season. The supposed “best of the best” will be honored in a string of, for the most part, glitzy, made for ratings spectacles meant to draw you away from your recent binge-watch.

You root for your favorites. You tweet complaints about who didn’t get nominated at all. Sometimes, you are a judge in these contests or a celebrity who has won some awards at these programs, being a part of the machine itself, while railing against its unfairness. The latter is often referred to as working inside the system to change it, but honestly, you can’t be in it and not of it. If that was the case, we would not be here in this mess we are in now.

Kanye West’s (left) has often lashed out on Twitter against Grammys CEO Neil Portnow about the unfairness of the Grammy Awards. Photo credit: Frank Micelotta/Invsion/AP and Jeff Kravitz/MTV1415/FilmMagic/Getty.

Rapper Kanye West, for example, has issued a firestorm of Twitter activity (no, you don’t say) about how unfair the Grammys are and also states just how important they are. Ironically, he was won 22 of the trophies out of 70 nominations, which is 22 more wins and 70 more nominations than one of the most celebrated rock groups in history, The Kinks, have ever received.

Awards, at times, aren’t meant to recognize the most talented people or projects during a given time period. Remember, at the end of the day, they are judgments by people you have never met or probably never will meet, kind of like being on social media, for example. What the motivations for these decisions has always been a source of debate.

Prince, in a still image from the film Under The Cherry Moon, 1986. He won the Razzie for Worst Original Song for Love or Money, which didn’t even appear on the official soundtrack LP, but as the B-side to the “Kiss” single. Courtesy of Warner Brothers.

The stakes can be much, much higher when winning or losing one of the major industry awards. Remember that word: industry, not artistry.

Awards are akin to the lottery: if you want the big prizes and the privileges they unlock in this media-and-money obsessed society, they you have to buy a ticket. Is it fair? Well, of course it’s not. It never has been, either. Am I making excuses for the game? Hardly, but I understand how it is played, and so do you, whether you admit it publicly or not. No one stars in a movie or records an album to be anonymous. The same goes for podcasters.

Liberace, the queer icon who made millions but was mercilessly trashed by critics. This is from his Leapin’ Lizards TV special from 1978, back when there were only three networks and PBS. Courtesy of the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts.

Believe me, there are more than enough lottery winners who have very ugly tales to tell about what happened to them afterward.

Speaking about admitting it publicly, this year, I have entered into two international contests. Why? Because being anonymous isn’t putting food on the table. So what if my work gets criticized and I can still put a roof over our heads and keep the lights on? In the words of queer icon Liberace, a hugely successful performer who was constantly savaged by the critics: “I’m crying all the way to the bank.” As much as I love my new, very physically demanding job at a local grocery store, what I guess I am saying here is the following: hate on haters, and thank you potential employers for the new job whether I am nominated, win or lose.

John J.B. Wilson, one of the founders of the Razzies, 2008. Photo courtesy of the Golden Raspberries.

It gets back to an old adage: “Awards are for the givers, not the receivers”. Sometimes these things can be self-congratulatory; sometimes they show inherent or unconscious bias. You would like to believe that each voting member of an awards group is an expert in their field, can be open-minded, even in the face of their own experiences and prejudices and lastly be objective. Regardless, judges are either labeled as completely spot-on, incredibly mean spirited or ignorant.

The Golden Raspberry Awards, also known as the “Razzies”, were created in 1981 by UCLA film graduates and film industry veterans John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy, and are meant to expose the Hollywood money monster for what it truly is, or at least it charges toward that windmill in a manner that would make even Don Quixote blush.

Sylvester Stallone (left) sang the Worst Original Song Razzie for 1984’s Rhinestone track “Drinkin’ Stein”, written by his co-star, Dolly Parton (left). Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Their award ceremony is held the day prior to the Academy Awards. This year, it will be on Saturday, April 24th, in just a little over three weeks. Our focus for this program is the Golden Raspberry for Worst Original Song, a category that appeared from the program’s inception until 1999, and resurrected, baby, one more time in 2002.

For anyone who believes it is all vitriol and bitterness, the Razzies also give an award to those who have made some truly critically disappointing past films but have made incredible comebacks, including Ben Affleck, Melissa McCarthy and Eddie Murphy, the latter who credited the Razzies for making him recognize he was making terrible films.

Adobe Classroom In A Book: Audition, from Adobe Systems ( ISBN-10: 9780321822499), which details how you can use nine year-old software. I got of a copy of one from my local library.

In my case, do I believe I have created something unique and worthy of recognition? Well yes, but then that could be said, and probably will be said, by many others also competing in their respective contests. But unlike almost every one of them, I put this all together myself, including right down to paying for it all out of my own pocket and using less-than-industry-standard equipment that cost a total of about 650 dollars, including the used, nine year-old software I taught myself how to operate from books at the library.

Because regardless of what anyone else thinks, I believe in it, and put my time and talent where my mouth is. I will have no one else to blame for its success, failure, praise or critical drumming than the person I see in the mirror. I say that because I own that. Literally, as I use no one else’s money to put this together, and accept no sponsorship or commercials.

George Michael wrote and performed the Razzie-winning Worst Original Song for “I Want Your Sex”. Its parent album won the Grammy for album of the Year in 1989 and was one of the biggest selling releases of the decade. Photo by Chris Cuffaro, courtesy of Columbia Records.

Is the industry exploitative, and do awards programs just reinforce this? Has this trend permeated every part of our society, such as being on talk shows or a fundraiser for the homeless, for example? Remind yourself of this only after you post online how much you liked seeing your favorite celebrity in a dress that cost more than what many make in a month. You reinforce this, and that’s how we got here.

It often appears that the contests aren’t limited simply to awards programs, but any opportunity is used to show off a new pair of designer shoes that were given away for the publicity, which makes this all seem more like product placement that fashion statement, including civic and political events. Even CNN ran a story about the fashions everyone wore to the Presidential inauguration last January, except for one.

Unintentional scene stealer Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont comfortably watching the inauguration events on Wednesday. January 21st, 2021. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Bernie Sanders, everyone’s favorite senior-citizen, social activist, senator from Vermont, shows up in a green Burton coat (which many believe may be his only coat, mind you) and hand made mittens created from recycled materials, sitting politely, not saying a word, just simply being himself and becomes the event and month’s most talked about fashion icon and most memed individual of the year to date without even trying. I mean, honestly, can you even remember what Joe Biden wore to his own inauguration, or anyone else for that matter?

Lest we forget, last year, Sanders lost in the most high profile, biggest ever stakes contest in the world: the nomination for President of the United States. Sometimes life can be about substance over style in the most winningest of ways; so can the awards given out at contests this year.

From the 2021 Grammy Awards: an image of The New Orleans Nightcrawlers, who won their trophy in a ceremony before the telecast, in just a moment of screen time. Courtesy fo NARAS.

If you think I am stating substance and style can’t go hand in hand, you’re terribly incorrect. But what is the cash register saying, and what are you posting or sharing about winners at the 2021 Grammy Awards, for example? How about hard working artists in fields they may not even mention during the telecast, because they aren’t a part of the glamour machine? You know, awards given out PRIOR to the main ceremony that might get 5 seconds per winner during the main event?

I bet few of you were raving about the win for the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, a multi-ethnic brass band made up of people who aren’t setting YouTube streaming records. Yeah, they also look like your Dad and his friends at the BBQ, which makes them less than, somehow, because they can’t be marketed like K-Pop idols. If they somehow get a big money vanity perfume or endorsement deal, I will buy twenty bottles and give them away in a contest, but not holding my breath. They would be perfect for Swagger by Old Spice.

Doesn’t this just make you want to get up and scream with joy? A musical notation, algebraic formulas and a sine wave, items needed by engineers who make audio recordings. Courtesy of Malin Christersson.

And, if you’re a fan of alternative icon Beck, send him a congratulations. He won for a technical category this year, as an audio engineer, one of the people who make recordings sound as good as they do. He shares the award with Drew Brown, Julian Burg, Andrew Coleman, Paul Epworth, Shawn Everett, Serban Ghenea, David Greenbaum, John Hanes, Jaycen Joshua, Greg Kurstin, Mike Larson, Cole M.G.N., Alex Pasco, Matt Wiggins and master engineer Randy Merrill. Yeah, that’s a whole lot of people who have worked at their craft for years, much of needing strong math and science skills, which again just aren’t that sexy to promote on television.

Technical people get little respect or credit, because again, it seems that for all of their importance to the music and film industry, they just aren’t, for the most part, easy to sell when competing against big-budget pretty faces. I mean, who wants to hear about a quadratic equation when you really want to show off the red-lacquered heel of your Louboutins?

Right? As if

William Shockley as Andrew Carver from Showgirls, 1995. He plays a Michael Bolton-like character who brutally beats and rapes his fans. Shockley sang on the Razzie-winning worst song “Walk Into The Wind”. Courtesy of MGM.

If I win, my acceptance speech will be as follows: “I’d like to thank the Academy and all the little people, because there are so many of you little people.” Maybe that is a Razzie all its own. By the way, I don’t own a Burton coat, but will ask my husband if I can borrow his. He’ll probably say no (he practically has it on 24/7, often falls asleep in it on the couch, with me begging my friends to get him to wash it, and yes, this is real) so expect me in my at least ten-year old red Columbia jacket I got from a thrift store with the removable hood.

It doesn’t seem very meme-worthy, but as 2021 has already shown us, anything is possible.

Selfie of yours truly in my old, red, bought at a thrift store Columbia jacket. I also happen, incidentally, to be wearing a promotional shirt underneath for the grocery store I work at.

Please ask me who I am wearing if the trophy ends up in my hands, because like Sanders, I have no problem giving props to a local company that employs people here at home who are also supporting families.

What may surprise you the most: how many films are nominated annually simultaneously at the Razzies and the Oscars, which relates to another old adage: “Opinions are like assholes, and they all stink”. If you want to succeed in media, take it from someone who jot his first job at a radio station 40 years ago as an unpaid intern: you have to have thick skin, work hard, tough it out and stick to your guns. And, to all of you out there: if you don’t like to hear the criticism of your favorite celebrity of any stripe, then stop reinforcing and perpetuating everything else in the industry except the things that ruffle your feathers.

Halle Berry accepting the Worst Actress Award at the 2005 Razzies. She also happens to be holding up her Oscar in the other hand. Courtesy of the Golden Raspberries.

In 2005, Halle Berry accepted her Razzie for Worst Actress for the titular role in Catwoman at the ceremony with a truly amazing and hilarious speech that received a standing ovation, illustrating that there is no bad publicity and that you can control the narrative over other people’s opinions of your work. Mind you, this Razzie speech was a parody of her own acceptance speech for a previous year’s Oscar. The best part, of course, was she conceded it was a terrible role in a terrible film. Every person blows it from to time.

Pass the popcorn, and get ready for 14 tracks that, more than likely, you have forgotten, and for good reason. But hey, that’s showbiz!

First Part

  • 1982, Pumpin’ and Blowin’, Kristy McNichol, The Pirate Movie
  • 1995, Walk into the Wind (edit), William Shockley, Showgirls
  • 1988, Jack Fresh, Full Force, Caddyshack II
  • 1997, Once This Was The Promised Land, John Coinman, The Postman
  • 1990, He’s Comin’ Back (The Devil), Chris LeVar, Repossessed
  • 1981, Baby Talk, Dave Frishberg, Paternity
  • 1993, Addams Family Whoomp!, Tag Team, Addams Family Values

Second Part

  • 1980, The Man with Bogart’s Face, Armando Compean, The Man with Bogart’s Face
  • 1984, Drinkenstein, Sylvester Stallone, Rhinestone
  • 1987, I Want Your Sex, George Michael, Beverly Hills Cop 2
  • 1992, High Times, Hard Times, Ann Margaret/Cast, Newsies
  • 1998, I Wanna Be Mike Ovitz!, Magic Kingdom, An Alan Smithee Film Burn Hollywood Burn
  • 1986, Love or Money, Prince, Under the Cherry Moon

Finale

  • 1989, Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter, Bruce Dickinson, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Love to you all.

Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr. 
Host, Show Producer, Webmaster, Audio Engineer, Researcher, Videographer and Writer

Instagram: brownjr.ben
Twitter: @BenBrownJunior
LinkedIn: benbrownjunior
Design Site: aospdx.com

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