Ah, ‘tis that time of year again in old Hollywoodland, when careers hang in the balance like a long-forgotten ham. Yes, the most important film awards of the year are finally here.
And as the minutes pass, the tension mounts. Beads of Echinacea-scented sweat trickle elegantly down immaculately-botoxed foreheads, agents and producers scan the television screens through dense cigar smoke for the first signs of success or disaster, writers and directors induce heart attacks to cope with the unbearable pressure.
In this moment, the ultra-competitive US movie industry comes together, as one, in a single desire - to lose.
Yes, this isn’t the show-boating modesty of the Oscars, this is the down-to-earth honest brutality of the Razzies, or to give it its official title, the Golden Raspberry Awards, an antidote for anyone trying to avoid the sanctimonious back-slapping of the Academy.
They are awarded, like the Oscars, for distinction in the field of movie making however, the distinction is certainly used in the pejorative, Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor, “they spent $120m on THAT?” sense.
Winning a Razzie is a defining moment in any star’s career, and the definition is crap.
This year, Sharon Stone is an almost shoo-in for worst actress in Basic Instinct 2 (or Basically, It Stinks Too) and has the chance of a double whammy, since her ‘lopsided breasts’ are up for the least convincing screen couple award.
The worst actor Razzie is a far more closely-fought affair with Oscar winner Nicolas Cage battling it out with Tim “does he ever read the script first?” Allen, Rob “I’ll do anything for money anything” Schneider, the Wayans Brothers (who prove that double the fun certainly does not mean double the pleasure) and Larry the Cable Guy, a ‘comic’ actor so awesomely bad that he dare not use his own name for fear of reprisals from disgruntled movie-goers.
It would also be a sad day if Uwe Boll, considered by pretty much everyone with the vaguest amount of electrical activity in their brain to be the worst director on Earth, did not get a nomination, and the Razzies rarely disappoint.
This year he is up for the mortally-embarrassing Bloodrayne. Ordinarily this cinematic Jonah would walk to the title, but there is meaty competition in the forms of Hollywood heavyweights Ron Howard and M. Night Shyamalan.
Bloodrayne is also up for worst film, against the execrable Little Man, the downright soggy Lady in the Water, the aforementioned Sharon Stone vehicle (a bike, one might suggest) and the frankly evil remake of The Wicker Man.
Although many Hollywood types are too self-obsessed and litigious to allow humour to be directed at them, some major stars have shown a remarkable willingness to take it on the chin.
Halle Berry, winner of an Oscar for Monster’s Ball in 2002, graciously showed up at the comparatively low-rent Razzies in 2004 to collect her award for Catwoman.
And scriptwriter Brian Helgeland, who became the first person to win a Razzie and an Oscar in the same year (for The Postman and LA Confidential respectively) is rumoured to keep his trophies side by side on his mantelpiece to ‘remind him of the Quixotic nature of Hollywood.’
So it seems the two events can live in harmony with each other after all the businesslike Yin and mischievous Yang of Sunset Boulevard.