[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 24 February 2007, 12:20 GMT
Blowing raspberries at Tinseltown
By Victoria Lindrea
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

John Wilson
Wilson urges Razzie winners to "embrace" the awards
A common perception of John Wilson, the jovial creator of the Golden Raspberry Awards - the annual celebration of the worst films of the year - is that he is anti-Hollywood.

But the 52-year-old copywriter and publicist insists this is not the case.

"The Razzies don't come from a place of hatred," Wilson told the BBC News website. "I love a good movie, but I also want to have a good time."

"My parents were raised during the Depression and movies meant a lot to them. I got a real sense of the value of movies and an appreciation of them from both of my parents," says the former UCLA film graduate.

But these days, Wilson believes Hollywood takes itself - and particularly the Oscars - "too seriously".

"I still watch the Oscars, but they get more excruciating every year because they don't understand why people like me want to watch it. They try to keep it so controlled and so perfect, that it becomes sterile - and it really should be fun."

Cardboard podium

Wilson's own awards ceremony, now in its 27th year, grew out of a "pot luck" dinner party he used to throw for his friends on Oscar night.

"I was looking for something to do when the show was over, because in LA they end by 10pm. So I set up a cardboard podium in my living room, put a foam ball on a broomstick to create a microphone and just asked people to make random award presentations."

Halle Berry
You rarely see that kind of honesty in Hollywood
John Wilson on Halle Berry's appearance at the Razzies

Such was the success of his after-dinner antics that the following year Wilson issued a press release of the nominations that was picked up by a couple of local papers.

By the fourth year, CNN and two of the three major wire services were covering the amateur ceremony.

It was also the year that Wilson surmised that if he scheduled the awards wisely, he could have the world's press at his doorstep.

"We finally figured out you couldn't compete with the Oscars on Oscar night, but if you went the night before, when the press from all over the world are here and they are looking for something to do, it could well catch on.

"This is a joke that doesn't need to be translated, everybody gets it," he adds.

"Fifty million people watch that ridiculous show, and if you are going to do satire you need to pick something that everybody knows."

'Deliberately tacky'

But even he continues to be "amazed" by the global interest in the annual makeshift ceremony, which has more than a whiff of a school production.

"Apparently we are very unpopular in India this year because we nominated M Night Shyamalan - one of their favourite sons," he explains.

Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 2
Sharon Stone is nominated for worst actress for Basic Instinct 2
The Sixth Sense director Shyamalan is nominated for Lady in the Water, but he is by no means the ceremony's only target.

The Sharon Stone sequel Basic Instinct 2 and the Wayans brothers comedy Little Man lead the field, each with seven nominations.

Steered by Wilson's shortlist of the worst films of the year, the awards are voted for by 750 international members, comprising film critics, members of the industry and frequent film-goers.

"We copy the look of a traditional awards show, but the show is deliberately low-end and tacky," says Wilson, who scripts the ceremony himself.

"Why would you mount a glamorous ceremony about films like Basic Instinct 2 and The Wicker Man?" he asks, reasonably.

Favourite moment

The event is still trading off Oscar winner Halle Berry's unexpected appearance at the ceremony two years ago.

"Berry was brilliant," says Wilson, recalling the 2005 ceremony.

Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven
Mommie Dearest (1981)
The Lonely Lady (1983)
Showgirls (1995)
"My respect for her just grew by leaps and bounds when she came out on the stage - doing a parody of her own Oscar speech, with her Oscar in one hand and her Razzie in the other.

"I received a phone call about 24 hours before the show, alerting me to the fact that she was going to turn up, but one of the conditions was I was sworn to secrecy.

"I only told my wife and even she didn't believe me.

"Standing on the stage watching the audience reaction when she showed up was my favourite moment in the history of the Razzies."

Star appearances

Berry isn't the only star to have braved public scorn and collected her award. Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven and comedian Tom Green, nominated for his role in 2004's Freddy Got Fingered, have both turned up at the ceremony in previous years.

And Bill Cosby belatedly acknowledged his win for Leonard: Part Six by flying the Razzie team to his home in Lake Tahoe to present the award.

"Clearly I have a vested interest, but I think it's much smarter to embrace the award - face it head on and put it behind you," says Wilson.

But he remains non-committal about the celebrity potential of this year's ceremony.

"We have put out feelers to the two top acting winners. One of them used to have a sense of humour, but we don't know if they still do. The other one is supposed to be a comedian."

I'll let you know.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific