The organizers of the Razzie Awards listen and take responsibility – for nominating 12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong for Worst Actress.
The Razzies decided to rescind Armstrong’s nomination for his performance in Stephen King’s full-scale adaptation, Fire starter. The nomination placed the annual celebration of Hollywood’s most questionable movies at the center of a fierce backlash, which included criticism from some current and former child actors, like Devon Sawa and Julien Hilliard.
In response, Razzie organizer John Wilson (not that John Wilson) apologized saying, “Sometimes you do things without thinking and then you get called out for it. So you get it. This is why the Razzies were created in the first place.
Wilson acknowledged Armstrong’s nomination was “insensitive” and called the criticism “valid”. There was also a direct apology to Armstrong, with Wilson saying, “[W]We regret any injury she suffered as a result of our choices.
The backlash also seemed to spur a bit of soul-searching and reform, with Wilson stating that the Razzie voting guidelines would now begin to “prevent any artist or filmmaker under the age of 18 from being considered for our awards”.
“We never intended to bury anyone’s career,” Wilson said. “This is why our Redeemer Award was created. We all make mistakes, ourselves included. Since our motto is ‘Own Your Bad’, we realize that we ourselves have to rise to the occasion.”
Some would probably say that this change to the voting guidelines is long overdue, given that many child actors have been nominated for Razzies over the years. Gary Coleman was nominated in 1982 when he was 14, while Macaulay Culkin received the Worst Actor nomination in 1995 for three films, revenge on dad, The Pagemasterand Richie Rich (he lost to Kevin Costner for Wyatt Earp). More recently, Jake Lloyd, who played a young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menacewas nominated for Worst Actor at the age of 11. Lloyd later said that the bullying and criticism he received, both from classmates and the press, prompted him to quit acting.