"Technical Difficulties" Leave Some to Wonder If the Razzies Are Rigged

A voter who sent a PDF of all the voting tallies says they don't seem to match the noms announced in a Jan. 20 press release.
Getty Images; iStock
Do Johnny Depp (second from left) and Bruce Willis (third from left) deserve their Razzie noms?

It's not exactly Envelopegate, but people are beginning to wonder whether maybe the Razzies are fixed. This year's nominees for the Golden Raspberry Awards — honoring the worst in cinema since 1981 — include turns by Amber Heard in London Fields and John Travolta in Gotti.

But The Hollywood Reporter received an anonymous tip from a Razzie voter who sent a PDF of all the voting tallies, and the source alleges that the voting is suspicious. “The guy who runs the Razzies left the ballot results open after the voting ended,” says the source, who noticed that the “final” ballot contained movies and performances that did not receive enough votes to land in the top five of vote getters. “Cleary [co-founder] John Wilson just picks whatever he wants. Razzie voters are paying members who expect some sort of integrity in the voting process,” adds the source.

The source handed over a copy of the ballot, dated Jan. 14, six days ahead of when final nominations were announced Jan. 20. For example, in the category of Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel, Fifty Shades Freed received the most amount of votes, but that installment was not included among the nominees. The shark attack pic The Meg received enough votes for 11th place but is included among the top five nominees. In the Worst Actor category, Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Freed) and Kevin Spacey (Billionaire Boys Club) both got enough votes to be included but did not make the final cut and instead were replaced by Bruce Willis (Death Wish) and Johnny Depp (Sherlock Gnomes). 

Another voter voiced concerns in the Razzies' own members discussion forum, blasting the organization and Wilson. “The nominations are fixed by a biased creep with a bitter political agenda who has no shame in stealing $25-40 from voters,” reads the post.

THR reached out to Razzies founder Wilson, who attributed the criticisms to a bad apple. He does admit, however, that the organization suffered through some technical glitches as voting came to a close. "We did have technical difficulties about a day or two into the voting, when a safety certificate expired that prevented us from accessing the results. It was resolved at the last moment," Wilson tells THR. "We were able to get a final tally that does not agree with what this person was posting. He was very disgruntled and wants to cause us trouble. If that’s his agenda, he is living it out very clearly."

As for why certain nominees appeared on the final roster, Wilson suggests that the technical glitch caused a last minute surge in some categories which pushed up particular nominations. He did not discount his own power over the final list, however. "I have influence because some years, like this year, we had 20 possible suggested contenders for supporting actors. Yes, I whittle that list down," he explains. "But we are satisfied with the results we got and the resolution of this issue." 

In all, the organization has more than 1,000 members globally. The Razzies, typically held the day before the Oscars, will be presented at a ceremony on Feb. 23.

A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.