The organizers of The Razzie Awards are listening and taking responsibility — for nominating 12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong for worst actress.
The Razzies have decided to revoke Armstrong’s nomination for her performance in the widely panned Stephen King adaptation, Fire starter. The nomination put the annual celebration/roast of Hollywood’s most questionable films at the center of a fierce backlash, which included criticism from some current and former child actors such as Devon Sawa and Julian Hilliard.
In response, Razzie host John Wilson (not that John Wilson) issued an apology, saying, “Sometimes you do things without thinking, then you get called out for it. Then you get it. That’s why the Razzies were created in the first instance.”
Wilson acknowledged that the nomination of Armstrong was “insensitive” and called the criticism “valid”. There was also a direct apology to Armstrong, with Wilson saying, “(we) regret any harm she experienced as a result of our choices.”
The backlash also seemed to prompt some soul-searching and reform, with Wilson saying that the Razzie Voting Guidelines would now begin “to exclude any performer or filmmaker under the age of 18 from consideration for our awards.”
“We never intended to bury anyone’s career,” Wilson said. “That’s why our Redeemer Award was created. We all make mistakes, most of all ourselves. Since our motto is ‘Own Your Bad’, we realize that we have to live up to it ourselves.
Some would argue that this change to the voting guidelines is long overdue, given that numerous 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, Getting even with dad, Page masterand Richie Rich (he lost to Kevin Costner for Wyatt Earp). More recently, Jake Lloyd, who portrayed a young Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menacewas nominated for worst actor when he was 11. Lloyd later said that the bullying and criticism he received, both from classmates and the press, caused him to leave acting.