By Louis Allred

As we close in on the end of the year, Hollywood straps in for the rollercoaster we call “Award Season.” The two biggies are the Oscars and the Golden Globes, but there are many smaller ceremonies at this time, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, and a variety of film festivals. Here at Picktainment, we usually concentrate on those prestigious honors. But one awards ceremony stands apart, and though people usually wait until that ceremony’s nominations are announced before commenting and debating, I feel like we should do some early handicapping for it.

I speak, of course, about the Golden Raspberry Awards, or the Razzies.

These are the awards that purport to honor the worst in filmmaking for the year. So as to highlight their role as the alternate-universe Oscars, the Razzie nominations are announced the day before the Oscar nominations are announced (January 24 next year) and the winners announced the day before the actual Oscar ceremony (February 26). They have a ceremony, with awards (raspberry models spray-painted gold), and sometimes the winners themselves show up (as Sandra Bullock did last year for All About Steve, right before winning the Oscar for The Blind Side).

Now, despite their status as the ceremony to find the worst movies of the year, the Razzies tend mostly toward big-budget disappointments. Though they’ve set their sights on the occasional indie or low-budget film (2006 saw Jenny McCarthy’s virtually unseen passion project Dirty Love win the most awards, and their fatwa against director Uwe Boll is legendary), their main concern is with the wide releases of the year. They sometimes ignore some wonderfully awful pictures; how Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li wasn’t up for at least Chris Klein’s fantastically warped portrayal of Interpol agent Charlie Nash is beyond me. Then again, my friends and I have a side project tracking down such gems, so we’re biased.

Given all that, I’d still like to offer my predictions for the Worst Picture of the Year nominations. Let’s see how right I am come January.

Sex and the City 2

Sex & the City 2 – This sequel initially looked like it would be the Transformers 2 of the chick-flick set. It had a die-hard built-in fan base from the previous film and TV show, which many thought would counteract the terrible reviews it received. But the reviews proved so brutal that the film only opened at #2 and slid off the charts quickly. Charges of racism in the film’s portrayal of the gals’ trip to Abu Dhabi were leveled (Samantha gets thrown in jail for immorality, and a group of Muslim women reveal they are also as obsessed with fashion labels as the gals). It was a sequel even the fangirls didn’t like. This is a lock.

The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender – After the debacles that were Lady in the Water and The Happening (both Razzie multiple-nominees), people may have been wondering if M. Night would bounce back with his next film. It was even an adaptation of a beloved cartoon, so how bad could he mess up? Apparently, quite a bit. Airbender was brutally panned for its lackluster acting and slow pace, and became the poster child for terrible after-the-fact 3D conversions (stealing that title from Clash of the Titans). Much like SATC2, the film pissed off an almost-assured fanbase and had its own charges of racism to deal with (the cast was almost entirely white, save for the villains). It did moderately well at the box office, but that’s never a guarantee of quality – look at last year’s Razzie king, Transformers 2. This was another shameful notch in M. Night’s career, and this is probably more of a lock for a Worst Picture nod than SATC2.

Killers

Killers – This is where I start to go out on a limb a bit. There were so many films this year that, if not terrible, were aggressively mediocre, so it’s hard to fill out the five nominees. For a third choice, I’m going with the Kutcher/Heigl film no one wanted: Killers. Like the previous two choices, critics tore it apart, but unlike those films, it also failed miserably at the box office. This was bad news for Lions Gate as well, since it was their highest-budgeted movie ever at $75 million. (Why a movie like this required $75 million is beyond me.) It also demonstrated that, perhaps, Katherine Heigl isn’t the draw executives so desperately want her to be. Every movie she’s done since Knocked Up has done much worse, with Killers and Life As We Know It (both released this year) bombing badly. Killers was an example of a big-budget film with a lot of promotion completely missing with the public. I’m less sure of this one, but it has to be on the short list.

Vampires Suck

Vampires Suck – This movie has possibly the worst score this year on Rotten Tomatoes, and it earned it. Seltzer and Friedberg have been nominated steadily by the Razzies for their “contributions” to comedy, and I think they’ll get another one here. Like their other “parodies,” the film consists solely of pop-cult references without punchlines and random physical violence and pratfalls substituting for comedy. The movie’s ultimate failing is that it’s a less effective parody of the Twilight movies than the Twilight movies themselves. It’s a shameless example of the idea that teenagers are idiots and will watch anything with a fart joke. Though this may be somewhat true, I’d like for Hollywood to try harder than that.

Furry Vengeance

Furry Vengeance – Though I am confident in my other four choices, the fifth slot was a tough decision; again, there were so many sub-par movies. But I felt the one genre not recognized thus far was “family movie,” and Furry Vengeance fits perfectly. As an example of how badly conceived this film was, when I first saw a commercial for it, I thought it was a joke, a Tropic Thunder-style put-on. But seeing the billboard for it two days later proved that, no, this thing was for real. Possessed of the broadest physical comedy, including crotch shots and bird poop, Furry was the exact image people have in their mind when they think of a “horrible family comedy.” Brendan Fraser screams “MILEY CYRUS!!” right before getting into a car wreck. Case closed.

As for a winner, I’ll pick Last Airbender. It’s the embodiment of so many totems of bad moviemaking: terrible script, lack of fidelity to source material, awful use of 3D, M. Night Shyamalan.

And there were so many other choices available: Adam Sandler’s latest, Grown-Ups; the needless adaptation of Marmaduke; the widely panned horror flicks Saw 3D and My Soul to Take. But (unless the Razzies join the Oscars in expanding to ten film nominees) there are only five slots, and that’s what I’ve picked. They’re not only bad films; they also represent the worst tendencies in Hollywood. Even if the Razzies don’t showcase the absolute worst ideas put to film, they do serve as a way to put Hollywood on notice.

But the Family Circus adaptation is happening, so I guess they won’t learn.