Razzies Respond To Backlash Over Child Star Nomination

Razzies co-founder John Wilson has now apologized for nominating child actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong for Worst Actress.

By Jessica Scott | Updated


The Golden Raspberry Awards – better known as the Razzies – have been a cinematic tradition for over 40 years. Usually, they’re good for a laugh… but not when they nominate a child star for the Worst Actress award. The entire internet seems to be up in arms about the criticism of the now-12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong, which is not the reaction co-founder John Wilson was hoping for.

According to Buzzfeed News, he said: “The intent was to be funny. In this particular instance, we seem to have misstepped very badly. I would admit that.”

It was a very ill-timed joke in our modern society that is famous for its inability to take one, and the Razzies are paying for it. The nomination was revoked eventually, but the damage has already been done. Numerous current and former child actors are speaking out on Armstrong’s behalf, with Julian Hilliard of WandaVision saying “The razzies are already mean-spirited and classless, but to nominate a kid is just repulsive and wrong.”

Numerous Twitter users outside the acting business have also criticized the Razzies, with one calling for them to just “shut it all down” and end the already controversial awards ceremony altogether. Others call the Razzies “despicable” and called them out for “publicly [humiliating] a child.”

This is not the first time the Razzies have caused a stir by nominating a child for an “award” (can we really call it that?). In 1999, Jake Lloyd was nominated for Worst Actor for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, and Macaulay Culkin was nominated an unbelievable three times in 1995 for Richie Rich, The Pagemaster, and Getting Even with Dad

ryan kiera armstrong firestarter razzies

Twitter users assert that it is press like this that can ruin not just child actors’ careers, but their lives. Macaulay Culkin struggled with drugs when his skyrocketing fame abruptly ended in the 1990s, and the Razzies did not help the bullying Jake Lloyd was already receiving after his Star Wars role. This bullying led him to retire from acting in 2001 at just 12 years old and may possibly have contributed to his extensive legal and mental health troubles ever since.

You obviously can’t blame the Razzies for everything that happens in a young actor’s life. But as another child actor Devon Sawa points out, this kind of thing could definitely get “in their head” and make them believe that they aren’t good enough to pursue their passion for acting. 

It would be different if the actor nominated was an adult, who could potentially see the “accolade” as a joke. Halle Berry, for example, is one of the very few celebrities who actually attended the Razzies to accept her dubious honor in 2004, when she won Worst Actress for Catwoman. Instead of taking it personally, she made an acceptance speech in which she agreed with the judges (and much of the viewing public) that the film was “a piece-of-shit, godawful movie.”

While Firestarter, the film that led to Ryan Kiera Armstrong’s nomination, was also widely categorized by reviewers as being pretty Razzie-worthy, it is generally agreed on social media that blaming the young star for the shortcomings of the film itself is in poor taste. Yes, the film was, as Rolling Stone put it, a “four-alarm disaster,” but “Armstrong did her best in a mostly impossible role.”

The Razzies are not known for their kindness and understanding, but the organizers did eventually withdraw Armstrong’s nomination in response to all the backlash. The withdrawal of her name also came with an apology, but it’s not the first time and certainly won’t be the last time the controversial awards show comes under fire for its judges’ decision-making. 

Just last year, for instance, the organizers had to take back a “mock honor” they awarded to Bruce Willis, who had been diagnosed with aphasia, a medical condition that led to his inability to communicate and his retirement from the acting business. 

Is there a Razzie award for the worst Razzie award decision?