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 withdraw Armstrong’s nomination for her role in the widely publicized Stephen King adaptation, Fire starter. The nomination placed the annual celebration of Hollywood’s most dubious films at the center of a fierce backlash, including criticism from some current and former child actors, such as Devon Sawa and Julian Hillard.
In response, Razzie organizer 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 made in the first place.”
Wilson acknowledged that nominating Armstrong was “insensitive” and called the criticism “founded”. There was also a direct apology to Armstrong, with Wilson saying: “[W]We regret all the pain she experienced as a result of our choices.
The backlash also seemed to prompt a bit of self-examination and reform, with Wilson saying the Razzie voting guidelines would now begin to “exclude any artist or filmmaker under the age of 18 from being eligible for our awards.”
“It was never our intention to bury anyone’s career,” said Wilson. “That is why our Redeemer Award was created. We all make mistakes, a lot of us too. Since our motto is “Own Your Bad”, we realize that we have to live up to it ourselves.”
Some would likely argue that this change to voting guidelines is long overdue, as 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 paid with daddy, 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 when he was 11. Lloyd later said that the bullying and criticism he received, both from classmates and the press, drove him to retire from acting.