The 2018 Razzie nominations were announced early Monday morning, January 22, on the eve of the Oscar nominations. The Razzies have been “honoring” the worst movies of the year for 38 years now, so there must be some kind of misprint because they accidentally nominated one of the better movies of the last year, “Mother!” It’s up for Worst Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Worst Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem), and Worst Director (Darren Aronofsky). What gives, Razzie voters? Check out the complete list of nominations here.
I know, I know, “Mother!” was an extremely divisive film, a bizarre horror movie with strange religious symbolism in which an unnamed husband and wife (Bardem and Lawrence) renovate a house only to have their lives invaded by strangers, and such an unusual film understandably struggled at the box office when it was released last September. But judging from the reviews more people liked it than not. It was rated 69% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, which means its supporters outnumbered its detractors two-to-one. It did even better on MetaCritic with a score of 75; out of 51 reviews counted there, 35 for positive, 15 were mixed, and only one was outright negative.
But critics are outliers, you might be thinking. They’re inherently more open to avant garde films like “Mother!” But the online user ratings are also fairly generous compared to what you’d expect for a Razzie contender. Out of more than 22,000 ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, 50% of users liked it. On IMDb it currently has an average rating of 6.8 based on the input of more than 89,000 users. And the average MetaCritic user rating is 6.9 out of 10, with 430 positive scores and only 135 negative ones.
So here’s a film that was liked by most critics and, depending on which scale you use, at least half of audiences. But now it’s nominated for Razzies alongside “Transformers,” “Fifty Shades Darker,” and “Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween.”
I was fascinated by “Mother!” when I heard the early reactions — the negative reviews were as intriguing as the positive ones. And then I was equally fascinated when I saw it, moved and unsettled by how it seemed to interpret Biblical myths from the point of view of a wife and mother made to suffer by her artist husband and his visitors. I’m not sure if I’m “right” about the film’s point of view on religion any more than I could tell you what on Earth “Twin Peaks: The Return” was really about, but I loved the mysteries of both, scrutable and inscrutable. And it’s not even out of character for Aronofsky when you consider some of his unconventional past films like “Pi,” “The Fountain,” and “Black Swan.”
I appreciate the Razzies thinking outside the box and not just singling out their usual targets like Adam Sandler and Michael Bay, but there were a large number of poorly received films that were entirely spared by Razzie voters. So why pick on “Mother!”? She’s clearly been through enough.
Be sure to make your Razzie predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 3. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Razzie Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.