Many viewers criticized the organizers of the Golden Raspberry for nominating 12-year-old child actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong for the category of Worst Actress.
The Golden Raspberry Awards event is held exactly one day before the Oscars ceremony (on March 12), as usual. This yearly event, which aims to “discover” the worst movies and actors of the year, is as eagerly anticipated.
However, there was controversy when 12-year-old child actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong was nominated for Worst Actress. Ryan Kiera Armstrong co-starred in the film Firestarter with actor Zac Efron.
Firestarter is the second adaptation of the 1980 novel of the same name by Stephen King, about a girl with the power to control fire. In the 1984 film version, Armstrong’s character was played by Drew Barrymore. “Nobody here knows what they’re doing and, more importantly, why they’re doing it,” said a Guardian’s film critic.
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone called the film a “Four-Alarm Disaster”, but still gave encouragement to the 12-year-old child star: “Armstrong does her best in a mostly impossible role.”
Many fans felt it was cruel for Armstrong to be named in the Golden Raspberry.
Julian Hilliard – Child actor famous through the movie WandaVision, The Haunting of Hill House, spoke on Twitter: “The razzies are already mean-spirited & classless, but to nominate a kid is just repulsive & wrong. Why put a kid at risk of increased bullying or worse? Be better”
Some pointed out that this is not the first time the Golden Raspberry has been involved in a similar scandal. In the past, many child actors have been nominated such as Jake Lloyd for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), actor Macaulay Culkin – who was nominated three times in 1995 for Getting Even With Dad, The Pagemaster and Richie Rich.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, John Wilson, co-founder of the Golden Raspberry Awards, said about 1,100 members voted for Armstrong in fifth place. They are still debating whether to include Armstrong on the list of nominees because of her age. In the end, they decided to respect the results and said, “Ryan Kiera Armstrong is an experienced actress, even when she’s 12 years old.”
John Wilson had defended the nomination of Armstrong, calling the backlash “overblown.” However, he admitted the group had “misstepped very badly” in its efforts to be “funny.”
Last year, the Golden Raspberry Awards decided to cancel the “Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 Movie award” after the actor’s family revealed that he was struggling with a speech disorder due to brain damage, losing the ability to communicate.