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Sunday, February 27, 2005

OT: They Had A Halle Of A Time At The Razzies

Sure, the Oscars get better press, better turnout from the stars, and actual TV coverage, but the Razzies are a necessary force in Hollywood. Skewering Tinseltown's trash for a quarter century, previous "winners" have but rarely showed up to accept their "awards". But last night, the usually unkempt affair was shocked when nominal A-lister Halle Berry actually showed up to accept her award, and made, according to those present, a delightful acceptance speech. I here excerpt from an e-mail forwarded by Craig Miller, who witnessed the thing:
Being a major anniversary for them, rather than being in an overcrowded hotel ballroom, as they frequently are, this year the Razzies were held in the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood. Despite the larger venue -- probably double the size of most years' sites -- dozens of people were turned away.

The show started -- as usual -- with a musical number. This year it was "Lame", sung to the tune of "Fame", and served to describe what typical Razzie winners are.

The show is always cheeky, with most of the humor coming during the announcements of nominees in each category from a reading of some of the most scathing review quotes imaginable for each nominated film (all given with citations of their sources).

Very rarely do "winners" show up to collect their awards. I can only recall two instances. ... But last night's show was different. First, one of the writers of Catwoman was in the audience and came on stage to accept the award for Worst Screenplay. The applause (and astonishment) for his being there was so loud, I'm not sure which writer it was. I could make out his first name but, there being two writers in the credits named John, I'm not sure if he was John Brancato or John Rogers. I think the former. He went on to thank the 27 other writers who worked on the screenplay and his accountant, who had let him know about some financial crisis that made his participation mandatory.

Later in the evening, Julie Newmar, the original Catwoman on the 1960s TV version of Batman, came on stage to accept the Worst Picture award (to Catwoman) "on behalf of the producers". I don't think the producers actually sent her. She gave an amusing, if disjointed, acceptance speech, including surprise that she's never been invited before. She went on to mention some of her performances that might have elicited a Razzie win.

But the highlight of the evening, bringing the audience to its feet, was when John Wilson, founder of the Razzies and a member of the award show cast, announced that the award for Worst Actress (Halle Berry, in Catwoman) was being accepted by Halle Berry.

He pointed offstage, into the wings, and the audience didn't know what to expect. The writer is one thing but... There was a pause and we were kind of expecting one of the show cast -- probably Chip Dornell, the Black male cast member -- to come on stage in a wig and costume to do some kind of parody.

But, holy crap, it really was Halle Berry.

She gave a great speech.

She came out carrying her Oscar, took the Golden Raspberry Award in her other hand, and gave the opening few moments of her breathless, shocked Oscar speech. And then went into remarks for us. I can't remember everything she said but, among them, she thanked Warner Bros. for putting her into "a piece of crap movie". She thanked her manager, who she brought out on stage, and told him, next time he recommends she do a picture, he should read the script and not just the number of zeroes after the one. She admitted that her acting in it was terrible and, in a parody of frequent award show comments, said that acting as bad as hers was doesn't happen in a vacuum. It required bad acting from dozens of other actors. And she brought on stage an actor named Alex Borstein who appeared in Catwoman with her. They did a bit with Borstein (who is female) staring at Berry's very visible cleavage while she spoke.

Berry culminated her speech by saying that, when she was young, her mother gave her some advice which can be summed up as "If you can't accept criticism, you aren't worthy of praise; if you can't lose gracefully, you don't deserve to win." Berry talked about how she started out in beauty pagents and she won the first three pagents she entered. Her fourth pagent was Miss USA and it came down to her and "this gorgeous, buxom blonde". Berry knew she wasn't going to win. And, sure enough, the blonde was the winner. In her mind, she knew her mother's advice. She should think kindly of the winner. But, deep down, she "just wanted to bitch slap that girl's face". She continued: "And I just want to bitch slap all of your faces but," she took a deep breath, "No. I remember my mother's advice. I'll accept this award gratefully and hope I never see you people again."

And with that, she walked back into the wings to a standing ovation. The speech was in no way bitter and she, several times, blamed herself for what she did. She also said that, "if I ever get another acting job," now the Oscar winner pressure is off her, so she's glad for this.

Berry, whose previous work ran from brilliant to mediocre, and with Catwoman, to craptacular (okay, so I didn't see it -- even the trailers stank), won an Oscar just last year for Monster's Ball. That statuette, we now know, will add another four years to her life according to Canadian researchers. It makes one optimistic that Berry's learned something from this, and more, is a good sport, a genuine rarity in Hollywood.

I'm now thinking about the inevitable makeup commercials that Hillary Swank will end up in. I mean, she's got two of those little gold bastards now, so will that make her a new Revlon girl, or Bond girl, or, um, any other female superhero in tight, tight suits?
Depends on whether she's got an agent fixated on the dollars or not.
BTW, Alex Borstein is a regular on "Mad TV". She's pretty good.

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