The Razzies Have An Unfortunate History Of Nominating Child Actors

The foundation behind the Golden Raspberry Awards, aka the Razzies, finally did away with its long-standing "all ages" policy for its nominees following a public outcry over the recent nomination of 12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong for worst actress. Sadly, the young "Firestarter" star isn't the first child actor to be given a humiliating nod at the award show since its 1981 inception. The Razzies actually have a long and embarrassing history of propping up kids under the age of 18 for ridiculous things like worst new star or worst supporting actress. And people are starting to finally take notice.

"Just a reminder that it isn't the first time the Razzies Awards ruined a child actor's life," said Twitter user @Crimson_Mayhem in a tweet that's been liked and retweeted over 800 times. "So many young children," wrote @F0URlNWINTER. "I can't even imagine how it negatively affected them." 

Over the years, creator John Wilson and his Golden Raspberry Foundation have gotten together to showcase hundreds of actors and film projects for what they deem to be terrible cinematic performances. The 43rd annual Razzie nominations saw Armstrong being put up alongside Alicia Silverstone for "The Requin," Bryce Dallas Howard for "Jurassic World Dominion," Diane Keaton for "Mack & Rita," and Kaya Scodelario, for "The King's Daughter." However, Armstrong was later removed following an apology and public statement from Wilson, who should probably also extend that remorse to all the other child actors who got Razzie nominations over the years. And boy, was the Golden Raspberry Foundation cruel to some.

A teenage Brooke Shields was nominated for her 1980 film The Blue Lagoon

Nominated at the very first Razzies in 1981, Brooke Shields became the unfortunate poster child for young Razzie nominees after being crowned worst actress for her performance in Randal Kleiser's coming-of-age shipwreck drama "The Blue Lagoon." Movie fans have long hated and trashed the Razzies' decision to award Shields with such a cruel honor, on account of the film's sensitive subject matter and her being just 14 when it was shot. 

"She was a child in a highly sexualized role and the Razzies just went, 'LOL she sucks,'" wrote movie critic Kayleigh Donaldson in a February 2021 tweet. 

For Shields, making "The Blue Lagoon" was extremely awkward for her on account of her young age and some of the scenes she was filming with co-star Christopher Atkins, who was 18 at the time. "It wouldn't be allowed," she said in a December 2022 "Now What?" podcast episode about making "The Blue Lagoon" today (via USA Today). "They wanted us so desperately to fall in love with each other," Shields remembered. "And I didn't react well to being forced into feeling anything. I wanted to sort of be left a little bit to my own."

Looking back, "The Blue Lagoon" may not be the best movie in the world — or even a good one for that matter. But to declare Shields as the worst actress of 1980 for it after everything she had to go through as a teenager to make such a revealing and personal movie is pretty harsh. And sadly, it would continue to happen for years to come.

Nine-year-old Mara Hobel received nominations in two different categories for Mommie Dearest

Earning nominations for worst new star and worst supporting actress, young actor Mara Hobel, who played film legend Joan Crawford's (Faye Dunaway) daughter Christina in "Mommie Dearest," received her embarrassing nods at the second annual Razzies in 1982, where she was beat out for both. Hobel is one of the youngest screen stars to ever be nominated by the Golden Raspberry Foundation, and fans have yet to forget.

"Remember when the Razzies gave 8 year old Mara Hobel, not just one but TWO nominations for playing Christina Crawford in Mommie Dearest — including Worst New Star," said Twitter user @yannhatchuel. "Imagine telling a little girl that she was the WORST person in entertainment that year."

When it came to the case of Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Razzie head John Wilson admitted to making a huge mistake with both her and others in the past, though he didn't mention any other actors by name. "We have never intended to bury anyone's career," Wilson proclaimed in a statement (via Variety). "We all make mistakes, very much us included," he said. "Since our motto is 'Own Your Bad,' we realize that we ourselves must also live up to it." What made Hobel's situation so unique was the fact that the Razzies chose to recognize her for not one, but two separate awards — as if the shame of one Razzie before the age of 10 wasn't enough. 

For our next child nominee on the list, the young screen star also had to endure ridicule in a truly wild way.

Macaulay Culkin was nominated for three different performances in 1995

Macaulay Culkin, star of classic '90s hits like "Home Alone" and "My Girl," saw himself get nominated for worst actor at the 1995 Razzies when he was 14-year-old, and it wasn't just one movie that the poor kid got picked on for. John Wilson and his gang of Golden Raspberry critics called out Culkin for three different films he put out in 1994: "Getting Even with Dad," "The Pagemaster," and "Richie Rich." None of his co-stars were called out, only Culkin. 

"I guess it was much easier to make fun [of] kids back in 1995," Culkin tweeted on January 25, calling out the Razzie Awards' official Twitter page. The decision to finally impose an age limit for Razzie nominees due to the Ryan Kiera Armstrong backlash is something that the former child star obviously hasn't forgotten, and likely never will judging from his Twitter statements. 

"Just gently letting them know that their digs at a 14 year version of me wasn't appreciated," Culkin blasted in another tweet

After making "Richie Rich" and experiencing all the criticism that came with it and his other movies from 1994, Culkin decided to step away from Hollywood and retire from acting. He eventually returned to the movie and TV industry in the 2000s and has starred in a number of different things in recent years, including "American Horror Story: Double Feature" and "The Righteous Gemstones." Not long after Culkin's nomination, another child star was affected greatly by his Razzie Award recognition and the public criticism surrounding the role he played, which was one of the most iconic in movie history.

Jake Lloyd's life became a 'living hell' after getting nominated for playing Anakin in The Phantom Menace

Arguably the most infamous Razzie Award nominee in history, Jake Lloyd of "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace" fame was propped up by the Golden Raspberry Foundation in 2000 for his performance as young Anakin Skywalker. Lloyd was just 9 years old when he took on the gargantuan prequel role from George Lucas, who had selected the child star personally (via Insider). The youngster got hit with more ridicule and criticism than anyone in "Star Wars" history, outside of Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) and Rey Skywalker (Daisy Ridley), perhaps. And his life became torture because of it. 

"My entire school life was really a living hell," Lloyd said in a 2012 interview (via NME). "Other children were really mean to me," he remembered. "They would make the sound of a lightsaber every time they saw me. It was totally mad." Much like the situation Macaulay Culkin was in, Lloyd decided to walk away from acting when he was 12 years old.

Thankfully, no other child actor will have to deal with the low-blow of a Razzie nomination moving forward, but the whole debacle certainly reignites the debate of whether the controversial anti-awards show should exist at all, even for adults.