At the 42nd annual Razzies awards this year, Bruce Willis received his own special category: “Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 movie.”
Willis — and only Willis — was nominated eight times, for movies ranging from “American Siege” to “Midnight in the Switchgrass.” The actor ultimately won for his performance in “Cosmic Sin,” a sci-fi movie in which Willis plays a leading role.
But only days after the Razzies handed out the award, Willis’s family announced that the star was stepping away from acting after he was diagnosed with aphasia, a condition that can affect a person’s ability to understand and produce language.
In response, organisers of the spoof award program on Thursday rescinded Willis’s honour, saying it is inappropriate in light of Willis’s diagnosis.
“After much thought and consideration, the Razzies have made the decision to rescind the Razzie Award given to Bruce Willis, due to his recently disclosed diagnosis,” Razzies co-founders John Wilson and Maureen Murphy said in a statement provided to news outlets. “If someone’s medical condition is a factor in their decision making and/or their performance, we acknowledge that it is not appropriate to give them a Razzie.”
The organisation did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.
The Golden Raspberry Awards, most often referred to as the Razzies, got started in 1981 as a way to honour cinema’s worst films and performances. “Winners” are selected via popular vote by Razzies members and announced ahead of the Oscars. Over its four decades of lampooning Hollywood, the Razzies have been criticised as mean-spirited and out-of-touch.
Wilson told Vulture in a recent interview that Willis’s category came about after his name kept popping up on worst-of-the-year lists.
“His pictures were pretty low-profile; I think they all went directly to streaming,” Wilson told Vulture. “But when we checked his IMDb filmography and saw, Wow, he was actually in eight movies that came out in a single year, that is a Razzie record.”
On Wednesday, several days after the Razzies announced Willis’s “worst performance” award, Willis’s daughter wrote in an Instagram post that Willis, 67, was recently diagnosed with aphasia and it “is impacting his cognitive abilities.”
“This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support,” Rumer Willis wrote.
But that day, Razzies organisers appeared to keep poking fun at the actor. “The Razzies are truly sorry for #BruceWillis diagnosed condition,” they tweeted. “Perhaps this explains why he wanted to go out with a bang in 2021. Our best wishes to Bruce and family.”
The tweet sparked criticism and questions about whether the Razzies would rescind the award, IndieWire reported. At first, Wilson and Murphy appeared resistant to the idea, the Wrap reported.
“Whoever handles Willis’ affairs should probably not have permitted him to do such a high volume of work in such a short time, especially if they were aware of his situation,” the co-founders told the Wrap. “In Willis’ defence, his reps should have kept a better eye on his legacy.”
But on Thursday, Wilson and Murphy announced their decision to rescind the award. They also said they rescinded the 42-year-old nomination of Shelley Duvall for her performance in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining,” citing “Kubrick’s treatment of her throughout the production.”
As of early Friday morning, Willis’s nominations and award were still listed on the Razzies website.