You’ll likely read several headlines today proclaiming that streaming services were the real winners at this year’s Oscars ceremony – and that statement is, for the most part, true.
The race for Best Picture was closely-fought between Apple’s CODA and Netflix’s (opens in new tab) The Power of the Dog, with the latter’s Don’t Look Up also ranking among the ten nominees for Hollywood’s most prestigious accolade. The acting categories, too, featured awards-worthy turns in streamer-produced movies The Lost Daughter, tick, tick...BOOM! and The Tragedy of Macbeth.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Yes, this year’s on-demand Oscar winners (CODA, in particular) meant the 94th Academy Awards were a watershed moment for filmmaking, but it’s important to remember that streaming services are still finding their feet when it comes to releasing consistently brilliant features.
Lest we forget Diana: The Musical, now officially the worst film of 2021.
The day before the Oscars, the Golden Raspberry Awards (otherwise known as the Razzies) bestowed upon Netflix’s filmed version of the Broadway show the title of Worst Picture. In a rare scenario, then, the streamer was simultaneously fighting for awards recognition at both ends of the quality spectrum.
Incidentally, Diana: The Musical – an all-singing, all-dancing take on the life of Diana, Princess of Wales – also saw actress Jeanna de Waal bag a Razzie for her performance as the titular princess, just 24 hours before Benedict Cumberbatch vied for a Best Actor Oscar.
Of course, we write this article with our tongue in our cheeks. All things considered, streamers have been a god-send for film-lovers in the age of the pandemic, and the likes of Netflix, Apple TV Plus and Prime Video (distributor of excellent pictures such as Manchester By the Sea and Beautiful Boy) will, we hope and expect, continue producing high-quality cinema for years to come.
But it’s also easy to get lost in the noise around streamer-funded productions.
Despite the critical success of films like The Power of the Dog, a Netflix badge under a movie's title is by no means an automatic marker of merit in 2022, and although Diana: The Musical doesn't strictly fall into the category of Netflix originals (being a filmed version of Joe DiPietro's existing show), it’s worth remembering that gargantuan budgets mean streaming services have the financial freedom to throw innumerable projects at the wall in the hope that just a handful stick.
What else won Razzies this year?
Still, it can be refreshing to step back from the Oscars flattery for a moment and admire the less critically-beloved of recent movies. So, which films joined Diana: The Musical on the (non-existent) Razzies stage this year?
Well, LeBron James’ historic success on the basketball court didn’t translate to on-screen success for his Warner Bros. movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy. The iconic athlete scooped a Worst Actor Razzie for his portrayal of himself (ouch…) in a movie that was widely panned for its over-reliance on (and over-promotion of) its studio’s intellectual property.
Speaking of which, the gong for Worst Screen Couple went to James and “any Warner cartoon character (or WarnerMedia product) he dribbles on,” which rather hammers home the above assessment of A New Legacy’s quality.
Elsewhere, Jared Leto – who had initially featured in conversations about this year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominees – was awarded the Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor, while Bruce Willis was given the honor of his own category: Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 Movie.
The one-time action hero took home the above award for his role in sci-fi romp Cosmic Sin – if you haven’t seen it, consider yourself lucky.
Correction: March 28, 2022
The headline to an earlier version of this article read: Don’t forget Netflix also made the worst movie of the year. Netflix did not write or produce Diana: The Musical, rather released a filmed version of Joe DiPietro's existing Broadway show under the Netflix banner.
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