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Razzies Apologize After Nominating 12-Year-Old for Worst Actress

Child actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong starred in the 2022 remake of Firestarter.

The Razzies are far from a respected award show considering they award the "worst" movies and performances of the year, but one of this year's nominations was considered by many to be shockingly cruel, even for the parody organization. The Razzies—aka the Golden Raspberry Awards—nominated 12-year-old child actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong for Worst Actress for her role in the sci-fi remake Firestarter. Backlash was swift, and the creator of the Razzies has now apologized and implemented a new rule for the awards going forward. Read on to find out more about the scandal.

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Armstrong and her movie were both nominated.

Armstrong starred in Firestarter, which is about a girl who has the power of pyrokinesis. It's based on a book by Stephen King and is a remake of the 1984 film starring a young Drew Barrymore. In addition to Armstrong being nominated for Worst Actress, the film was nominated for Worst Remake, Rip-off, or Sequel.

The child actor's other credits include It Chapter Two, Black Widow, and The Tomorrow War.

Supporters defended Armstrong on social media.

Many people spoke out denouncing the Razzies and supporting Armstrong, including members of the industry. As reported by People, in a since-deleted tweet, former child star Devon Sawa posted, "The Razzies are run by soulless people. Nominating a 12 year old? [Expletive] them. That child could grow to be amazing if you haven't gotten in their head."

A tweet on 11-year-old WandaVision actor Julian Hilliard's account reads, "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."

Armstrong's The Tomorrow War director Chris McKay tweeted, "I had the pleasure of working with Ryan Kiera Armstrong on THE TOMORROW WAR. She is a great, committed, focused young actress and was a joy to work with. She deserves positive attention and encouragement…"

The Razzies put out an apology.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong at the premiere of "It Chapter Two" in 2019
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

In a statement shared with Variety, Razzies founder John Wilson apologized for Armstrong's nomination.

"The recent valid criticism of the choice of [12] year old Armstrong as a nominee for one of our awards brought our attention to how insensitive we've been in this instance," the statement reads. "As a result, we have removed Armstrong's name from the Final Ballot that our members will cast next month. We also believe a public apology is owed Ms. Armstrong, and wish to say we regret any hurt she experienced as a result of our choices."

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And they've set a new rule.

Wilson also announced a new age restriction in his statement.

"Having learned from this lesson, we would also like to announce that, from this point forward, we are adopting a Voting Guideline precluding any performer or film-maker under 18 years of age from being considered for our awards," the statement explains.

This isn't the first time a child has been nominated.

Macaulay Culkin at the 2018 American Music Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

Past underage Razzie nominees include Gary Coleman for On the Right Track in 1982 and Jake Lloyd for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 2000. In 1995, Macaulay Culkin was nominated for Worst Actor for three movies: Getting Even with DadThe Pagemaster and Richie Rich.

Culkin responded to The Razzies' tweet about Armstrong being removed from the ballot. "I guess it was much easier to make fun on kids back in 1995…," the Home Alone star said.

Someone responded to his tweet, "I miss the stick and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me but we now live in soft world." Culkin wrote back, "Just gently letting them know that their digs at a 14 year version of me wasn't appreciated."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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