Razzies Odds: Picking the Worst Hollywood Films Of 2017

by George Servantes
on February 27, 2018

The futures odds for the 38th Golden Raspberry Awards are a bettor’s dream. Casinos are hurling noodles at the wall, hoping to latch on to the best action.

The evolution of the Razzies is a driving factor in the betting lines for Worst Picture, Worst Actress and Worst Actor. When the annual celebration-of-suck began in 1980, movies like Scarface received nominations. Once CNN and other media networks began covering the Razzies (which occur just prior to the Academy Awards), the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation has learned to listen to underground opinions as a means to avoid a backlash later on.

Some of the worst mistakes happened right off the bat. Stanley Kubrick was nominated to receive the inaugural Worst Director Razzie for The Shining, while Shelly Duvall was nearly voted Worst Actress for her role in the film alongside Jack Nicholson. As decades passed, fans and critics came to view The Shining as a work of genius, and the Golden Raspberry Awards were guilty of having shamed a legend.

In 1987, Bill Cosby arrived in-person to collect three Razzies. It felt like good fun at the time. But once again, the brand later took a hit in credibility when Cosby’s reputation sank into the gutter.

The modern Razzies would do anything except offend activists on Twitter. Bad acting and lame plots are still welcome at the event, but offensive portrayals have the inside track to “earning” an award. For instance, everyone can agree that 2017 nominee Fifty Shades Darker is one of the worst soft-core adult films in recent memory. But The Emoji Movie has upset ticket-buyers on a deeper level, with some even accusing the producers of brainwashing little kids. That makes the cartoon a favorite to win.

Bookies are chasing viral comment-threads instead of reading the critics. But casinos are far from alike in their Razzie tactics this year. My Bookie offers a bet on The Emoji Movie at (-400) to win Worst Picture, but the movie’s odds-to-win are far less short on some other books and exchanges. Dakota Johnson is a 5/1 underdog for Worst Actress at William Hill but is a (+125) co-favorite at My Bookie.

There is something going on. Odds-makers must be aware that their markets are offering very different bets. If one exchange is giving 8/1 and another 5/1 on the same horse, that filly has the same actual probability to win either way. Are the odds meant to lure Razzie bettors into an impulse wager? Even if so, there’s a potential jackpot in such highly-manipulated betting lines.

Let’s take a look at several betting markets for the Golden Raspberry Awards on March 3rd, beginning with the marquee categories.

The Emoji Movie: Insta-Offensive

The nominees for the worst film of 2017 include BaywatchFifty Shades Darker, yet another warmed-over version of The Mummy, and Transformers: The Last Knight starring a barely-conscious Mark Wahlberg. As lousy as those films are, though, the negative buzz surrounding The Emoji Movie is dominating headlines.

Sony’s animated children’s movie is nominated for a total of four Razzies. Its plot involves a group of talking emojis running around inside a cell phone, which sounds almost as trippy as TRON until the audience realizes they are watching a two-hour commercial for digital apps like Instagram, Spotify, and Candy Crush. Not only are the product-placements aimed at kids offensive, but major stars such as Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Stewart humiliate themselves by voicing the characters.

The negative social-media buzz for The Emoji Movie is enormous. “Plotless, joyless and cash-grabbing,” “Plotless, joyless and cash-grabbing,”reads one review. Because the response is so overwhelming, the film has been touted as at least a mild favorite for Worst Picture by most handicappers. But that’s not the best reason to place the wager.

None of the other nominees have had any kind of real social impact. The Fifty Shades franchise turns stars like Kim Basinger into poser idiots on-screen, but apart from a few fetish enthusiasts, no one is truly outraged. Baywatch is objectifying, but no more than any other bikini-beach remake. Tom Cruise, who stars in The Mummy, has been in tons of other terrible flicks and social media tends to ignore them all.

The power of Facebook and Twitter is at a crescendo. If the Razzies don’t give The Emoji Movie a Worst Picture award, voters risk offending an army of trend-setters who share a disgust at sold-out Hollywood. Sony is exploiting children by selling a G-rated movie that imprints corporate brands in their brains. That’s a bigger deal than Marky Mark running around with some boring robots.

In short? Don’t worry, The Emoji Movie will win Worst Picture.

The only chore for the bettor is to find which online casino is offering the best odds on Sony Pictures’ latest disaster. So read to the bottom for our other Razzies picks, and then get cracking.

Worst Actor: Marky Mark-ing the Best Odds

Wahlberg is nominated Worst Actor for a pair of movies, Transformers: The Last Knight and Daddy’s Home 2. That’s a strange betting scenario. Though some statistical experts might recommend a bet on the former Boogie Nights star (after all, his two movies in the running could conceivably mean a better chance to win) it’s also unclear whether voters are choosing “Marky Mark” for one specific portrayal or for general incompetence. Wahlberg occupies only one slot on the Razzie board. His potential award would get more attention on social media if the nomination was for only one movie.

Cruise is getting attention (and short odds) as a favorite after an all-time lousy performance in The Mummy. Sure, it’s a far cry from Eyes Wide Shut, and watching the 55-year-old absolutely suck is depressing. But Cruise may not be a great bet at minus-odds to win Worst Actor. Gamblers will have to wager a lot for any kind of payoff, and Johnny Depp and Zac Efron are also in the field.

I’m liking Jaime Dordan in Fifty Shades Darker, who is at 4/1 or longer odds at most casinos. Fifty Shades has become such a cover-band-of-itself that it has to win at least one Razzie. Remember how value works in betting markets – Cruise is most likely to win, but not minus-money-line-likely. Dordan has a better than 25% chance to win, so that makes his 4/1 odds promising.

Worst Actress: Shaky Short-Odds Favorite

The odds for Worst Actress create a funny betting scenario. Katherine Heigl is at the top of most markets with almost-even odds to win the award. But is the hatred for her performance in Unforgettable a mile deep and an inch wide?

Heigl is getting an awful lot of praise for the portrayal, considering she’s up for a Razzie. “Heigl building a character we cared about despite the fact she was preening and uptight,” lauds a review in Vulture. “Heigl is a hell of a lot more entertaining when she’s out for blood.”

That rave is backed up by positive reviews in other major publications. Variety writes “Katherine Heigl is terrific playing against type as a psycho ex in a thriller” while also admitting that Unforgettable itself isn’t up to par.

Hmm. That’s not the kind of shaky legs you want your high-risk, low-reward wager to have going into a showbiz event. If Heigl was a long-shot, the bet would be worth a few pennies. But as an even-odds bet? Look elsewhere.

Like the goaltenders of the Russia-Germany gold medal game in Pyeongchang, Heigl’s bid for Worst Actress is likely to spring a leak at the last moment.

The good reviews factor affecting Heigl puts more value in the other nominees. Dakota Johnson may steal Dordan’s thunder and take home Worst Actress for her portrayal of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker. But if Johnson ends up being viewed by voters as cheesy rather than incompetent, look for underdog Tyler Perry and BOO 2!: A Medea Halloween to surprise.

Best of the Rest: Potential Betting Value at the Razzies

Michael Bay is getting buzz and big action as a nominee for Worst Director, thanks to a crude and annoying Transformers effort. But like Fifty Shades Darker, the Robots in Disguise are nominated in multiple categories. The Last Knight is not quite memorable enough (even for laughs) to make a pair of Razzies seem warranted, meaning that value diminishes for bets on all Transformers nominees. If one wins, the other is unlikely to. The odds-on favorite Tony Leonidis is a more-solid pick to win Worst Director for The Emoji Movie, which does deserve at least two trophies.

Kim Basinger is a heavy favorite to win Worst Supporting Actress for her clumsy attempts at fetishism, reaching odds of (-500) in some markets. The risk that is needed to get a nice payoff on a Basinger win makes the wager a bad idea. Instead, smart players will put half of one unit on Susan Sarandon as annoying Isis Dunkler in A Bad Mom’s Christmas, at (+1000) or (+1100) odds.

Finally, nominees like Basinger are at least excellent in filling-out a parlay.

There is enough momentum for The Emoji Movie and Fifty Shades Darker that with the right touch, a three-wager parlay for the 38th Golden Raspberry Awards could be an easier win than any track trifecta.
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