Somewhere between when the Razzies nominated a child (Ryan Kiera Armstrong, “Firestarter”) for ridicule and when the Oscars once again forgot Black people exist, an idea occurred to me. What if there were awards that weren’t terrible? It’s never been done before, but hear me out …
In this cynical, jaded era, what if some brave soul were to take movies that have received terrible reviews and isolate legitimately wonderful things about them? I have long said I truly love the idea that every piece of art, no matter how objectively awful, is beloved by someone somewhere. What if we had a warm, fuzzy award that celebrated the shiniest of turds? I give you: The Ryans!
The criteria are simple: The winners will be selected from films with overwhelmingly negative reviews and must be legitimately good things. Obviously, there can’t be a Best Picture, on account of everyone agreeing the movies are, in fact, quite bad. Also, gendered awards are lame.
We’ll do a Big Three: Best Supporting Performance, Best Lead Performance and Best Moment. Winners get absolutely nothing, and this can become an annual thing with more categories if anyone but me cares about it. It’s an honor to be nominating, so let’s get to it!
Best Supporting Performance
The winner is … Pierce Brosnan for “Black Adam.”
Wearing several costumes that would have reduced a lesser performer to a laughingstock, Brosnan brought a sincerity and pathos to a wholly ridiculous character in a near-universally loathed film. Nobody would have blamed him for half-assing it, for taking the cash spewing from the superhero pinata and running. He very much did not.
Without any context for his character, he built a whole backstory out of grimacing glances and line delivery. His Dr. Fate could have easily been a one-note Dr. Strange riff, but the character became a melancholic lament. Wanting more of any part of “Black Adam” seems insane. I would watch a Dr. Fate movie or TV show this very moment. Well done, good sir.
Best Lead Performance
The winner is, and always will be, Florence F’n Pugh for “Don’t Worry Darling.”
Not for one moment does Pugh let her foot off the gas. Channeling “The Yellow Wallpaper” from her very soul, she made me question whether the movie was actually good. It very much wasn’t in any way. But her force of will made me believe it could have been.
I think about the repellant stories of dude actors who “go method” whenever the seemingly wildly pleasant Pugh drops a performance like this. Opposite Harry Styles, who has as much business acting as he does taking Beyonce’s Grammy, Pugh was somehow convincing. She is a singular talent who should be drowning in Oscars. But at least she has a Ryan now.
The winner is Matt Smith dancing in “Morbius.”
Please understand how much joy this brought me. In a film as joyless and painful a slog as possible, with two hours of my life filled by … so much Jared Leto, Smith doing a goofy underpants dance was something I will never forget.
This is not a silly award here. This is very real. I have come to appreciate laughing, really laughing, in public for the rarity it is. I guffawed at this. I couldn’t wait to tell others about it. In a time when everything, every single thing in life, feels burdened with purpose and conflict, with division and anger, appreciating something truly just goofy can feel like an oasis. We forget how silly the things we do are. This was a reminder.
This is but the start, my friends. The Ryans could return and be more robust, with scores more categories and loads of honorees who receive no tangible honor. Should you wish it, we can take a moment each year, look at things that suck, and make something happy out of something crappy. Just lemme know. You know where to find me.