Keith Lemon: The Film was never likely to trouble the academies voting on worthy Oscar and Bafta winners. Yet the widely panned movie will not leave award season empty handed after picking up three awards at Britain’s answer to The Razzies.
The members of Barfta, the British Academy of Rubbish Films and Terrible Acting, met on Wednesday night for the inaugural awards to honour the worst works released in the UK over the past year. The support for Keith Lemon: The Film was almost unanimous.
The movie, which stars Leigh Francis as the title characters and had a host of cameos from David Hasselhoff to Fearne Cotton, was dubbed a “crude, unfunny film” by Time Out, whose reviewer added: “Career lows all round, then?”
It beat competition from A Fantastic Fear of Everything, starring Simon Pegg, A Few Best Men, and Elfie Hopkins to land the worst picture award.
The Barftas were thought up by “secretive, not entirely sober” a group of critics and industry professionals, and was backed by online showbiz newsletter Popbitch.
Camilla Wright, co-founder of Popbitch, said: “The whole thing has been enormous fun, although maybe not while watching the films,” before adding: “It’s good natured. The tone is meant to be love with a bit of a reality check.”
The inspiration was The Golden Raspberries, dubbed The Razzies, which has been running for more than two decades in the US. Those awards are presented on the eve of the Oscars, with Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part II picking up seven gongs this year.
In the UK, “there was only ever going to be one winner,” Ms Wright said. Keith Lemon also won worst dialogue, following the cameo from TV presenter Vernon Kaye, for the line “I’ll have the bangers and gash” after he witnesses a food sex scene in a restaurant.
Francis also picked up the award for worst female acting performance for his portrayal of Keith Lemon, playing Mel B, of the Spice Girls fame.
The Barfta members said that 2012 was a “bumper season for terrible film” and in a year where any of the nominees could have walked away with the top prize, the winner “has proved itself to be something very special indeed”.
In a reference to the Bafta and Oscar winning film Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, the Barfta academy said: “Anyone can make Argo, it takes a rare talent to produce Keith Lemon: The Film.” No one from the movie’s distributor Lionsgate responded to comment.
Worst Hollywood film went to This Means War, a spy comedy starring Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon. It beat Madonna’s directorial debut W.E. and the reboot of Total Recall starring Colin Farrell.
Nic Cage was awarded the worst male lead performance for the title role in Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance, beating Adam Sandler, Ray Winstone, Ben Stiller and even Sean Penn, nominated for This Must Be the Place.
Ms Wright said the academy would expand its membership next year, when there would be a full ceremony with statuettes. This year the lucky winners will be awarded “mystery gifts”.
“I think there’s mileage to it. I’m surprised how fun it has been in watching films to see how bad they are,” she said, adding that some of those expected to be nominated have expressed interest in attending.
Already this year there are two films likely to feature on the list. Star-studded flop Movie 43 was dubbed the “Citizen Kane of awful” in the US, while Run For Your Wife, starring Danny Dyer has been largely panned by critics in the UK, described by one as "about as funny as leprosy".