Every year since 1981, right before the Oscars, Hollywood presents the “Razzie Awards,” designed to (dis)honor the worst films and film performances of the previous year. Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s name appears on the list — twice! — for worst actor and worst director.
“I’m actually quite honored,” D’Souza told USA TODAY in an interview Monday, after the nominations were publicized. “I think the normal expected reaction would be one of dismay and embarrassment at being nominated as the worst film,” but liberals won’t get that kind of satisfaction from this conservative filmmaker.
D’Souza said the nominations stem from hurt feelings following President Donald Trump’s surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in the November election. “It’s petty revenge, it’s a small-minded way of kicking us in the shins after the fact,” D’Souza argued. “People are still furious about Nov. 8. Part of this vote is a refracted fury at Trump and not even about the film directly.”
The filmmaker said he “chuckled” when he saw the news, released Monday, that his film was nominated for the Razzie Awards. Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, which only cost $5 million to make, raked in $13.1 million at the box office. It became the highest-grossing documentary of 2016. (Here’s PJ Media’s review.) After all, Trump himself tweeted about it.
"@NancyNielsenn: @realDonaldTrump Dinesh D'Sousa Hillary's America. see it"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
Nevertheless, the film was nominated for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay, with D’Souza personally nominated for Worst Actor and Worst Director, and Becky Turner (who plays Hillary Clinton) nominated for Worst Actress.
Despite these nominations, Hillary’s America actually did not come close to the top of the list. That honor was reserved for Zoolander No. 2, which got 9 nominations, followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which thoroughly deserved its 8 nominations (although Ben Affleck wasn’t horrible as Batman). Dirty Grandpa got 6 nominations, and two films besides D’Souza’s also got 5: Gods of Egypt, and Independence Day: Resurgence. (PJ Media’s review of Gods of Egypt described the film as “$150 million too garish.”) Alice Through the Looking Glass only got 3 nominations.
As D’Souza explained, “We’re not nominated because our film bombed at the box office. The reason we are nominated is because the film might have played an important role in the election.”
In a wonderful bit of humor, D’Souza described his own performance in the film as “masterful.”
“I’m playing myself. It’s really hard to believe another actor could have done a better job at playing me,” the filmmaker said. “It would be funny if someone told me that Brad Pitt could do a better Dinesh than Dinesh.” Actually, I might be of the opinion that Jimmy Fallon plays a better Donald Trump than Donald Trump (see “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”) This, for example, is comedic gold:
It could be said that playing yourself undermines the very purpose of acting — putting yourself in someone else‘s shoes and playing a character who is not yourself. So I might actually defend the nomination, so long as we get to see Jimmy Fallon try to be Dinesh D’Souza.
The conservative filmmaker may actually make Razzies history this year. Usually, actors and directors nominated for the “awards” do not appear in person (for obvious reasons), but D’Souza told USA TODAY he is likely to attend the ceremony on February 25 — so long as he wins.
Badge of Honor, Dinesh …. Tell them you could not have made the movie without Hillary's help, and watch their heads explode.
— Pat ❌ Phelan (@NS_Voice) January 24, 2017
“If they have a really nice ceremony, I might be willing to show up and collect my award,” he said. “As long as they let me give a speech. And it will take them another year to recover from the speech.” Zinger!