The Golden Turkey Awards
is a 1980
book by film critic Michael Medved
and his brother Harry Medved
. This book is credited with giving the movie Plan 9 from Outer Space
by Edward D. Wood, Jr.
the reputation of being the "worst movie ever made".
The book awards the fictional "Golden Turkey Awards" to films that the Medveds feel are poor in quality, along with directors and actors judged to have created a chronically inept body of work. Readers will not necessarily agree with all their choices; however, the book almost exclusively showcases low-budget obscurities and exploitation films. A notable exception is the selection of Richard Burton as the worst actor ever, notwithstanding his star status and seven Academy Award nominations for acting; the authors justified their choice by assessing the cumulative merit of his good performances as being far outweighed by the sheer number of bad performances.
The Medveds had previously celebrated bad cinema in The Fifty Worst Films of All Time, many of which were also featured in the various Golden Turkey Awards categories. Subsequently, they turned their attention to the big-budget catastrophes.
The Golden Turkey Awards formed the basis of a 1983 television series The Worst of Hollywood hosted by Michael Medved.
List of Golden Turkey winners
- Most Embarrassing Movie Debut: Paul Newman in The Silver Chalice
- Most Ridiculous Movie Monster: Robot Monster
- Worst Performance by a Popular Singer: Tony Bennett in The Oscar
- Worst Title: Rat Pfink a Boo Boo
- Most Brainless Brain Movie: They Saved Hitler's Brain
- Most 'Badly Bumbled Bee' Movie: The Swarm
- Worst Casting: John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror
- Worst Performance by a Politician: United States Congressman and New York City Mayor John Lindsay in Rosebud
- Worst Two-Headed Transplant Movie: The Thing with Two Heads
- Worst Rodent Movie: The Food of the Gods
- Worst Performance by a Novelist: Norman Mailer in Wild 90
- P.T. Barnum Award for Worst Cinematic Exploitation of a Physical Deformity: The Terror of Tiny Town, a Western film with an all-dwarf cast.
- Worst Musical Extravaganza: At Long Last Love (early 1970s musical starring Burt Reynolds)
- Worst Performance as a Clergyman or Nun: Mary Tyler Moore in Change of Habit
- Worst Performance as Jesus Christ: Ted Neeley in Jesus Christ Superstar
- Worst Blaxploitation Movie: Scream, Blacula, Scream
- Biggest Rip-off in Hollywood History: The 1976 version of King Kong
- Worst Credit Line: The 1929 version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, "with additional dialogue by Sam Taylor".
- Most Unerotic Concept in Pornography: Him, a porn film about a priest with a sexual fixation on Jesus Christ
- Worst Performance by an Animal: Dinky the Chimp in Tarzan and the Great River. (During filming, Dinky attacked and injured lead actor Mike Henry.)
- Worst Vegetable Movie: Attack of the Mushroom People (mushrooms are actually fungi, not vegetables)
- Worst Performance by Sonny Tufts: Government Girl
- Most Ludicrous Racial Impersonation: Marlon Brando as a native of Okinawa in The Teahouse of the August Moon
- Most Obnoxious Child Performer: David Kory in Dondi
- Worst Film You Never Saw (category for films never completed or only released in a limited fashion): Billy Jack Goes to Washington
- Most Inane Technical Advance: Percepto, designed by William Castle for his 1959 film, The Tingler starring Vincent Price. At certain times in the film small vibrators attached to the underside of some seats within the auditorium were activated to give some audience members a tingle.
- Worst Line of Romantic Dialogue: an exchange between Gary Cooper and Madeleine Carroll in Northwest Mounted Police
- Worst Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
- Worst Actress: Raquel Welch
- Worst Actor: Richard Burton (a highly controversial choice, considering the fact that he was Oscar-nominated many times, but made because Burton starred in so many bad films)
In addition, the Golden Turkey Awards had a reader's choice category for Worst Film of All Time, voted upon by readers of The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.
One of the films nominated in the book was in fact an invention of the authors, and readers were challenged to figure out which film was actually fake. The fake film was Dog of Norway
, which was illustrated using a photo of a co-author's dog. The giveaway was that the same dog was in the photo of the authors at the front of the book.
- Medved, Harry, and Randy Dreyfuss. The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (And How They Got That Way). 1978, Warner Books. ISBN 0-445-04139-0.
- Medved, Michael, and Harry Medved. The Golden Turkey Awards. 1980, Putnam. ISBN 0-399-50463-X.
- Medved, Michael, and Harry Medved. The Hollywood Hall of Shame: The Most Expensive Flops in Movie History, 1984, ISBN 0-399-51060-5, ISBN 0-399-50714-0 (paperback)