Announcing the Winners of the The 2019 Peely Awards for the Worst in Pop Culture

We’ve nominated and debated, voted and quoted. Now I, Wolfman Jew Vs. the Panopticon of Sin, am ready to reveal the winners of the 2019 Peely Awards for the Worst of Pop Culture! We had a wide variety of frustrating, bad, inexplicable, and incomprehensible works over the past twelve months, along with a tiring and aggravating discourse about them. It initially seemed like this was Cats’ year to lose, given its train of anti-hype, asinine directorial pedigree, and hideous special effects. And it did win a boatload of awards. But it wasn’t the only one. The Rise of Skywalker didn’t even come near the most painful awards, but its overreaching crowd pleasing swipes netted it a number of disappointing ones. The final season of Game of Thrones got more votes than virtually every past Peely’s winner, and even it didn’t get the highest number of votes for a nominee this year. Absurd films like Serenity, The Fanatic (itself an accidental sort of follow-up to John Travolta’s Peely’s dominating Gotti from last year), and Richard Jewell fought for representation in category after category, while terrible business practices in the games industry charted out its own space. Plenty of celebrities and public figures said some damn foolish things. And Sonic the Hedgehog’s upcoming movie didn’t even need to come out for its trailer to earn a place on people’s “worst of the year” lists, this one included.

It was also a year with a wide array of unique nominees. It’s a Peely’s tradition for some award to be utterly dominated by a single contender, and we did have that – thanks, holiday films Star Wars and Cats – but not entirely. There were well over a hundred separate nominees put forth just in these “winners,” all from different parts of the entertainment industry and general morass of popular culture. Whether it was would-be blockbusters, would-be critical darlings, or actually-were terrible vanity projects, all sorts of things can be found in the list below. When I started doing these, one thing I wanted to avoid was to fall into the trap of being like the Razzies: lazy, mean-spirited, and with a banal approach to entertainment. They are bad. We’ve proven ourselves above that, as we have each year of this series.

Here are the winners, along with the top four nominees – or top nine, in the case of our coveted Worst Film award, the crown jewel of the year. Though that’s a misnomer, as that award spilled over due to enough equal votes at the lower end of nominees. Same’s true with several of the other nominees. And really, why shouldn’t we share the love? I should also note that in the case of certain major plot points or upsetting content, in lieu of writing down the nominee I’ve given a vague description and linked to the nomination itself. Sadly, the only spoiler tag we’ll be able to use is the one for the votes themselves.

A huge thanks to Lovely Bones, who helped with the editing, organization, tallying, and writing of this year’s awards. And an additional thanks to everyone who participated whether through nominating, voting, or just plain commenting. While there were fewer comments this year than Round II of last year, there were almost certainly more voters than ever judging by how many votes some winners got.

Votes – the final tally was recorded at 3 AM EST. My apologies if your last votes came under the wire, but Disqus’s issues are a hassle.

Winners and Runners Up

1. Most Disappointing Piece of (New) Pop Culture (Otakunomike)

  • Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (26)
  • (DC Universe’s) Harley Quinn (11)
  • It: Chapter 2 (10)
  • Velvet Buzzsaw (7)
  • The Boys, Season 1 (6)
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette (6)

2. Most Poorly Narrated, Presented, and Conceived Trailer (Owen1120)

3 The Judd Apatow Award for Movie that Could have Been 45 Minutes Shorter (upvote moneydog, Pits Winner!)

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (21)
  • Avengers: Endgame (17)
  • The Irishman (17)
  • Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood (9)
  • Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbes and Shaw (9)

4. The Shot-for-Shot Award for Least Essential Revival of an Existing Property (A Dopehead in a Santa Hat)

  • The Lion King (61)
  • Men in Black: International (24)
  • Hellboy (24)
  • Jacob’s Ladder (20)
  • Charlie’s Angels (20)

5. The Embarrassing Us All Award for Worst Actor (gender-neutral) (Owen1120)

  • John Travolta as a cavalcade of ableist stereotypes, The Fanatic (33)
  • Greg Grunberg, Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (3)
  • Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go Bernadette (2)
  • Whoever’s the lead actor in Loqueesha. “I can’t be bothered to Google his name, he’s not worth it”
    • [Wolfman Note: I can, though he isn’t; he is Jeremy Saville]

6. The Malcolm McDowell Honorary Award for Best Actor in a Pile of Garbage (Owen1120)

  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones Season 8 (19)
  • Adam Driver, Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (16)
  • Elizabeth Banks, Brightburn (14)
  • Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell (6)
  • Margo Martindale, The Kitchen (6)

7. Worst Line of Dialogue (Owen1120)

  • “I wish Freddy Krueger would come, and chop off your head, and it would roll in the street, and a truck would squish it, and the blood would splatter everywhere, and everyone would watch it!,” The Fanatic (29)
  • “A cat is not a dog,” Dame Judi Dench, Cats (25)
  • [BACKSTORY SPOILING LINE FROM STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER] (13)
  • “I don’t know what’s more incredible: you [a racist white man] as a black woman, or your therapy techniques!,” the hero’s Black Best Friend, Loqueesha (8)
  • ”You stay close to me, Duke. I need you to deliver me from temptation,” Baker Dill, Serenity (7)

8. The Lootbox Award for Worst New Idea From The Gaming Industry (Lyssie)

  • Google Stadia: pay to not own anything while enjoying a poor connection (43)
  • Buying out an indie studio with a promising game in progress and then putting them to work on shit that nobody asked for, effectively cancelling that game in the process, i.e. Valve buying Campo Santo (26)
  • Adding micro-transactions to a game months after release to avoid any scrutiny or review score penalty, Activision (21)
  • That Fallout 76 Premium Account thing (19)

9. Worst Blockbuster (or the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom) Award (Eric Lampton)

  • The Lion King (2019) (47)
  • Men in Black International (16)
  • Dark Phoenix (14)
  • Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (6)
  • Captain Marvel (5)

10. The Rock Dog Award for This Should be Direct to Video (kajigger desu)

  • Playmobil (28)
  • Stuber (4)
  • Judy, starring Renee Zellweger (3)
  • Jexi (1)

11. The Sam Worthington Award For Blandest White Male Protagonist (A Dopehead in a Santa Hat)

  • Kyle Chandler, Godzilla: King of the Monsters (29)
  • John Krazinski, Jack Ryan (21)
  • Kit Harrington, Game of Thrones (18)
  • Steven Strait, The Expanse (4)
  • [General nomination of “that guy, you know, the one who was in…whatever”] (3)

12. The Vulture Capital Award for Worst Squandering of a Website Takeover (kajigger desu)

  • Deadspin (57)
  • WordPress taking over Tumblr and somehow making its user interface even glitchier (13)
  • Splinter (6)
  • Amazon taking over Box Office Mojo and fucking it all up (4)

13. Worst (Advertisement related; we’re all friends here) Poster (Owen1120) [NOTE: as opposed to past years, this year all nominees will be included as a single image]

  • Loqueesha (54)
  • The Addams Family (38)
  • Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker for “Hot Toys Palpatine” (8)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (6)
  • Battle Star Wars (4)

14. The EA Spouse Memorial Award for Worst Labour Abuse in the Entertainment Industry (Merve)

  • The crunch forced on employees of Moving Picture Company to redesign the Sonic The Hedgehog movie (36)
  • Lying to overworked contract employees about making them full-time regular employees, Rooster Teeth animation (18)
  • The showrunners of The Affair creating a toxic work environment for the actresses, leading Ruth Wilson to quit the show (15)
  • Fortnite crunch, Epic Games (10)
  • The studio that remade Sonic going bankrupt (5)

15. The 2019 Foot-In-Mouth Award  (kevzero)

  • J.K. Rowling for…many things (60)
  • Liam Neeson randomly, remorsefully confessing to having wanted to commit a hate crime in the past during a movie press campaign (41)
  • Scarlett Johansson (22)
  • That horror museum guy that insists few to no great horror films have been made in the past decade / 21st century (18)
  • A single post nominating both Donald Trump and Piers Morgan, the latter for his tweets against Megan Rapinoe during the Women’s World Cup (8)

16. The J.K. Rowling Memorial Award for Worst Retcon (Merve)

17. The 7 / 10 Award for Most Unremarkable Piece of Media (Merve)

  • The Lion King (35)
  • Captain Marvel (20)
  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (13)
  • Frozen 2 (9)
  • Rocketman (5)

18. The Bemused Perused Award for Worst Thinkpiece (Wolfman Jew) [NOTE: I will not be linking to these articles here]

  • That article that refers to Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual assault victims as “underage women” (66)
  • Jeff Jacoby, “As MLK foresaw, racism in America has been largely overcome” (28)
  • Tom Cotton’s op-ed in the NYT about what a fantastic idea it would be to buy Greenland – published about a week after that idea led to the cancelled meeting and was completely dead in the water (19)
  • Erdogan’s op-ed justifying his invasion of Syria, published mere days after the start of the invasion (17)
  • Neil Macdonald’s “bribing foreign officials is totally okay!” piece for the CBC (11)
  • This one from PC Gamer on Life is Strange 2 where the writer was super mad at the protagonists being brown boys (11)

19. The Lurking Red Logo Award for Worst Netflix Movie of 2019 (Wes Lawson)

  • Murder Mystery with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, pored over by Qanon weirdos (19)
  • 6 Underground (6)
  • McG’s Rim of the World (4)
  • Triple Frontier (3)

20. The Cats Award for Worst CGI in a Movie, Television Series, or Game (Armando)

21. Not Getting a Wacky Title, the Award for the Worst Thing the Avocado Watched in Full in Rabbit in 2019 (Wolfman Jew)

  • United Passions, the FIFA propaganda movie that finally reveals sports executives as the Nazis’ true victims (19)
  • Loqueesha, “hands down” (11)
  • The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure (7)
  • Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (5)
  • Fatal Deviation, the worst Irish Fantasy-Crime-Martial Arts film of all time (4)

22. The Quiet Memorial Award for Most Egregious Fanservice (Sexual Division) (Merve)

  • All of Cats (25)
  • Providing Finn with a same race, different sex potential love interest because that was necessary I guess, Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (22)
  • Sultry pin-up of Lois Lane during an apparently serious conversation, Heroes in Crisis (10)
  • Any time a woman strips to her underwear in Michael Bay’s 6 Underground (8)
  • Pretty much all of Do You Love Your Mom And Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attack?, but especially that one part (5)
  • Sexy Poison Ivy corpse on the cover of a Heroes in Crisis issue (5)
  • Tamaki’s “Lucky Lecher Lure”, Fire Force (5)

23. The Stormtrooper in Fortnite Award for Most Egregious Fanservice (Non-Sexual Division) (Wolfman Jew)

  • Completely sidelining Rose as a way of placating toxic Star Wars fans, Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (59)
  • Emperor Palpatine’s presence as a main storyline, Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (44)
  • Bronn still being in Game of Thrones after Season Four (25)
  • Reverse engineering a “performance” from scraps of four years old footage of Carrie Fisher from two different films and CGI, Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (21)
  • The scene with Luke [GO HERE FOR MORE DETAILS], Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (17)

24. The That’s So Fetch Award for Worst Media That People Wanted to Make a Thing (kajigger)

  • The “Dark Phoenix Saga” in X-Men (39)
  • The Charlies’ Angels reboot (20)
  • The repeated attempts to restoke the Terminator franchise, this time with Terminator: Dark Fate (19)
  • The continued fight over the “Snyder Cut” (13)
  • Joker (7)

25. The Dinesh D’Souza Memorial Award for Most Specious Argument in a Piece of Pop Culture (Merve)

  • No Safe Spaces (28)
  • Ben Shapiro’s unprecedented 365-day nonstop Gish Gallop without taking a breath (15)
  • [Peely’s Memorial nomination for reading of this award as “Most Spacious Apartment”] (12)

26. The “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” Memorial Award for Most Inappropriate Musical Cue in a Film, Series, or Game (Merve)

  • “Gangsta’s Paradise” in the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer (32)
  • The part in The Fanatic (directed by Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit) where people joyously listen to Limp Bizkit (27)
  • Five seconds of “Angel of the Morning” playing over a vomiting zombie for absolutely no reason at all in It: Chapter 2 (14)
    • [Bones Note: This was good, actually ™]
  • “Don’t Stop Me Now”, Umbrella Academy (10)
  • “Que Sera Sera,” The Handmaid’s Tale (7)
  • “Rock and Roll (Part 2)”, Joker (7)

27. The Kevin Spacey Memorial Award for Most Unjustified Arrogance (Merve)

  • Bill Cosby’s scolding letter from prison to Eddie Murphy for making fun of his crimes (86)
  • Kevin Spacey (44)
    • Wolfman Note: This category was named in “honor” of Spacey’s 2018 YouTube video, almost a week before the current video for which he was nominated was released]
  • Scarlett Johansson (40)
  • Michael Bloomberg (34)
  • Trump’s unhinged, zine-length letter to Nancy Pelosi (27)

28. The Worst, Most Shoehorned-in Performative “Wokeness” Award (Owen1120)

  • All the female Avengers striking a pose, Avengers: Endgame (55)
  • Representation is Really Important: The MCU sprains an arm patting itself on the back for their first canonically LGBTQ character, an unnamed man onscreen for perhaps multiple minutes (54)
  • The “blink and you’ll miss it” same-sex kiss at the end of Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker (51)
  • “Speechless”, the new musical number in Aladdin (2019) (23)

29. The Sigh in Resignation Award for Worst Part of an Otherwise Good Piece of Pop Culture (Owen1120)

  • Joker’s director, hot take websites, fans, and memes (29)
  • The stunningly offensive and tone-deaf in-game encyclopedia entry on asexual people, Death Stranding (20)
  • Olivia Wilde’s reporter in Richard Jewell, which pushes a pretty good movie into “actively bad” territory (11)
  • The Bruce Lee scene in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (10)
  • The scene where the lead’s black friend comes out as a Republican, Long Shot (8)

30. The “Wow, Serenity Was Kind of Great At Points?” Award for Worst Moment that’s Still Satisfying in a Lizard-Brain Kind of Way (El Santo)

  • The completely unearned freeze frame of all the female superheroes, Avengers: Endgame (49)
  • Rebel Wilson shedding off her skin to reveal a second skin with a sparkly dress, chowing down on humanoid cockroaches, Cats (25)
  • The trailer for Velocipastor (22)
  • Judi Dench standing while staring rapturously heavenward, while actors rendered in catsuits are on all fours, and then their tails spring upward, as they are clearly in heat, Cats (17)
  • Idris Elba’s naked catsuit dance-off, Cats (16)

31. The Doolittle Award for Thing That Most Overstayed Its Welcome (Lyssie)

  • Alec Baldwin’s continued portrayal of Donald Trump (48)
  • The MCU vs. Cinema Debate (28)
  • Harvey Weinstein. Give up and go away, please (27)
  • The Real Housewives and cat meme (8)
  • Rebel Wilson (8)
  • Kevin Spacey’s unauthorized Frank Underwood YouTube videos (8)

32. Worst “Joke” in a “Comedy”

  • [WACKY DEPICTION OF SEXUAL ABUSE], Booksmart (26)
  • All of the weirdly dated hippie-hatred jokes in Zombieland 2 (10)
  • [Stuber Memorial Nomination for its terrible humor being too uninteresting and forgettable to remember] (6)
  • Daddy just wants his daughter to get laid, Ao-chan Can’t Study! (3)
  • The running joke about the titular character trying to get her crush to drink her urine, How Clumsy You Are, Miss Ueno (1)

33. The Unavoidable Award for the Most Overblown Piece of Pop Culture Clickbait (upvote moneydog, Pits Winner!)

  • The raft of “Joker will cause a mass shooting” articles (56)
  • Asking celebrities how they feel about the MCU (16)
  • Baby Yoda (16)
  • “Racist Bond writer says Idris Elba “too street” to play Bond” argument (4)

34. The “The Internet Was a Mistake” Award for Worst Fanbase or Fan Behavior

  • “Everything surrounding Star Wars” (54)
  • “I Stand with Vic,” the subset of anime dub fans who continue to support serial sex creep Vic Mignogna and harass the voice actors and cosplayers who accused him (45)
  • Angry Pokémon fans harassing Game Freak employees to get back at the National Pokédex not being included in Pokémon Sword & Shield (26)
  • A subset of K-pop stans continuing to support exposed harassers and rapists like Seungri (12)
  • “All of them” (6)

35. The Heat Death of the GIF Award for Worst Meme (Owen1120)

  • “OK Boomer” (44)
  • A single post nominating “either ‘i’m going to tell my kids this was…’ or ‘wrong responses only’ or whatever the fuck that was” (13)
  • “Epstein didn’t kill himself” (5)

36. Worst Pop Culture Merch (Merve)

  • The Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? clothing damange Mamako figure (21)
    • [Wolfman Note: I’m not embedding this. Look it up yourself if you want]
  • Funko Pop “Gamer” Joker (14)
  • Forcing Tool fans to shell out $50 for a physical copy of Fear Inoculum (5)
  • Moldy Power Armor helmet, Fallout 76 (1)

37. The Tragically Ignorant Uncle Award for the Most Accidentally Offensive Thing (Owen1120)

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare‘s offhand reference to a “Highway of Death,” the name of an actual war atrocity committed by *American* forces during the Gulf War (30)
  • The Bruce Lee depiction in Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood (25)
  • The “woman yelling at cat” meme obfuscating the abuse the yelling woman was suffering at the time (21)
  • The xenophobia of Rambo: Last Blood (12)
  • Maleficent’s fantasy gas chamber (11)

38. Underpaid and Over-Budget: The Worst Animation Award (Merve)

  • The human faces in Cats (35)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (original trailer cut) (28)
  • Playmobil (20)
  • The Addams Family (9)
  • Cop Craft (5)
  • Arctic Dogs (5)

39. Worst Title for an Eric Roberts Movie Released in 2019 [Bones Note: I want it on record that It Wants Blood! is an underrated one]

  • Las Vegas Vietnam: the Movie (24)
    • [Wolfman Note: this won in 2017, but it apparently only actually got released this year. Such is the way of Roberts]
  • A Karate Christmas Miracle (14)
  • Surge of Dawn (6)
  • Hollywould (4)
  • When We Dance the Music Dies (4)

40. Worst Moral (Owen1120)

  • Female reporters sleep with their sources to get the scoop, Richard Jewell (64)
  • Only legacies can be special and [SPOILER LINK], Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (31)
  • “A cat is not a dog,” Cats (27)
  • Leftist protesters are one step away from committing mass violence and are easily swayed by pointless figureheads, Joker (25)
  • [POTENTIALLY UPSETTING DISCUSSION OF HEALTH CONDITION], My Husband Won’t Fit (20)

41. Worst Video Game of 2019

  • Anthem (36)
  • Fallout 76 (29)
  • WWE 2K20 (14)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (10)
  • Battlefield V (6)

42. Worst Album of 2019

  • Jesus is King, by Kanye West (30)
  • The Nostalgia Critic’s The Wall Parody (17)
  • The most recent Taylor Swift songs (4)
    • [Bones Note: the Swift album is titled Lover]
  • Little Yachty, by Sugar Ray (3)
  • Native Tongue, by Switchfoot (3)
  • The Fall of Hobo Johnson, by Hobo Johnson (3)

43. Worst Television Season of 2019

  • Game of Thrones, Season 8 (73)
  • Survivor, Season 39 (16)
  • IZombie (6)
  • The Terror, Season 2 (6)
  • 13 Reasons Why, Season 2 (6)
  • The Boys, Season 1 (6)

44. Worst Book of 2019

  • Trigger Warning (38)
  • Bob Honey Sings Jimmy Crack Corn, by Sean Penn (26)
  • The Mister, by E.L. James (19)
  • Supermarket, by Bobby “Logic” Hall (4)

45. Worst Film of 2019

  • Loqueesha (62)
  • Cats (38)
  • No Safe Spaces (37)
  • Rambo: Last Blood (15)
  • Richard Jewell (12)
  • The Haunting of Sharon Tate (12)
  • Serenity (10)
  • Wine Country (7)
  • The Fanatic (6)
  • 6 Underground (6)
  • Playmobil (6)
  • Brightburn (6)

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