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The classic Stanley Kubrick film that was nominated for a Razzie


Of all the great films of Stanley Kubrick’s filmography, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Paths of Glory and Dr. Strangelove, it’s a surprise that Stanley Kubrick never won a major Oscar. Nominated for 13 Academy Awards in total, Kubrick only ever won one technical award for Best Visual Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey, losing out for Best Picture to the likes of My Fair Lady, The French Connection and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. 

Among his flourishing filmography, Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel The Shining stands out as all-time great, becoming one of the greatest horror films of all time since its release in 1980. Fascinatingly, however, whilst Stanley Kubrick managed to avoid being nominated for an Academy Award for his terrifying film, he was nominated for a Razzie award in a ceremony that honours the very worst films of a particular year. 

The jury of the Razzie awards weren’t the only ones to look down on Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror either, with the author Stephen King famously disliking the adaptation of his own book. Speaking to Deadline King noted: “I think The Shining is a beautiful film and it looks terrific and as I’ve said before, it’s like a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine inside it”.

Continuing in his tirade against the film, King added: “In that sense, when it opened, a lot of the reviews weren’t very favourable and I was one of those reviewers. I kept my mouth shut at the time, but I didn’t care for it much”. 

Based in the magnificent, fictional Overlook Hotel, located in the Colorado Rockies, Kubrick’s tale follows Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) and his family who opt to look after the hotel over the winter. Under the shadow of the hotel, however, Jack soon becomes engulfed by an evil, violent presence, influencing his temper toward his wife and psychic son. 

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This chilling, isolated exploration of madness is punctuated by several fantastic performances, notably Jack Nicholson who’s cruel psychotic descent is one of the very best put to screen, and perhaps more so, Shelley Duvall radiating an unrivalled physical fear; coming undoubtedly as a result of her taxing time on set. 

Infamously, Duvall experienced a traumatic time while working on Kubrick’s film, with the director pushing her to her limits in the depiction of Jack’s tortured wife, Wendy. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Duvall recalls the difficulty she experienced, noting: “Because we filmed that for about three weeks. Every day. It was very hard. Jack was so good – so damn scary. I can only imagine how many women go through this kind of thing”.

Later in the interview, Duvall also acknowledged, “It was a difficult scene, but it turned out to be one of the best in the film”. 

Take a look at the classic trailer for The Shining from Stanley Kubrick below, a film that avoided Oscar success for the shame of a Razzie nomination.