KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CNS) — Movie critic Sister Rose Pacatte covered her first red carpet event in January, scoring a spot in the media scrum at the Los Angeles premiere of Kevin Costner’s new movie, “Black or White.”
Watching the parade of stars and agents and handlers pass her by she wondered if anyone would stop and talk to her.
“Who expects to see a nun there?” she figured.
When Paula Newsome, one of the movie’s stars, walked past, she assessed Sister Rose in her blue Daughters of St. Paul habit and asked: “Are you really a nun?”
“I am,” said Sister Rose.
“You never know,” Newsome said, laughing.
The ice finally broken, Sister Rose ended up interviewing Newsome, Costner and their co-star Octavia Spencer for her TV series, “The INNdustry with Sister Rose,” from the sidelines of the red carpet.
On Feb. 21, Sister Rose took center stage at an even bigger Hollywood event — the annual Golden Raspberry Awards, better known as the Razzies.
For 35 years the tongue-in-cheek, Razzies have “honored” the worst of Hollywood — bad acting, bad writing, bad directing, bad movies. Think of them as the opposite Oscars. In fact, the Razzies traditionally take place the night before the hallowed Academy Awards.
This year, the Razzies for the first time included a new honor — the Redeemer Award — for an actor who has made up for his or her past transgressions against cinema with better work.
Sister Rose was picked to present the award, which went to Ben Affleck. He was nominated for the Redeemer along with Jennifer Aniston, Mike Myers, Kristen Stewart and Keanu Reeves. The winner was chosen by votes cast on the movie review website RottenTomatoes.com.
“Nuns are all about redemption, right?” said Sister Rose, who writes reviews on her Patheos.com blog, “Sister Rose at the Movies,” and for the National Catholic Reporter.
“Our culture is a redemptive culture. We like a comeback kid. Everybody makes mistakes and everybody deserves another chance,” she told NCR in an interview in advance of the Razzies event.
Sister Rose was the perfect person to hand out the new award, said Mo Murphy, co-owner and executive producer of the Razzies.
Not only does she have the journalistic credentials — Sister Rose is director of the California-based Pauline Center for Media Studies — she also recognizes good filmmaking, said Murphy.
The Razzies producer recalled The New York Times profile of Sister Rose from 2013 that noted how she reviews movies based on how they shed light on the human experience.
“We want to put her on the map,” said Murphy. “She’s very cool. And she’s got a sense of humor.”
In the days leading up to the Razzies, Sister Rose was busy writing introductions for each nominee.
She said it was easy to do that for Affleck. Not just because he is, as she said, “easy on the eyes,” but because he’s a good filmmaker who “God has blessed with many talents.”
She has seen nearly all of Affleck’s movies. Back when some people didn’t embrace his work she did.
Then he made “Gigli.”
“It was painful,” Sister Rose said of the 2003 stinker of a movie that Affleck made with Jennifer Lopez.
Affleck’s road to redemption ran through the 2012 thriller “Argo,” in which he starred and directed so well that some people complained when he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for his work behind the camera. But Sister Rose was no fan of his latest work, the critically acclaimed “Gone Girl.”
“I hated ‘Gone Girl,’ though not because of the acting. There was not one likable person in it and it was really violent.”
Why do good actors go bad?
“Sometimes these guys want to work and so they do take stuff that doesn’t reflect their talent very well. I can understand that, I do,” said Sister Rose. “I’ve lived here so long and you meet so many people who are worthy actors … but they have a family to support.”
Former “Friends” star Aniston, a four-time Razzies nominee, was up for the Redeemer based on her performance last year in “Cake,” in which she played a woman suffering from chronic pain.
Sister Rose said Aniston’s biggest sin is making dumb movies. “I don’t think they’re giving her good projects,” she said. “I just stopped reviewing her.”
Myers won a Golden Raspberry in 2009 for playing the lead in “The Love Guru.” At the ceremony that year, Razzies founder John Wilson shredded a DVD copy of the movie on stage.
Myers was nominated for the Redeemer because the film he directed, “Supermensch,” about Hollywood super-agent Shep Gordon, had “a lot of depth,” according to Murphy.
Stewart is a former Razzies winner, too, for her work on “The Twilight Saga.” Her dramatic turn as a female guard at Guantanamo Bay in last year’s “Camp X-Ray” got her nominated for Redeemer status.
Sister Rose also liked Stewart’s emotional performance as Julianne Moore’s daughter in “Still Alice.” On Feb. 22, Moore won the Oscar for best actress for her portrayal of a Columbia University linguistics professor hit with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Reeves also has a handful of Razzies nominations under his belt. But his work as an assassin in the 2014 thriller “John Wick” led Murphy to consider him for redemption.
The ceremony, which was not televised, took place at the Montalban Theatre for the performing arts in Hollywood. That’s right in Sister Rose’s neck of the woods; she lives with other Daughters of St. Paul in nearby Culver City, California.
The Academy Awards are always Hollywood’s biggest weekend of the year. But unlike celebrities who were busy getting their red-carpet wardrobes ready before Oscar night, Sister Rose already knew what she’d be wearing for her big evening out.
“Basic blue,” she said, “from the House of St. Paul.”
Gutierrez freelances for the National Catholic Reporter and its Global Sisters Report.