The Toronto International Film Festival has decided to partner with the Weinstein Co. to launch what appears to be an imminent “Bill Murray in St. Vincent for Best Actor” campaign. A celebration of “Bill Murray Day” on Friday, 9.5, will include free screenings of three Murray classics — Stripes, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day — at the Bell Lightbox. The world premiere of St Vincent, Murray’s latest and a possible (though unproven) basis for a Best Actor campaign, will cap things off. Above and beyond the merits of Murray’s performance (i.e., a semi-alcoholic, loose-shoe babysitter), the campaign theme will almost certainly be “Murray is owed.” He was shafted, of course, when the Academy didn’t even nominate his note-perfect performance in Wes Anderson‘s Rushmore (’98) and his Best Actor-nominated performance for Lost in Translation lost to Mystic River‘s Sean Penn.
What’s so great about Murray on-screen and in person is that he’s funny, witty and unapologetically himself at all times. I love that he doesn’t suffer fools. He may not be all that great, to his eternal and lasting credit, with the standard press-the-flesh schmoozathon that is required of all Oscar contenders. Or maybe he is and I’m not up to date.