Traction on the Stop Eddie Murphy movement is starting to happen….maybe. I’ve made it clear from a personal perspective that I’d like to see him denied the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his Dreamgirls work, but there might be more happening than just that. People aren’t exactly lighting torches and preparing to march on Versailles, but…
Two days ago (i.e., the day after Monday’s Murphy-dissing piece in this column), I was interviewed by a N.Y. Post guy who’s writing a story for Sunday’s edition about Murphy’s supposed political weaknesses, the perception that he’s more than a bit of an egoistic asshole, how he’s never made anything other than mainstream big-buck comedies, how he’s never tried to stretch or risk anything in a smaller-budgeted film, plus the ongoing Norbit effect (i.e., that one-sheet image reiterating who Murphy is and challenging the notion that he’s somehow turned a corner with his Dreamgirls performance) upon Academy voters.
Murphy encapsulates everything that is smug, arrogant, closed-off and reac- tionary about today’s Hollywood elite. Denying him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar would be, no exaggeration, an affirmation of positive, open-hearted values. It would amount to the Academy saying en masse, “We will not reward insecure downmarket egotists, no matter how successful their films have been….we’re not necessarily refusing to celebrate movie stars who ride around in big fat SUVs and wear jet-black shades and live behind electrified iron gates, but we chose not to this time.”
As the recent Murphy profile in Entertainment Weekly says, “[Murphy] carries some baggage: a reputation for being prickly and egotistical, rumors of odd idiosyncrasies, a couple of high-profile tabloid scandals.
“Even with the tremendous acclaim for his work in Dreamgirls, some believe he won’t fully stabilize his bumpy career until he overcomes a long-standing image problem. His defenders dispute that idea, saying that with cumulative career box office grosses in the neighborhood of $3 billion, Murphy has a vast reservoir of goodwill in Hollywood and among moviegoers.”