He definitely could be in contention.
Eddie Murphy’s performance in the little-seen indie Mr. Church — which hit DVD and on-demand yesterday* — has been dubbed a “revelation” by The Hollywood Reporter. Whoever is running Eddie’s Twitter appears to agree with that take. All week long – Eddie’s Twitter account has been retweeting praise for his work in the film, responding to fans, and even posting (and embracing?) “Good morning!” Coming to America memes.
Good Morning! pic.twitter.com/GCgyc6QLSy— Eddie Murphy (@eddiemurphy) October 25, 2016
For the record, his last tweet was sent out in May of 2015… to promote his music.
Sure, it’s not uncommon for celebrities to not run their own social media. It’s doubtful that Ben Affleck does, as Lainey wrote about at last year’s Comic-Con, and Selena Gomez claims to run her own Instagram… and most social media stars fall somewhere in between the two. But Eddie Murphy isn’t quite as self-aware or social media savvy as Channing Tatum, or Chris Hemsworth.
Plus, back in August, Eddie chatted with The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg about Mr. Church, his career, and his reclusive Hollywood persona. He told Scott he "[doesn’t] feel any pressure to live up to any — expectation — anyone may have." Oh, and apparently, he doesn’t understand social media, or own a computer. His rant about being out of touch with technology and his critical buzz starts at around 27:00.
“I don't even know what people say. … I used to be the hippest of them all. I used to know everything about everything. I used to read about everything that was going on and I knew everybody's name and anybody in pop culture. Anything that was written about me I would read. And for the last maybe 20 years — I haven't read a newspaper in 20 years, or read a corporate magazine, I don't read corporate magazines or stuff, I don't read stuff about me. I really don't read stuff about me. Like, if there's an article about me, someone has to read through it before they even give it to me. I don't want to see anything that has anything negative. I don't want to read any of that shit. So I don't know what y'all think. I don't have a computer, I don't have email, I don't have any of that sh-t."
It’s fair to say a corporate magazine would be a trade, like Variety, The Hollywood Reporter or Deadline. And then there’s his take on social media.
"I wasn't interested in it. I don't need to be on social media interacting with the fans, tweeting that I just ate strawberries. Nothing has made me go, 'Oh, yeah, get me on, too, I want to be on there with y'all! I just had strawberries too!' 'I'm going to the store now!' 'Look at this picture of this baby!'"
Except… now Eddie’s engaging with that social media culture as part of his awards season campaign. He’s already done some selective press (an Academy conversation with Dave Karger, Scott’s podcast, some press for Mr. Church when it premiered at Tribeca in the spring), and on November 6th, he’ll be feted at the Hollywood Film Awards with a Career Achievement Award. The Hollywood Film Awards, indeed, are kind of a joke, but to put this honour in perspective, Robert De Niro won that same honour last year and it’s where a lot of stars show up, because it is part of the award season circuit.
So Eddie is hustling and campaigning, but very slowly. Is the public interested in an “out of hiding” Eddie, who is starring in a film about a chef (Eddie) who helps raise a teenage girl (Britt Robertson) after her mother is diagnosed with cancer, directed by Bruce Beresford, of Driving Miss Daisy fame? According to Bruce, the comparisons are completely coincidental. He told Dave Karger – around 3:30 - he didn’t think about DMD at all, and was simply moved by the screenwriter’s adaptation of her own true story.
Beyond that though: Are the Coming to America memes Eddie’s Melissa Leo “Consider” ads?
The Best Supporting Actor race is more or less wide open. From what I’ve seen, it appears to be between Warren Beatty (Rules Don’t Apply – embargoed until Nov. 11), Mahershala Ali (he’s the heart of Moonlight), Dev Patel (Lion), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) and possibly Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water, which Sarah praised in her review. There’s definitely room for Eddie, and from the looks of it, he seems to want to be in the race. Or, at the very least, he’s hired somebody to run his social media to help launch him into conversation.
Eddie is not on the Gold Derby radar yet, but he might be after the Hollywood Film Awards… if that is actually what he wants, even though he cheekily told Scott Feinberg he’ll happily accept Lifetime Achievement Awards instead of an Oscar, any day. He claims he’s not sour about his Best Supporting Actor loss in 2007 (Dreamgirls killed by Norbit) to Alan Arkin, because he already has the Mark Twain prize for comedy, after all.
"I've won a bunch of stuff like that."
"It's not like every time I was up for something I got snubbed.'"
*sadly, Mr. Church is not yet available to watch in Canada.
Attached – Eddie at his hand and footprint ceremony last month.