When you give Jamie Foxx a microphone at the Governors Awards, and let him know he has three to four minutes to adlib remarks while in a room with this year's Oscar contenders like Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Scarlett Johansson, you have to know the hype-man is going to dole out the shout-outs. And when Eddie Murphy's in the mix too, it's a no-brainer that Jamie would invite him on stage. Sure, Tom Hanks did a little dance on the spot when his name was called, and Leo stood up to politely acknowledge his Django Unchained co-star and wave to the crowd, but Eddie's the one Jamie gave the most time to.
When Eddie came up to the stage, it played out in a lighthearted, impromptu fashion - to the delight of the room:
Jamie: "(singing) Eddie Murphy! Eddie Murphy.... Look, I absolutely have nothing planned. ... (Room laughs) Listen, as a kid, watching you all these years, man... when I see you out here..."
Eddie: "'As a kid growing up,' how old are you?" [Jamie's 51, Eddie's 58]
Jamie: "He said, you ain't that young motherf-cker. ... All I can say is Eddie, I'm glad you're here man, and what I saw in Dolemite (Room applause). I'll never put you on the spot, I love you, that's all I want to say, I had to be on stage with you... Can we get this picture for my Instagram? Hashtag that 'Eddie Murphy life!'"
(You can watch the moment here and here from two different angles. And yes, the cutaway of a gleeful Saoirse Ronan and her Little Women producer Amy Pascal at the midway point is an obvious highlight for me.)
As of this writing, Jamie has not yet posted his selfie with Eddie on Instagram. But hey, he also has their Dreamgirls memories to look back on. Curtis and Jimmy! Now, nearly 13 years after the release of Dreamgirls (and Steppin' to the Bad Side!), they're both back in the Oscar game for new projects: Just Mercy for Jamie and Dolemite is My Name for Eddie.
Dolemite is My Name was released on Netflix last Friday. Prior to that, it enjoyed a brief run in theatres, and it’s been pretty beloved by all, earning a 97% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. Even better? Its 90% fresh audience score. It’s fair to assume at least some Academy members have either already seen Dolemite is My Name, or are in the know about its hype. I loved the movie when I covered its world premiere at TIFF, and since then, it’s become this season’s big crowdpleaser. Eddie knows it’s a winner too.
Sitting down with Al Roker last week, he spoke to the buzz, and hype for his part:
"That's just gratifying. It never sucks to get Oscar buzz. (Al Roker and Eddie Murphy laugh) They're like [sarcastic and dismissive], 'Man, they buzzing about the Oscars! ... it hasn't happened.' That's just a great thing!"
Later, around the 18:40 mark, he talked about how he’s receiving the “best reviews” of his career from his interpretation of Rudy Ray Moore’s story and tenacious spirit.
"It was a little tiny picture that nobody ever... When we went to go do it, we never thought it would be like this. ... This is the best reviews I've ever seen in my whole career. I never had a thing where they would talk about the movie this much, and not just what I did, but how good the movie is, and how well it's written, and the cast, and all this other stuff. Usually, if I get anything, it's, 'Hey, you were funny in the picture,' not 'This is a good movie,' with all this stuff, so this is a great feeling."
It’s a “great feeling” that Jamie recognizes too when he addresses the room.
“If you really enjoy cinema, this year is a special year. … Nothing against the newcomers… but when you see your heroes giving such great work it just feels great.”
This seemingly spontaneous Dreamgirls reunion played over really well with the Academy members at the Governors Awards on a hot campaigning weekend, when a number of roundtables or Q&As were being filmed. It’s still only October, but Eddie remains one of the hottest star draws thus far. It’s a hypercompetitive year for Best Actor, and while Eddie’s hustling in an appreciative, grateful manner, he’s also letting other winners, like Jamie, hype him up. Everybody loves a comeback. And revealing he’s a fan of Little Women: LA or 90 Day Fiancé only helps him look more approachable, right?