Early this month, actor Eddie Murphy and filmmaker Brett Ratner both ditched the 84th Annual Academy Awards within a day of each other.
The duo recently worked together while filming the popular movie Tower Heist. Everyone is sure that this opt out will bruise Murphy’s career, top industry insiders and producers are labeling this a crucial mistake.
According to the Hollywood reporter an Academy member said, “"This is like a big middle-finger to the Academy and to the industry."
Media outlets have reported Ratner’s exit came after he caught major heat for an inappropriate comment that he made about gay men. Rumors speculate that he might’ve even been fired.
Murphy’s association with Ratner may have cost him his comeback platform. “What the hell was he thinking?” questioned a senior member of the Academy.
While most of us were banking on seeing Murphy’s career bounce back by hosting the show, by the way he is handling his career, it’s possible he doesn’t care to have it revitalized.
Certainly this will be one big clean up for Murphy who has dealt with one movie flop after another. His most memorable and classical movies were made in the 80’s.
Lately, he has not done much for Hollywood; in fact some are saying he needs to reclaim his Hollywood throne and quick.
“I've been making movies for so long that now it's all just one body of work. If you have a flop movie, so what? And if you have a hit movie, it's ‘so what,’ too, it's on to the next movie,” explained Murphy in his recent Rolling Stone Magazine interview. Clearly his almost careless attitude towards his past failures displays his strength to move on. Perhaps at the age of 50, the outlook on Hollywood shifts and the amount of fame and acclaim doesn’t mean much anymore.
In 1996 Murphy starred in a hit comedy film called The Nutty Professor. It was the movie that showed Hollywood he still had it, in fact he was eager to show people, “People were saying,‘Eddie's not good,’ so I was like, ‘Not good? Let me show you what I can f*cking do,’ says Murphy. But now, it seems as if he is free from the stress and concern of proving himself to anyone. “Now I don't give a fuck what nobody thinks,” he admits to Rolling Stone Magazine.
Though Murphy has shown a great deal of maturity over the years, some still question his ability to be funny at 50 years old.
Critics have even summed this up to be another reason why he bowed out of hosting the Oscars. Millions will be tuned into the Oscars and each and every last viewer will have a close eye on Murphy in hopes that he lives up to the hype.
The expectations can be a heavy burden to carry at 50, and with Murphy’s recent evolution maybe it is a middle finger to the Academy. Viewers would’ve expected to hear Murphy’s signature laugh and youthful jokes, things that he possessed in his 20’s. At the age of 50, those things have changed.
In Hollywood, when one evolves, it’s not generally respected; they want you to be, who they want you to be. Eddie Murphy wants to be who he wants to be “I only want to do what I really want to do, otherwise I'm content to sit here and play my guitar all day.”
While commentators and critics will spend hours and tweets arguing over Murphy’s Oscar exit, the 50-year-old actor will be at home, peacefully, playing his guitar and genuinely content with his 30-year career in the game.
He has given Hollywood all that he has and may it be he simply doesn’t want to give anymore? If he did, trust, he would have been bouncing around on the Oscar stage in February.
“I'm not that guy in the leather suit anymore,” mentioned Murphy.
Whether Murphy opted out because his buddy Brett Ratner was out of the show or because he was fearful he wouldn’t live up to his fan’s expectations, one thing is for sure, we still love Eddie. If we did not, we wouldn’t judge him so harshly for ditching.
We want to see him and we want him to make us laugh but its clear Murphy has other obligations. Until then, his movie with Ratner, Tower Heist is in a movie theater near you.
The crime comedy is a hilarious adventure that follows employees of an apartment building that conspire to rob a Wall Street businessman’s high-rise.
Actor Billy Crystal will serve as the host replacement while Ratner and Murphy remain tight lipped about the exit.
Lathleen Ade- Brown is an entertainment reporter and freelance writer based in New York City.