Oscar Killing Roles


The Academy Award nominees are out, most of the other awards have been handed out, and now it's just down to campaigning. This year, perhaps more so than other years, there are favorites in just about all the big categories. But, like in year's past, it's hard to imagine all the favorites winning.

Sometimes that's due to other nominees' work being more widely recognized. But sometimes it's due to the front runners subsequent project coming out and dumping on their awards season campaign.

In 2006, Eddie Murphy had a breakthrough role and performance in "Dreamgirls." Sure, the movie wasn't as great as the hype — but Murphy's work was. Usually known for his comedy roles, Murphy brought his acting chops to a more dramatic role, and Hollywood took note.

He won the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the Golden Globes, and won the same honor at the SAG Awards. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards and was perceived as a front-runner. But a funny thing happened — Alan Arkin heard his name called on awards day. Many wondered what happened.

In February, prior to the Academy Awards, Murphy starred in another movie — "Norbit." It was critically reviled and took a lot of shine of Murphy's work in "Dreamgirls." There are some who posit that "Norbit" was such an embarrassing, epic failure that it cost him votes and, ultimately, and Oscar.

The following February, Murphy did win a trio of awards — Golden Raspberries for his multiple roles in "Norbit," only furthering the legend.

"Norbit" opened on February 9, 2007, the Friday after the Super Bowl and smack in the middle of Oscar voting season. This year, on February 6, 2015, the Friday after the Super Bowl and smack in the middle of Oscar voting season, two movies open that look like potential problems for current Oscar hopefuls — "Seventh Son" and "Jupiter Ascending."

In "Seventh Son," Julianne Moore "hams it up" as an evil witch. She is currently the front-runner for Best Actress for her work in "Still Alice," a heart-breaking story about a woman suffering early onset Alzheimer's Disease. One should have nothing to do with the other, but you could have said the same thing about "Norbit" and Murphy's work in "Dreamgirls."

Also on that weekend, Eddie Redmayne looks to ham it up at the villain in "Jupiter Ascending," the Wachowskis action/sci-fi adventure that was delayed from last summer. Currently Redmayne is in a fierce battle with darling Michael Keaton, the star of "Birdman," for Best Actor. Redmayne and Keaton each won a Golden Globe, and Redmayne followed it up with a win at the SAG awards. But you can't help but wonder if "Jupiter Ascending," and the number of trailers he's in on TV and in theaters, will have an impact on the race.

If history is any judge, either Moore, Redmayne, or both could be victims of bad timing (and a bad movie). We'll find out on February 22.

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