Saturday, 12 May 2012

Best Supporting Actor 2006: Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls

Eddie Murphy received his first Oscar nomination for portraying James "Thunder" Early in Dreamgirls.

Dreamgirls tells about the rise of a group of black female soul singers.

Eddie Murphy joins the ranks of other comedians who would only nominated for being in roles where they are mostly not funny. As well know an actor can only win or most the time even be nominated for an Oscar for a comedic role if they are just as prolific with their dramatic work like Peter Ustinov, Walter Matthau, Kevin Kline, or Jack Lemmon. If you are almost exclusively a comedic actor like Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, or Eddie Murphy you better make sure you role is mostly dramatic if you want to be nominated for that Oscar as Murray was.

Eddie Murphy plays James "Thunder" Early a flamboyant singer who takes on the three singers to be his backup early on. I must apologize for this review I really must. This is the only time this has ever happened to me in all my reviews of every performance that I have done. This entire performance by Eddie Murphy was impossible for me to separate from his previous performances. I really am sorry, but for whatever reason well I watching him here I could never detach this performance completely on his own.

For example James Early is suppose to be a charming energetic singer. I could never find myself actually seeing Eddie Murphy as charming here, not because he isn't charming. No the problem was for me was whenever he was being charming in Early's highly energetic fashion I could only see Eddie Murphy doing Buddy Love from the Nutty Professor. I honestly could not see him as the singer in this film, I only saw Buddy Love. It was driving me a little crazy actually that I could not separate this performance from his earlier work, but honestly I just could not.

This fact made it very difficult for me to really take him ever as this singer even though Murphy certainly is very believable in the singing scenes, but even they reminded me a little too much of his James Brown parody on Saturday Night Live. I just could never quite take this performance, well for lack of a better word, seriously. I never forgot his earlier work with his performance even though I did try best to look at it as a individual performance. I was never able to see it on its own terms, and because of that I never became invested in the character.

Murphy does put a lot of effort and energy in the part, doing his very best to show the charisma and constant  manic intensity in the performance scenes.  He also is believable enough, even though the film gives him very little time to deal with it, in portraying Early's later drug addiction and depression he faces later on. He does realize the part, but it never affected me as the film or Murphy wanted it to. The reason for this I would say mostly would be the fact that I could not detach his work here from his earlier comedic work. This certainly is a fine performance, but I can't say it was amazing. I also can't say I was really able to give this performance a fair shake, as I do believe my reaction could have been very different if I never say an Eddie Murphy performance before this one.

7 comments:

mrripley said...

I know what you mean you expect to be blown away but it ends up as sometimes a riff on eddie's persona,sometimes you see axel foley seep through,i liked him but when i watched it i expected to be blown away.

Lezlie said...

I haven't seen a lot of Eddie Murphy performances before this one, but I wasn't really amazed. His was a cliched character with little screen time, he was fine and believable I guess, but nothing more than that.

dinasztie said...

Uuugh, I didn't like him when I saw him. I felt he didn't do anyting at all. :)

BTW, I'm back with a new review, doing 1984. :D This also means, I'm going to be more active on your blog, especially now that you're approaching towards completing all the supporting years as well.

Oscargrouching said...

I think he was decent , funny your reviewing him and me Jennifer Hudson .

RatedRStar said...

I wonder if Eddie Murphy did indeed storm out of the oscars after the loss to Alan Arkin.

Oscargrouching said...

lol , Sam Jackson Saying SHIT was funny

Louis Morgan said...

RatedRStar: Apparently he did leave early, although he claimed he was always going to do so. His face though is the rather standard Oscar loss face, certainly not an Ellen Burstyn or even Bill Murray.