In the age of streaming, the awards show format seems to be in a transitional state. The Oscars have made some solid picks this awards season, but the abundance of cinema released every year in theaters and through the various streaming services means that inevitably, some great work gets neglected. To address this rift, the staff at the Popcorn Talk Network has created the Alt Oscars, featuring our picks for masterful achievements in the major categories that deserve recognition.
One of the great performances we would nominate for Best Lead Actor is Eddie Murphy in Dolemite is My Name. Murphy is, of course, a comedy legend, whose confrontational and yet charming stand-up presence made him a show-stealing figure on Saturday Night Live, in stand-up concert films like Delirious and Raw, and acting in films like Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and Coming to America.
When news first surfaced about Murphy taking on the role of Rudy Ray Moore in Craig Brewer’s Dolemite is My Name, everyone who appreciates the uncensored Eddie and who knows the legend of Dolemite got very VERY excited. And rightfully so.
Eddie digs deep on this one. His performance will pluck and strum the heartstrings of anyone who has felt like they missed or blew their big shot…anyone who has felt like they are past their expiration date…anyone who has seen possibilities where no one else could see them, gambling everything on a dream that seems insane to friends and foes alike.
He shows us (with the conviction of an expert), the layers of experimentation that go into creating a seemingly spontaneous performance. He shows us the magical power of assuming a larger than life identity that frees you from the inhibitions induced by your history. He makes us feel like we can learn a lot from Rudy and his alter ego. At the same time, we feel his poignant insecurities, his frustrated alienation, and the deep love and acceptance that grows in this community he creates. Eddie Murphy gives us an emotionally nuanced and uplifting performance that never seems sentimental. The message is sweet, but it’s streetwise. Dolemite is, after all, the baddest motherf@#ker the world has ever seen.
Despite the claims of little Willie Green.
In the wake of Dolemite is My Name, Murphy brought his fire back to Saturday Night Live as a host and has a Netflix stand-up special in the works that is sure to make comedy history. To crown his pseudo-comeback with an Oscar nomination would have been a beautiful gesture from an industry that is obviously glad to have him back in full force. But the Popcorn Talk Network’s Alt Oscars are happy to pick up the slack.