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Norbit is #1, but will it cost Eddie an Oscar?

By gabe | Gabe's Declaration of Principles February 11, 2007 at 6:32AM

Norbit is #1, but will it cost Eddie an Oscar?
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As this awards season takes shape, a few discernable patterns have emerged--Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker are shoo-ins for Best Actress and Best Actor. Conventional wisdom has Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy dusting off their mantels for the Best Supporting categories.

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The second hardest working man in show business

Without fail, each year the Oscars deliver a few total surprises.

Will this year's ceremony follow suit?

With the Box Office success of Eddie Murphy's critically maligned NORBIT I began to wonder what sort of impact the film and its obnoxious marketing campaign will have on Murphy's push for respectability.

Will this film be his undoing?

His people have been spinning tales about a "new" Eddie, an Eddie looking to abandon frivolous projects and FINALLY take on some serious roles. A recent EW cover story described How Eddie Got His Grove Back:

"He hasn't had a big hit in four years. He has recently surfaced from a self-imposed hiatus when, to many around him, he had seemed isolated and depressed. People are starting to take shots at him, saying he's over, a played-out '80s fad to put on the shelf with the Rubik's Cube and the Cabbage Patch doll. He feels he merits more respect — for 48 HRS., for Trading Places, for Beverly Hills Cop, for his stand-up work, for Gumby, dammit — but he senses he won't get it anytime soon.

''Certain cats, you know, it takes a long time to give you your props,'' he tells a reporter for this magazine, in one of the last in-depth interviews he'll grant before largely shutting out the press he feels has turned against him. ''When I'm old, I'll get an Oscar. When I'm 90� I'll come out, give one laugh, take the Oscar, and keel over.""

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But then along came NORBIT, reminding everyone of paycheck roles like"Pluto Nash", "Nutty Professor", "Dr. Doolittle", "Metro", I Spy...

If he doesn't get the Oscar this year, he's got no one to blame but the folks at Dreamworks. They may have been more prescient than anyone ever could have known--how else can one explain the tagline:

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