Eddie Murphy Recalls ‘88 Oscars Speech That May Have Gotten Him Black-Balled

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 02: Eddie Murphy speaks on stage at the Hammer Museum Los Angeles Presents MoMA Contenders 2019 Screening and Q&A of "Dolemite Is My Name" at Hammer Museum on December 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Eddie Murphy Recalls ‘88 Oscars Speech That May Have Gotten Him Black-Balled

“After I said that, it went the exact opposite way.”

Published December 30, 2019

Written by Paul Meara

Since the release of his new Rudy Ray Moore biopicm, Dolemite Is My Name, Eddie Murphy’s been in the public eye a lot, including a hosting appearance on Saturday Night Live and an extensive press run.

During his most recent interviews, the legendary actor and comedian has given us insight into his earlier career, and has been pretty candid about it. 

During a sit-down with CBS’s Sunday Morning, Murphy recalled the 1988 Oscars, during which he called out the Academy for its lack of diversity while presenting the award for Best Picture.

"I'm going to give this award, but Black people will not ride the caboose of society and we will not bring up the rear any more," Murphy said before reading off the nominees.

RELATED: Eddie Murphy’s Best Moments During His Epic ‘SNL’ Return

Correspondent Tracy Smith, during the interview, asked: "At the time, did you have people saying, 'Ooh, Eddie, you shouldn't have done that'?"

"No," Murphy replied. "You know what's interesting? After I said that, it went the exact opposite way. There was no mention – it was almost like I wasn't at the awards that night. The next day, there was no mention of it in the papers. Not a blip. And there were no pictures of me at the Oscars."

"You said in that speech, you know, this probably ruins my chance of getting nominated for an Oscar …" Smith said.

"And then I didn't get nominated for Oscars for years!" Murphy replied.

"You think that had something to do with it?" Smith asked.

"I don't know. What do you think?" he laughed.

In the 1988 speech Murphy joked that Black actors were only nominated every 20 years, so they wouldn’t be due again until 2004. Ironically, it took until 2007 for Eddie Murphy to get his first Oscar nomination for his role in Dreamgirls. Regardless, he says he’s comfortable with how he’s handled himself over the years.

"I've always been really comfortable in my skin. It's 'cause I've always been grounded spiritually, you know?” he said. “I believe in God and I believe in prayer." 

Also during the CBS interview, Eddie Murphy discussed what “making a comeback” means to him, joining SNL at the age of 19, and his roles in movies like Trading Places and 48 Hrs.

Watch the full interview below.

Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

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