Congratulations, actor, and comedian Eddie Murphy received an honor at the Celebration of Black Cinema at the Landmark Annex in Los Angeles on December 2, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
The Critics Choice Association hosted the event to celebrate actors within the industry and their success in 2019 and 100 years of black cinema.
Cheryl Boone Issacs hosted the evening where many well-respected movie stars received recognition like Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was introduced by Don Cheadle; Harriet director Kasi Lemmons, and actress Nia Long. Other celebrity guests included Wesley Snipes, Kendrick Sampson, Larry Karaszewski, Sydell Noel and Lonnie Chavis along with many others.
Ejiofor upon accepting his award, reflected on a recent college visit where he left “troubled by gaps in the knowledge of black cinema” for himself and others. It was in that keen moment where he began a thorough research about black films.
“I am excited about celebrating and preserving black cinema for future generations in a manner that when it is unforgettable and easily accessible,” said Ejiofor. “I’m excited to celebrate the black creators past and present who have enhanced the cultural and spiritual landscape of cinema for over a century.” THR
The Career Achievement Award was presented to Murphy by Ruth E. Carter. “My name is Ruth E. Carter, and costume design is my (bleeping) game!”
The acclaimed costume designer won an Academy Award for Black Panther, and her body of work includes Spike Lee’s School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, and Crooklyn, as well as Ava DuVernay’s Selma and Craig Brewer’s Dolemite Is My Name and the upcoming Coming 2 America 2. THR
“Before Black Panther introduced us to African royalty, Eddie Murphy did in Coming to America, so when Eddie called to ask me to design for the sequel, I didn’t waste a moment. I packed my bags, got my passport and headed from Wakanda to Zumunda,” Carter explained.
The audience stood to their feet when Murphy accepted his award. The famed comedian in his acceptance speech acknowledged the lack of diversity when he first began his career. “Congratulations to the African American film critics, because when I started making movies almost 40 years ago there were no African American filmmakers, they didn’t have no makeup, no hair department, producers, none of that,” he said. “It was rough, especially if you [went] to the hair department. If you’ve never watched Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, you’ll be like, ‘Is this how this motherfucker came to dinner?’ Sidney [Poitier] was such a brilliant actor — he was able to act like his hair was combed,” Murphy said to hysterical laughter.
The celebration continued after the award ceremony. Guests enjoyed “chicken and shrimp sliders, mini servings of chicken soup topped with a butter biscuit, French fries and tater tots and veggie flatbread pizza” in the jazz lounge area.
Murphy is set to host NBC’s Saturday Night Live on Dec. 21, and the sequel Coming 2 America 2 is slated to release the summer of 2020. He was also most recently honored for his best actor role in Netflix’s “Dolemite Is My Name,” by the African American Film Critics Association on Tuesday.
By: Aaliyah Ford
Featured Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Niche Imports