In Oscar race, Bill Murray has nothing to fear
BY DAVID GERMAIN December 6, 2012 7:44PM
This film image released by Focus Features shows Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt in a scene from "Hyde Park on Hudson." (AP Photo/Focus Features, Nicola Dove)
Updated: January 10, 2013 6:19AM
TORONTO — Most stars shun the “O word” — Oscar — when they might be in the running for an Academy Award, not wanting to jinx their chances or look too eager.
Bill Murray has no problem dissecting Hollywood’s highest honors.
A best actor nominee for 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” Murray could have Oscar prospects again as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in “Hyde Park on Hudson,” a comic drama opening Friday.
Murray won a string of key prizes for “Lost in Translation” leading up to the Oscars, including a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award and honors from many critics groups.
When he lost on Oscar night, it was a lesson not to get your hopes up too high, Murray said in an interview.
“You can’t get all ramped up and amped up about this thing all the time,” Murray said. “I mean, I got excited about it once, and it was odd. I won all the prizes, I won literally all the prizes all the way up to the last one. And I really thought, well, ‘I’ve just to go get this thing, I’ll be right back.’
“And then I didn’t win, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s odd. How odd is that? I’m feeling so odd now.’ And I came all dressed up and didn’t win. So I’m not going to get all crazy about that.”
Murray is a rare comic actor who has evolved into a performer with the depth to create characters that put him into the awards mix with such films as “Rushmore,” ‘‘Get Low” and “Broken Flowers.”
The former “Saturday Night Live” regular and crazy man of “Ghostbusters,” ‘‘Caddyshack” and “Stripes” first dabbled in heavy drama with a 1984 adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge.” Audiences and critics were not kind.
The reaction toughened him up for the inevitable double-takes as people mull the notion: Bill Murray as Franklin Roosevelt?
“Sometimes when you’ve got a biopic,” Murray said, “and they go, ‘Jerry Lewis will play Albert Einstein’ or something, the first thing is, ‘No, don’t buy it. Not for a second.’ ”
He approached Roosevelt with the same thoughts he had when he played writer Hunter S. Thompson in 1980’s “Where the Buffalo Roam.”
“I had the feeling of, like, ‘I’ve got to revere the best of this person,’ ” Murray said. “The same with Roosevelt. I had to revere the best of him.”
Murray’s sister had polio, the disease that crippled Roosevelt, so the actor said he had a strong sense of how to play the president’s body language as he struggles on crutches, is pushed about in a wheelchair or is curled like a child in the arms of aides who lift him in and out of cars.
He has a practical attitude about the value of his awards prospects . “The great thing about the Oscars that’s cool is it means people are going to see your movie. That’s really the deal.”