Eddie Murphy, who admittedly deserved to win the Academy Awaard for Supporting Actor for his delightful turn in "Dreamgirls," showed himself to be a boor and a fool by stomping out of the televised ceremonies right after Alan Arkin was announced as the Academy's choice. He didn't have the generosity to show respect for a colleague, Arkin, by staying to hear his acceptance speech, as was he was obligated to do by basic standards of politeness and courtesy. Arkin would have given Murphy that minimal amount of deference, and more. He just walked out, and the millions watching the ceremony on TV knew why. Murphy didn't even try to hide his disappointment as well as Stephen Boyd in the camp classic "The Oscar," who stands to give the winner of his category a clenched-mouth, teeth-grinding, slam-handed round of grim applause, looking like he'll rush the stage with a revolver at any second. No, Murphy just walked out, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he is an extremely talented jerk.
But the inevitable criticism followed, as it did Country music diva Faith Hill in November, when she failed to hide her anger at losing a Country Music Award to Carrie Underwood. And like Hill, Murphy's response was to issue a patently absurd excuse that makes a David Manning Award practically mandatory.
The actor's spokesman, Arnold Robinson, told the press, ''Eddie had always planned on leaving after his category was announced -- to spend the rest of the evening with his family.'' Well, it may be true in a way: Murphy thought he was going to be the one announced, and perhaps planned to give his speech, collect his standing ovation, and go home to the kids with a statuette. That doesn't excuse not being gracious enough to give Arkin the respect he earned in a career in movies and on Broadway that Murphy has not begun to approach. It's no excuse at all, and disingenuous. Whatever Murphy had "planned," once it was clear that following through on those plans would insult the Awards and his colleagues, an ethical individual would have changed them.
The Scoreboard agrees that Murphy was robbed. Arkin has deserved the award many times himself (and has never insulted the winner), but not for his rocking-chair role in "Little Miss Sunshine," which would have been equally engaging in the hands of about fifty other senior actors---Wilford Brimley, William Shallert, Paul Newman, pick your favorite. Never mind; everyone in Hollywood knows that the Awards are arbitrary. That he was robbed doesn't excuse Murphy's rudeness, petulance and disrespect. So he earns another award instead: David Manning Liar of the Month.