On Sunday, January 12, the Shrek actor, 58, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.
“I’ve been making movies, next year … 40 years. I’ve been doing it for a minute now and being able to make a living as an actor is a privilege and a blessing,” Murphy’s speech began. “And to make your living making people laugh, there’s no higher … you’re the luckiest person in the world to be able to do that.”
Though he’s already a Critics’ Choice winner (taking home the Best Supporting Actor prize in 2007 for his role as James “Thunder” Early in Dreamgirls), Murphy was also nominated this year in the category of Best Actor for his role of Rudy Ray Moore in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name.
In the film, Murphy portrays the real-life comedian Rudy Ray Moore, who he began watching when he was only 15. “Rudy Ray Moore’s movies were first of all very successful at the box office, underground successes,” the New York native told Deadline in December 2019 when talking about how he first discovered the works. “They were movies that were so bad, they were good. Real avant-garde movies.”
In regards to the Netflix release, Murphy is happy that it’s helped make Moore a bigger household name, with over 40 million views on the streaming service right after it dropped.
“At least everybody knows about Rudy Ray Moore now,” the Coming to America star told the publication at the time. “I think he would be over the moon about that. He was extraordinary, and the way he went about it is just inspiring.”
Murphy is the “most commercially successful African-American actor” in film history, the Critics’ Choice Association noted ahead of the show. He is also on the “short list” of actors who’ve starred in numerous $100 million pictures over the past three decades.
The comedian made a triumphant return to Saturday Night Live in December 2019, 36 years after starring on the sketch series. He hosted the show and brought back many memorable characters from his time as a cast member.
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