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Why Bill Murray thought an Oscar could hurt your career


The lack of Oscar love thrown Bill Murray’s way isn’t necessarily surprising. As a mostly comedy-focused actor, Murray and his classic films like Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day aren’t exactly what the Academy usually look for when making their nominations.

An exception came when Murray starred in Sofia Copolla’s 2003 film Lost in Translation. For his role as over-the-hill actor Bob Harris, Murray garnered a number of awards, including a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. But when it came to the Academy Awards, Murray lost out to Sean Penn’s lead perfromance in Mystic River.

“You can’t get all ramped up and amped up about this thing all the time,” Murray told The Associated Press after the loss. “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.’”

While not going so far as to say whether he was dissappointed or not that he didn’t win, Murray clearly learned a lesson from his loss: don’t get too invested in awards. While peaking to Variety in 2014, Murray observed that the pressures to accomodate the right people in order to win an Oscar wasn’t something he was interested in doing.

“I know that’s something Harvey (Weinstein) does — he forces you to do these things. I’m not that way. If you want an award so much, it’s like a virus. It’s an illness,” Murray said. “Six months later, I realized I had taken the virus. I had been infected,” Murray explained, referencing his desire to win for Lost in Translation.

Murray also believed that there was a notable backlash to actors who win Oscars, most of which start with the actor themselves. “People have this post-Oscar blowback,” Murray added. “They start thinking, ‘I can’t do a movie unless it’s Oscar-worthy.’ It just seems people have difficulty making the right choices after that.”

Murray notable has stayed away from the Hollywood machine. He no longer employs an agent, famously utilising a 1-800 message service for potential roles. Murray has reached the point in his career where he no longer has to seek out the opportunities that interest him, letting them come to him instead. If he wanted to do another Oscar-centric perfromance, there opportunity is there for him. But don’t expect him to reach for it any time soon.