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Murphy’s Oscar misses

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‘Gandhi’ (1998) vs. ‘Holy Man’ (1982): In “Gandhi,” British-born actor Ben Kingsley, right, shaved his head, slipped on some robes and got in touch with his spiritual side to play Mahatma Gandhi, the famed leader of India’s nonviolent revolt against the British. As a reward for his efforts, the academy handed him a best actor Oscar in 1983. For “Holy Man,” Eddie Murphy, left, stole the look and the initial to play “G,” a TV evangelist who turns a home shopping channel into a religious endeavor. (Touchstone Pictures / Columbia Pictures)
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‘Beverly Hills Cop’ (1984) vs. ‘The French Connection’ (1971): A street-wise cop working to take down foreign crooks, a dogged pursuit of justice and a disappointing sequel. The only difference between Murphy’s Axel Foley in “Beverly Hills Cop,” left, and Gene Hackman’s Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle in “The French Connection,” left, is that Hackman managed to win an Oscar. Academy members, apparently, were not fans of Murphy’s banana-in-the-tailpipe gag. (Paramount / 20th Century Fox)
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‘Raging Bull’ (1980) vs. ‘The Nutty Professor’ (1996): Robert De Niro, right, helped himself to a few extra cheeseburgers and some tubs of ice cream to play the older version of boxer Jake La Motta in “Raging Bull,” and with his Oscar win managed to inspire a generation of actors to abuse their bodies in the name of “the method.” For “The Nutty Professor,” Murphy, left, put on weight the smart way – with a Rick Baker-designed fat suit – but gained no kudos from the always sado-masochistic academy. (Universal Studios / AP)
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‘Bowfinger’ (1999) vs. ‘Marty’ (1955): Eddie Murphy, left, is a good-looking guy, so good-looking, in fact, that women of both sexes are attracted to him. So it always takes guts to hide those good looks and powerful charisma behind a nerdy veneer. He pulled it off in “Bowfinger,” just like Ernest Borgnine, right, did in “Marty.” Guess who won an Oscar? (Universal Studios)
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‘Mystic River’ (2003) vs. ‘The Haunted Mansion’ (2003): Tim Robbins’ haunted eyes and demeanor, right, garnered him a best supporting actor Oscar for “Mystic River,” in which his character was not able to escape the horrors of molestation visited upon him in childhood. The same year in “The Haunted Mansion,” Murphy, left, played a character haunted by the fictional threat of the living dead--a feat that was met with resounding silence. (Buena Vista Pictures / Warner Bros.)
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‘Life Is Beautiful’ (1997) vs. ‘Life’ (1999): There’s no beating a good prison movie for getting noticed at awards time. Italian comic Roberto Benigni, right, managed to draw whimsy and laughter from a Nazi concentration camp in “Life is Beautiful,” and got an Oscar. Two years later, Murphy, left, did his own prison movie set in Mississippi and outdid Benigni by aging on-screen, but no nominations came his way. (Universal Studios / Miramax)
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‘The Distinguished Gentleman’ (1992) vs. ‘Citizen Kane’ (1941): In “The Distinguished Gentleman,” Eddie Murphy, left, played Florida conman Thomas Jefferson Johnson who got elected to Congress and learned to go straight while in office. In “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles, right, played honest businessman Charles Foster Kane, who failed at politics and moved to Florida, where he went crooked. Even though “Kane” is considered by many people to be the greatest film ever made, Welles never won an Oscar for his acting; so far, Murphy hasn’t either. ()
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