It’s an annual tradition at the Oscars. There’s always one nomination that movie fans latch on to in order to reflect what’s wrong with the awards show — for a film that not only doesn’t deserve a nomination, but highlights the injustice moviegoers feel for all the worthier films denied nominations.
In 2022, Coming 2 America is that movie. It’s an Amazon Prime Video-released sequel, released 23 years after the original 1988 Eddie Murphy vehicle Coming to America. Just their Rotten Tomatoes scores side-by-side — 72 percent plus A-level audience scores for the original, versus 49 percent for the sequel — gives you an idea.
Many critics savaged it, including Vanity Fair‘s Cassie Da Costa, who harshly described it as “startling in its utter incompetence”. The film had 1.27 million complete views in its first week of release, the first time that Prime Video topped the streaming charts, but lots of views doesn’t equal greatness. What’s more, as Popculture.com pointed out, the movie featured a date rape joke about a main character’s parentage that resulted in significant social media outrage.
And yet, Coming 2 America is up for a Best Makeup & Hairstyling Oscar, vying for the statue alongside Dune, Cruella, House of Gucci, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
Some took to Twitter to express their dismay, including the Lights, Camera, Pod account, which pointed out, “Spider-Man: No Way Home received the same number of Oscar nominations as Coming 2 America.
(For the record, Spider-Man: No Way Home has been nominated for Best Visual Effects.)
Jenny Heaton brought up other potential nominees, including Belle, The Matrix Resurrections, and In the Heights, which all were snubbed on Tuesday. She concluded, “In short, the Oscars are dumb.”
Another observer, tweeting as @staticbluebat, pointed out that Murphy is now the “star of Oscar nominated films Norbit and Coming 2 America,” invoking another movie that generated the same brand of disbelief (in the Best Makeup category.)
There’s one possible good thing to come out Coming 2 America bringing the Oscars down to this level. As a fan proposed, should Coming 2 America triumph, that Murphy accept the award as his barber character.
Murphy himself has been nominated for one Academy Award, as Best Supporting Actor in 2007 for Dreamgirls, but some mused that Norbit coming out just weeks after that nomination harpooned his chances.