Samuel L. Jackson has some words for the Oscars.
In a recent interview with The Times, the Hollywood veteran gave his opinion on his past Oscar nomination and his lack of Academy Awards under his belt.
“I should have won that one,” Jackson recounted about his nomination for his role in “Pulp Fiction”. Jackson lost to Martin Landau for the latter’s performance in the movie Ed Wood during the 1994 Oscars for Best Supporting Actor. The actor also expressed his displeasure for the lack of recognition for his character, Gator Purify in “Jungle Fever” (1991) at the renowned awards show. The film “Bugsy” and two of its cast members snagged the Oscar that year over “Jungle Fever”.
“My wife and I went to see ‘Bugsy,’” the “Pulp Fiction” actor said. “Damn! They got nominated and I didn’t? I guess Black folk usually win for doing despicable shit on screen.”
Jackson continued, “Like Denzel for being a horrible cop in ‘Training Day.’ All the great stuff he did in uplifting roles like ‘Malcolm X?’ No, we’ll give it to this mother*cker.”
For decades, celebrities in Hollywood have expressed the blatant overshadowing of the performances of Black actors and actresses at the Academy Awards. One of the earliest snubs to be remembered is that of Hattie McDaniel, who won the Oscar for her performance in“Gone with the Wind” (1939). Despite the fact that she was the Oscar recipient, McDaniel was forbidden to attend the Oscars the following year as the ceremony was held at a whites-only theatre.
In 2016, celebrities stood in solidarity for an Oscar boycott in Hollywood after Will and Jada Smith announced they would not attend that year’s Academy Awards. The previous year of 2015 saw outstanding performances from Black actors such as Idris Elba in “Beasts of No Nation” and Michael B. Jordan for his role in “Creed”, however, not a single non-white actor saw an Oscar nomination. The movement quickly spawned the hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite” and a few of their fellow celebrities gave up their seats at the awards that night, including Reese Witherspoon, Spike Lee, George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Mark Ruffalo, Viola Davis, and Lupita N’Yongo.
Despite his lack of Oscar wins and nominations over the decades, Jackson will be presented with an honorary Oscar at the 2022 Governors Awards on March 25.
“Maybe I should have won. But Oscars don’t move the comma on your cheque,” Jackson said. “It’s about getting a**es in seats and I’ve done a good job of doing that.”
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Mr. Jackson is right about Black actors being nominated and winning for despicable characters. I feel the role where Mr. Jackson shed the most acute intellectual light on us as Black people and he should have received an oscar nomination at least; if not the statue, was for his portrayal of the quintessential head house slave with Leonard Dicaprio character as master, in Django Unchained. Mr, Jackson brought a much missing sensitivity and subtlety to that role unmatched in other generic slave portayals by Black actors. It was an illuminating, penetrating, psycho-social lesson. I know we Blacks don’t like to see something that real. But I’m glad Mr. Jackson had the confidence in his ability to be so 100 per cent real to the world. He definitely could have witheld it like many others and instead fueled our confusion even more.