In March, the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences awarded Samuel L. Jackson an honorary Oscar at the Honorary Governors Awards. That’s no small feat, but it’s not an acting Oscar. And Jackson is pretty sure he won’t ever wrangle a victory at Academy Awards as much as he’d like to.
IndieWire reports that Jackson sees the Oscars as a “popularity contest” that often overlooks each year’s most entertaining performances. And the “The Last Days Of Ptomley Grey” star is no stranger to the dreadful Oscar snub. His role in “Pulp Fiction” infamously lost to Martin Landau in “Ed Wood” for Best Supporting Actor in 1995.
“I heard way back when, when Martin Landau got the award and I didn’t, ‘C’mon, Sam. Martin’s been nominated so many times. Don’t worry. Your time is coming.’” the actor told the Los Angeles Times, “Excuse me? I didn’t know that’s how it worked. I thought it was the acting performance that made the most impact.” So, in other words, Landau was getting his due credit with his Oscar win that night, despite not necessarily being that year’s most influential supporting male role. Jackson went on, “That’s what we’re celebrating, the big sh*t that happened in Hollywood. Best actor, best actress…that’s some bullsh*t. That’s a popularity contest.”
Jackson’s only Oscar nomination to date remains the one he had as Jules Winfield in Quentin Tarantino‘s film. So, what would it take for Jackson to win? Given his other excellent roles for Tarantino over years, Jackson is at a loss. “Everything I’ve done for Quentin has a moment that’s given me an opportunity, from “Jackie Brown” to “The Hateful Eight” to “Django Unchained,”” he said. “”Django” was probably my best shot because it’s the most evil character I’ve ever played and they generally reward Black people for playing horrendous sh•t.” Is that a reference to Denzel Washington‘s 2001 Best Actor win as corrupt detective Alonzo Harris in “Training Day“? Or maybe Forest Whitaker as General Idi Amin for 2006’s “The Last King Of Scotland.”
In any case, the sheen of an Oscars victory has worn off for Jackson. “This is the night Hollywood celebrates f*cking Hollywood,” Jackson continued. “That thing that we used to have when I was young, watching it and wondering, ‘What am I going to say when I get mine’ was the glamor of it all, the extravagance, the mystique that is Hollywood. Some of that’s gone.” Jackson cited actors flexing their public influence as one of those reasons the Hollywood mystique no longer saturates the Oscars. “You’ve got movie stars who are influencers or people who live out loud, so you know way more about them than you used to know. But it should still be a celebration that you did something that’s great. Like I still say, there should be an award for the movie that made the most money.”
We’re not sure about that last part, but it’s clear Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t expect to snag an Oscar win any time soon. He’ll be onscreen reprising his role as Nick Fury in next year’s “The Marvels” and “Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania.” That’s not an Oscar-worthy role, but maybe Jackson shouldn’t discredit his chances so soon; hopefully, he has a lot of roles left in him.