Samuel L. Jackson has a message for the Academy and it has nothing to do with the current drama surrounding the reformatted 94th Academy Awards telecast. Instead, Jackson wants Oscar voters to know that he should have an Academy Award under his belt at this point in his career. Although Jackson is being recognized with an Honorary Oscar this year, he’s only ever received one Oscar nomination: best supporting actor in 1995 for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.”
“I should have won that one,” Jackson recently told The Times about his “Pulp Fiction” Oscar nomination. Jackson was nominated that year against Martin Landau (“Ed Wood”), Chazz Palminteri (“Bullets Over Broadway”), Paul Scofield (“Quiz Show”) and Gary Sinise (“Forrest Gump”). Landau was awarded the Oscar. Jackson said he missed out on another Oscar for “Jungle Fever,” for which he wasn’t even nominated. Two cast members from “Bugsy” broke into the race that year to Jackson’s disbelief.
“My wife and I went to see ‘Bugsy,’” Jackson said. “Damn! They got nominated and I didn’t? I guess Black folk usually win for doing despicable shit on screen. Like Denzel [Washington] 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 motherfucker. So maybe I should have won one. But Oscars don’t move the comma on your cheque — it’s about getting asses in seats and I’ve done a good job of doing that.”
Jackson noted that the Oscars should shine a greater spotlight on the films that get “asses in seats.” The Academy tried and failed to introduce a category for most popular film in 2018, but Jackson is in full support of the idea. The actor suggested that any year’s highest-grossing movie should be awarded an Oscar.
“They should have an Oscar for the most popular movie. Because that’s what the business is about,” Jackson said, adding the Oscars “should” award “Spider-Man: No Way Home” this year for grossing $1.8 billion and counting worldwide. “It did what movies did forever — it got people to a big dark room.”
“All movies are valid,” Jackson said. “Some go to the cinema to be moved dearly. Some like superheroes. If somebody has more butts on seats it just means your audience is not as broad. There are people who have had successful careers but nobody can recite one line of their parts. I’m the guy who says shit that’s on a T-shirt.”
Jackson will receive his Honorary Oscar at the 2022 Governors Awards on March 25, two days before the Oscars telecast.