Samuel L. Jackson Should've Won An Oscar By Now, And He Knows It

"Do the Right Thing." "Jurassic Park." "Pulp Fiction." "Unbreakable." (I could go on, but there are only so many hours in a day.) The only list longer than the one featuring every iconic film Samuel L. Jackson has co-starred in or headlined is the list of every other movie he's worked on during his prolific career. He's one of the rare Black actors to achieve that level of success in an industry that, until very recently, was unwelcoming at best, and more often than not outright inaccessible and hostile to artists of color. It's not like this is some kind of secret, either. It was even the basis for one of the best jokes in "Ted 2."

Rest assured, Jackson knows all-too-well he's long overdue some recognition from the Academy for his contributions to the art of motion pictures. In an interview with The Times (via Variety) to discuss the Honorary Oscar he's set to receive this year, it was brought up that Jackson has only received a single Academy Award nod for his acting to date, courtesy of his turn in "Pulp Fiction" as hitman Jules "Bad Mother F*****" Winnfield. "I should have won that one," Jackson replied. (He lost that year to Martin Landau for his supporting role as Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood.")

Hold on to your butts, he's not done

Jackson added that he felt he also deserved an Oscar nod for his turn as the crack-addicted Gator in Spike Lee's 1991 joint "Jungle Fever," voicing his disbelief that the Academy instead awarded the crime biopic "Bugsy" with not one but two Best Supporting Actor Oscar nods in that year's race (for Ben Kingsley and Harvey Keitel's performances in the film):

"My wife and I went to see 'Bugsy.' Damn! They got nominated and I didn't? I guess Black folk usually win for doing despicable s*** 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 motherf*****. So maybe I should have won one. But Oscars don't move the comma on your check — it's about getting asses in seats and I've done a good job of doing that."

Recent minor improvements aside, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to Jackson's comments about the Academy and its poor track record when it comes to recognizing Black artists for their work on both sides of the camera. (Lest we forget, Spike Lee didn't get his first and, so far, only non-honorary Oscar until 2019, when Jackson himself announced he had won Best Adapted Screenplay for co-writing "BlacKkKlansman.") Again, things are slowly changing on that front, with Will Smith and Denzel Washington both in the running for Best Actor for their respective roles in "King Richard" and "The Tragedy of Macbeth" at the 2022 Oscars, but there's still a whole lot of room for improvement.

In the meantime, Jackson will continue to make his living by reprising his role as Nick Fury for Marvel's Disney+ show "Secret Invasion" and starring in the dramatic TV series "The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey" for Apple TV+. He's also set to co-star in "The Piano Lesson," an upcoming film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1987 play of the same name by legendary playwright August Wilson ("Fences," "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"). So who knows, he may yet land that Oscar he should've won years ago in the foreseeable future.