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Black actors win Oscars when their characters do 'despicable sh*t', Samuel L. Jackson has said.
Look at his wealth of roles: Jules in Pulp Fiction; Ordell in Jackie Brown; Stephen in Django Unchained; Major Marquis Warren in The Hateful Eight — and that's just his collaborations with Quentin Tarantino, before we even get to Snakes on a Plane, Unbreakable, A Time To Kill and his tenures in the Marvel and Star Wars universes.
Whether it's one particular performance, all of them, or his penchant for saying 'motherf*cker' better than anyone else, Jackson is an icon (not to mention the highest-grossing actor of all time) — and yet, maddeningly, he's never managed to bag an Oscar.
The star was hotly tipped to take home an Academy Award in 1994, when he was nominated for his turn in Pulp Fiction. Alas, the golden statuette went to Martin Landau for his performance as Béla Lugosi in Ed Wood. 'I should have won that one,' he said with a smile to The Times.
Jackson also cited his performance in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever as one that could have been Oscar-worthy. That year, the likes of Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Lerner, Jack Palance (who won for City Slickers) were nominated, as well as Harvey Keitel and Sir Ben Kingsley, both of whom starred in Bugsy.
Jackson and his wife went to see Bugsy. 'Damn! They got nominated and I didn’t?' he said. 'I guess Black folk usually win for doing despicable sh*t 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*cker.
'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,' he added.
Jackson — who's made a total of 10 appearances across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will return for the Secret Invasion Disney+ series — also came to the defence of Spider-Man: No Way Home after it failed to nab a Best Picture nomination.
'All movies are valid. 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,' he said.
'They should have an Oscar for the most popular movie because that’s what business is about,' Jackson added, saying No Way Home 'did what movies did forever – it got people to a big dark room'.
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Featured Image Credit: @samuelljackson/Instagram/Alamy
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