Later this month, veteran Black actor Samuel L. Jackson will receive the Honorary Academy Award at the 2022 Oscars ceremony. However, you’d be surprised to know that it will be the only award he’s ever gotten from the prestigious awards show, and only second time he’s been acknowledged in any way after losing in 1994 for “Best Supporting Actor” for his iconic role in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
Or is it that surprising?
Sam-Jack doesn’t seem to think so, and he has a pretty interesting opinion on why that may be the case for him and other African American Hollywood stars since the first ceremony was hosted back in 1929.
Ahead of this year’s Oscars ceremony being held on March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, Jackson spoke candidly with The Times on his Pulp Fiction snub and what many believe has been decades of disregard for his countless major film roles over the years. “I should have won that one,” he says about playing slick hitman Jules Winnfield, with the award eventually going to late Hollywood icon Martin Landau, a white man, for his role in the 1994 Ed Wood biopic. Jackson went on to make an argument for not even getting a nomination for his equally impressive role three years earlier in Jungle Fever. Instead, he saw Bugsy actors Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley both get nominations for the same film.
Take a look at what he had to say on that note, via The Times:
“‘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 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.”
His comments bring up a very interesting point. In addition to Denzel having to be depicted in Glory getting flogged as a slave-turned-war-hero to win his first Oscar, many felt Halle Berry had to do a sexually graphic scene with a white man while playing a down-and-out single Black mother to get her win for Monster’s Ball. The same sentiment goes to Lupita Nyong’o, who had to be depicted being raped and whipped in 12 Years A Slave in order to achieve an Academy Award. Most recently Daniel Kaluuya won playing Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, but not without getting depicted in one of the most gruesome murder scenes of a Black man in film history.
While some of the only 20 Black actors to ever win an Oscar have been the exception — hey Whoopi and Cuba! — we’ve got to give Samuel L . Jackson his props on this one. Let us know your thoughts on this viral topic.
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