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Samuel L. Jackson Gets Honest About Losing The Oscar For Pulp Fiction, But Says He’s Done Another Thing In Hollywood Well

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson pointing guns together in Pulp Fiction
(Image credit: Miramax)

Samuel L. Jackson is one of the biggest names in Hollywood today. He’s been part of Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe and numerous other high profile movies over the last couple decades. At this point the only accolade he hasn’t earned is the Academy Award. He was nominated once, for Pulp Fiction, his breakout role. And while the actor feels he probably should have taken the statue home, he’s ok with just being part of wildly successful movies.

Back in 1995 Samuel L. Jackson, after already making movies for years,  was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Pulp Fiction. He lost the award to Martin Landau in Ed Wood, but Jackson, being very blunt, says “I should have won that one.” Jackson also believes he should have been nominated earlier. 

He tells The Times (opens in new tab) that his role as Gator Puffy in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever was worthy of nomination. That award was eventually won by Jack Palance in City Slickers, but Jackson seems mostly annoyed he wasn’t nominated when two different actors from Warren Betty’s Bugsy made the shortlist. Jackson says…

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 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.

Winning an award from your peers is certainly something that I think most actors would appreciate. Who doesn’t want the recognition that they’re really good in their chosen profession? Jackson has certainly had his issues with the Oscars in the past, though Jackson will receive an honorary award this year. At the same time, Samuel L. Jackson realizes that there is more than one way to receive validation and find success. Samuel L. Jackson may not have Oscars but he’s sold a lot of movie tickets, and he’s ok with that. Selling all those tickets has also made him a lot of money. He says…

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.

Samuel L. Jackson is certainly good at putting the butts in the seats. He is, by some metrics, the most successful actor of all time in that regard. He’s been able to translate that success into paydays for himself, and one has to appreciate that. Whether or not he ever wins the Oscar, he is absolutely a huge movie star, (just don’t call him a legend) and that’s just another way of receiving recognition for your work.  

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.