Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in a lot of iconic projects over the course of a trailblazing career, ranging from Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing to Marvel’s The Avengers. Even though he has an extensive filmography, Jackson’s collaborations with pioneering filmmaker Quentin Tarantino have emerged as a definitive part of his legacy as an actor.
While Jackson has worked with Tarantino on widely celebrated films such as Jackie Brown and Django Unchained among others, his most popular onscreen appearance remains his portrayal of a Bible-quoting assassin in Tarantino’s magnum opus Pulp Fiction. A true ’90s classic, the film is still an indispensable part of the current frameworks of popular culture.
In a recent interview, Jackson claimed that he should have won an Academy Award for his fantastic performance in Pulp Fiction. At the time, he missed out on the opportunity to get that prestigious accolade since he lost out to the fantastic work of Martin Landau who stole the show as an ageing Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.
“I guess Black folk usually win for doing despicable shit on screen,” Jackson said while explaining how the Academy has a prejudice when it comes to awarding the efforts of Black artists. “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,” Jackson added. The actor also acknowledged that the institutional validation of the Academy means nothing in the long run since it is evident that audiences loved his work in Pulp Fiction: “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.”