Samuel L. Jackson Doesn't Need A Mothafuckin' Oscar For Validation, Would Rather Be Nick Fury And Make Bank At Marvel

Frazer Harrison. Getty Images.

Despite being one of the most prolific film actors of all-time and having his movies gross the most money ever at the global box office, Samuel L. Jackson has only been nominated for an Oscar once. That came courtesy of his brilliant work in Quentin Tarantino's 1994 classic Pulp Fiction. This year, Jackson has been given an honorary Academy Award for all his contributions to the industry, but insists a golden statue isn't something he's coveting at this stage of his career.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jackson explained his mindset behind years of Oscar snubs and how he's not being so results-oriented in that regard for the singular silver screen legacy he's built.

“As jaded as I wanted to be about it, you know thinking, ‘Well, I should have won an Oscar for this or should have won for that and it didn’t happen,’ once I got over it many years ago, it wasn’t a big deal for me. […] I was never going to let the Oscars be a measure of my success or failure as an actor. My yardstick of success is my happiness: Am I satisfied with what I’m doing? I’m not doing statue-chasing movies. You know [whispers]: ‘If you do this movie, you’ll win an Oscar.’ No, thanks. I’d rather be Nick Fury. Or having fun being Mace Windu with a lightsaber in my hand."

Some acting/cinema snobs may turn their nose up at Jackson's commentary here, but it's extremely refreshing and honest. Performance and art are such arbitrary, subjective things to judge. No matter how amazing lots of people believe you to be as an actor, SOMEONE out there will think you suck, or are at least wildly overrated. The complete opposite is also true.

Yeah, getting an Oscar is incredible. I can't imagine how sick that would be. Getting too caught up in pursuing that, however…I think even the most grounded of people would drive themselves crazy to try to monomaniacally strive for that outcome.

Let's circle back to Nick Fury for a second, because we need to state a simple fact about what Jackson has done with that role. To be able to keep a character fresh and interesting for as long as Jackson has across his Marvel run is one of the more under-the-radar achievements in blockbuster entertainment, if that's even possible in such a monolithic franchise.

Giphy Images.

The thing that's great about Jackson is, he's not only in a position to be an anchor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nor did the role of Mace Windu in George Lucas' Star Wars prequels come to define his filmography. Jackson's Oscar-nominated work was the first of multiple collaborations with Tarantino. He's worked with other legendary auteurs like Martin Scorsese as well.

Even odder choices Jackson has made for projects have somehow worked out. Take Snakes on a Plane for example. The most straightforward, ridiculous premise and the most on-the-nose, literal movie title maybe ever. You know you know his iconic line from that movie, though! 

Here's another excerpt from the aforementioned interview that's noteworthy as far as how Jackson will continue to go about choosing his work:

I want to do the stuff that made me want to go to the movies when I was a kid. I want to do that movie that people just want to see so they can get out of themselves. That’s the guy I chose to be and I’m fine with it. I’m satisfied because that’s who I am. I’m the guy who does the lines that people see on T-shirts. There’s actors who go their whole careers and no one can quote a line they’ve said in a movie. People go to watch my movies to see how crazy I’m going to be or see how many times I say motherf—. [Laughs] Whatever gets them in the seats.

Anyway, Jackson is still going strong as Nick Fury in the MCU, with two more appearances slated for 2023 in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania along with the Disney+ TV series, The Marvels.

For those of you who want to give this man shit and say, "Aw but yeah he just plays himself in every movie!!" first of all, you're just wrong. Go watch Jackson in Unbreakable, the severely underrated M. Night Shyamalan suspense thriller/superhero origin story. Jackson's villainous Mr. Glass in that film is downright bone-chilling, pun intended. His role as the stoic but flawed Jedi Mace Windu in the Star Wars franchise is fantastic, too, and I'm still holding out hope that Mace will make a return and somehow survived Papa Palpatine's zap hands in Revenge of the Sith.


It'd be sinful for me to not give you some Pulp Fiction goodness, courtesy of Jackson's Jules Winnfield character. Some of the best acting/execution of dialogue ever committed to film. 

Martin Landau was brilliant and Oscar-worthy as Bela Legosi in Tim Burton's SUPER WEIRD even by his standards Ed Wood from that year, but seriously, Jackson's Winnfield was a powerhouse performance that deserved the Academy Award. 

Oh well, it's of little concern to Jackson. He'll just keep cashing those Marvel checks, crushing it as Nick Fury, hopefully return to Star Wars someday and do some other cool shit. Still going strong at age 73, with a reported net worth of $250 million, Jackson recently starred and earned critical acclaim in the Apple TV+ miniseries, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.