Speaking to The Times, Jackson made his thoughts clear on the Oscars and their previous choices of winners, stating that he “should have won that one” for his role as hitman Jules Winnifield in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Despite Jackson’s performance being heralded as one of the best of the film and that of his entire career, the award went to Martin Landau that year for his role in Ed Wood.
He had plenty more harsh words, however, going on to point out the disparity with which the Oscars recognise African American actors, stating, “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.”
Pulp Fiction isn’t the only film the Hollywood veteran believes he was snubbed for, with the Glass actor adding that he should’ve been nominated for his role in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever in 1991, despite the award ultimately going Jack Palance that year for his role in City Slickers.
“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.”
Pulp Fiction remains the only film Jackson has received an Oscar nomination for, which, if you consider his decades-spanning filmography, seems pretty ridiculous. Check out his iconic ‘Ezekiel Speech’ from the 1994 classic below for a reminder of his brilliance in the film.