Samuel L. Jackson (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)When it comes to this year's Oscar race, Samuel L. Jackson seems to be giving the Academy the knowing evil eye.
The 64-year-old actor recently admitted he was none too pleased when he was passed up for an Academy Award more than 15 years ago, all but revealing his intention to win the award this year for his role as house slave Stephen in "Django Unchained."
Marking his only Oscar nomination to date, Jackson lost the golden statuette in 1995 to Martin Landau who won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for playing Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood." But Jackson's disappointment over the loss isn't necessarily news: If you were watching his reaction closely as the award was announced -- by a young Anna Paquin, mind you -- you saw his mouth form what appeared to be the word "sh--" (watch here at 1:14-in).
When asked whether he thinks he should have won, Jackson told Deadline in a recent interview, "Yes I do. I really don’t know many people who can not only remember 'Ed Wood' but remember what Martin Landau did in it."
Landau, left, with his 1995 Oscar, and Paquin (Photo: James Aylott/Getty Images)To state the obvious, that was the year Jackson was nominated for arguably his most famous role -- the oddly philosophical, tough-as-nails hit man Jules Winnfield in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction." "You know they were saying 'Martin’s been nominated a few times and you’re going to be around for a while. Don’t worry.' I was thinking I didn’t know it was a thing where if you get nominated for a few times you automatically get one. I thought it was supposed to be about impact," he added.
Incidentally, Jackson shared the supporting actor loss that year with Gary Sinise ("Forrest Gump"), Chazz Palminteri ("Bullets Over Broadway") and the late Paul Scofield ("Quiz Show." Scofield also won a Best Actor Oscar in 1967 for "A Man for All Seasons").
It stands to reason if Landau got one that was overdue, this could very well be Jackson's year to win. But, controversy over the racially-charged content of "Django Unchained" aside, there is at least one hurdle standing in Jackson's way: He wasn't nominated for a Golden Globe.
While "Django" has earned five Globe nominations -- including two supporting actor nods for Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz -- Jackson wasn't included. He's not worried. "I understand what the Golden Globes is. It's the only show they [the Hollywood Foreign Press Association] have and is their biggest moneymaker so you have to pack the room with people that are going to make people tune into that show. With popular actors and the popular television shows, it’s whoever they think people want to see on the red carpet and hope that they win, not necessarily the quality of work you’ve done," he told Deadline.
Jackson in 'Django Unchained' (Image credit: The Weinstein Company)Jackson's awards-season irreverence didn't end there. He went on to say he doesn't try to game the system like other actors who seem to only take roles that have "Oscar potential." "I do movies I want to see myself. Like Quentin, he writes the movies he wants to see. I tend to take roles that I want to see me in. I enjoy movies for the audience aspect of it," he added.
Like other actors who have garnered significant Oscar buzz this year --namely, Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Lawrence -- Jackson has been letting it all hang out. He recently dared a reporter to say the n-word and also trashed the ending of fellow awards-season favorite "Lincoln."
Could this possibly be a new Oscar campaign strategy? Form your own armchair opinion next week when nominations are announced on January 10th, and ultimately when the winners are named on February 24th.
"Django Unchained" is in theaters now.