Samuel L. Jackson isn’t holding back in voicing his preferences and priorities as an actor. In a new interview with The Los Angeles Times, the 73-year-old actor talks about his career, his professional motivations, and what makes him happy as an actor. Spoiler alert: Going to the Oscars is not one of them. While many dream of attending the Academy Awards and walking the red carpet in front of a sea of photographers, Jackson admits he is “over” the pomp and circumstance of attending the Oscars, or even chasing Oscar-winning roles. Instead, he looks forward to having fun acting in blockbuster franchises like the Marvel movies or the Star Wars saga.
Jackson’s attitude toward the Academy Awards and the demands of Hollywood are exactly what you might expect from the no-nonsense persona he projects. The interview makes it clear that the Samuel L. Jackson you see is the real deal, as he says his focus as an actor is to just enjoy the work. “I’d rather be Nick Fury,” he told Glenn Whipp of The Times. “Or having fun being Mace Windu with a lightsaber in my hand.” He also admits he is motivated to do movies that people will enjoy watching, which is why he continues to play Nick Fury in Marvel projects after more than a decade after appearing in an uncredited cameo in 2008’s Iron Man.
Jackson admits he learned to put things in perspective after not winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1995 for Pulp Fiction. He lost to Martin Landau (Ed Wood) that year, and shifted his professional priorities. “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,” he said. Samuel L. Jackson was given an honorary Oscar this past year, for his entire body of work, which did help smooth over any hard feelings he may have had.
Perhaps Samuel L. Jackson’s biggest slam against the Oscars is also his funniest. When discussing attending the Academy Awards ceremony, the highlight of going isn’t to be in the company of Hollywood’s biggest stars, or the sheer glamour of the event seen worldwide. No, his big motivation is the gift baskets. “I always have fun going to the Oscars,” he said. “I always look forward to getting a gift basket for being a presenter. (Laughing) I give stuff to my relatives; my daughter and my wife would take stuff out. It’s cool…But otherwise, I was past it.”
As Variety reported, Marvel fans won’t have to wait long to see Samuel L. Jackson wearing the signature eyepatch once again. He’s appearing in at least two of Marvel’s big upcoming projects: The Disney+ series Secret Invasion (expected to premiere this fall) and The Marvels (opening in theaters next summer). Secret Invasion will focus on Jackson’s Fury and Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos in a battle against the Skrulls, with Emilia Clarke (Solo) and Olivia Colman (The Crown) starring as well. The Marvels is the sequel to Captain Marvel, with Jackson and Brie Larson teaming up once again. In fact, as ComicBook.com reported, he recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and revealed that he is headed to England in August to do reshoots on The Marvels, as well as film scenes for Secret Invasion.
For Samuel L. Jackson, however, awards don’t bring him happiness, and don’t motivate his choice of roles. “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…I’m not doing statue-chasing movies.” When offered a role with promises that it will win him an Oscar, he says plainly “No thanks. I’d rather be Nick Fury.” Ultimately, he prefers his career be defined with movies “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.”