Acting legend Samuel L. Jackson finally got an acting Oscar last year with an honorary award for his contributions across his career.
Previously Jackson was only nominated in 1995 for his work in “Pulp Fiction” the year before, an award he lost to Martin Landau for his work as Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood”.
In a new interview with Vulture, Jackson says he was robbed of another chance to win an Oscar just two years later with his role in Joel Schumacher’s 1996 adaptation of John Grisham’s legal drama “A Time to Kill”.
Jackson played a man on trial in Mississippi for killing the two men who raped his young daughter. It’s a supporting role in a film dominated by Matthew McConaughey who plays his lawyer and whose professional career was kickstarted by the film.
The film offered a strong performance from Jackson, but the role always seemed somewhat underutilised. According to the actor, that was the result of the film being dramatically changed in the editing room:
“In ‘A Time to Kill,’ when I kill those guys, I kill them because my daughter needs to know that those guys are not on the planet anymore and they will never hurt her again — that I will do anything to protect her.
That’s how I played that character throughout. And there were specific things we shot, things I did to make sure that she understood that, but in the editing process, they got taken out.
And it looked like I killed those dudes and then planned every move to make sure that I was going to get away with it. When I saw it, I was sitting there like, ‘What the f—?’”
The things they took out kept me from getting an Oscar… My first day working on that film, I did a speech in a room with an actor and the whole f——- set was in tears when I finished.
I was like, ‘Okay. I’m on the right page.’ That s— is not in the movie! And I know why it’s not. Because it wasn’t my movie, and they weren’t trying to make me a star. That was one of the first times that I saw that s— happen.
There are things that I’ve done in other movies where I said, ‘Wait a minute. Why did you take that moment out of the movie?’ Because the moment in that movie, it’s bigger than the movie.”
Jackson ultimately was never nominated for the film. Still, he adds that “Oscars don’t move the comma on your cheque”, and he’s done a good job of getting people to come to cinemas over the years. In fact, he’s estimated to be the highest-grossing actor of all time.
He also was asked about his time with Marvel and what’s the one thing he hasn’t done on screen with the character that he’d like to do. His answer?
“Go to Wakanda… I asked many times, ‘When do I get to go to Wakanda?’ And they’re like, ‘No.’ ‘Why? I know Wakanda is there. And I know about T’Challa. Who do I never encounter them?.”
Jackson can currently be seen in Marvel’s “Secret Invasion” on the Disney+ service.