Believe it or not, the 74-year-old actor’s career spans over 160 movies, including some of the biggest franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars universe, the MonsterVerse, plus Kingsman, Unbreakable, and of course, Quentin Tarantino’s cinematic worlds.
But, despite this illustrious career from theater to the silver screen, he’s only received one Academy Award nomination — for his role as Jules Winnfield in Tarantino’s 1994 film Pulp Fiction.
Now, he’s revealing a movie moment that might’ve cost him his second nomination because it was removed from the final cut.
Speaking with Vulture about his career, Sam referenced his role in Joel Schumacher’s 1996 film A Time to Kill as a moment where he was robbed of an Academy Award.
Ultimately, the movie’s final cut didn’t pan out exactly how it was planned, and this, he believed, kept him from award recognition. “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.”
Sam said the final cut made him look like he “planned every move to make sure that I was going to get away with it,” but this wasn’t the scene’s intention. “When I saw it, I was sitting there like, ‘What the fuck?'” he added.
Sam believed it kept him from getting an Oscar. “Really, motherfuckers? You just took that shit from me?” he added. “My first day working on that film, I did a speech in a room with an actor, and the whole fucking set was in tears when I finished. I was like, ‘Okay. I’m on the right page.’ That shit is not in the movie!”
Sam, ultimately, understood why the scene-stealing moments were cut from the film. “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 shit happen,” Sam added. “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.”
Sam isn’t letting his lack of award nods slow him down anytime soon. He’s currently at the helm of the Disney+ series, Secret Invasion, reprising his role as Nick Fury, and he was recently nominated for Tony Award for his involvement in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.
In 2021, Sam received an Honorary Academy Award for his impressive filmography. He told Vulture, “[It] didn’t feel honorary, just felt like I was getting an Oscar. I earned it. I worked for it. I can possibly name four other instances where I could have won or should have won, or should have been nominated, but I’m fine with it. It’s mine. I got it. My name’s on it.”
“I am a firm believer of that bullshit that they used to tell us, ‘There are no small parts, only small actors.'”
Bravo, Mr. Jackson. Bravo.