When you are literally the biggest box office draw in the history of cinema, your opinion should be gold in the entertainment industry. And when that No. 1 highest grossing movie star of all times has achieved his success not just in massive tent pole franchises like "Jurassic Park," the "Star Wars" prequels, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and "The Kingsman," but also starred in everything from the Quentin Tarantino modern classics to kid movies like "The Incredibles" films the way Samuel L. Jackson has? While until recently being the King of All Swear Words? Well then his word should be gospel.
And to hear what he has to say about the industry just now, he has had it with these motherfucking Oscars being given out by
this motherfucking Academy Awards:
Truer words have never been spoken by anyone, inside or outside of show business. The major problem with entertainment awards in general and the Oscars in particular is that they rarely if ever recognize something that appeals to a wide audience. And my go-to example is the year "Saving Private Ryan," a cinematic masterpiece and arguably the best film ever made in the major category of war movies, lost the Best Picture Oscar to "Shakespeare in Love," a movie that I have yet to hear anybody ever reference, quote or even discuss. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever actually met anyone who's seen it. But it was about Shakespeare and theater and therefore appealed to Academy voters who wanted to seem cultured. Meanwhile millions of people like me get Shawshanked by "Saving Private Ryan" every time we come across it and just about every time the anniversary of D-Day comes around in the spring.
Likewise a performer like Jackson gets shafted. Because he doesn't take the Oscar-bait roles like Real Life Tragic Figure, Musical Biopic Title Character, Victim of Substance Abuse or Underdog Who Heroically Struggles for Justice. He did one time play the Academy's other favorite, Person With a Disability, in M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable." But his Mr. Glass wasn't exactly Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot," so he was overlooked.
Instead, what Jackson does is entertain the masses. And that rarely if ever appeals to the people who hand out statuettes. On the rare occasion they do reward entertaining films with wide appeal, they get vilified for it. Every year the lists of Worst Best Picture Winners manage to find room for kickass popcorn movies like "Braveheart" and "Gladiator" that are thoroughly rewatchable. While whatever arthouse drudgery has Frances McDormand moping around depressed in some dreary rural hellscape that has very limited appeal is getting all the love.
The Oscars are very rapidly becoming thing of the past. Like newspapers and nudie magazines. In large part because the voters are so disconnected from the asses in the seats that Jackson mentions. The fact that he's delivered so many unforgettable t-shirt worthy performances you can watch a thousand times over is proof of that.
I would just tweak one thing he says, and that's about rewarding the most popular movie. I'd make a category for Best Popular Movie. Give it to the one that made bank at the box office, but that was a high quality. Otherwise you're going to find them awarding animated sequels where animals are in a singing contest or something. (For instance, Paul Newman is one of the greatest stars in movie history. But his highest grossing film ever was "Cars," which doesn't even crack Pixar's Top 10 best movies.) So this year it would be "Spider-Man." A couple of years ago it would've been "Avengers: Endgame." Before that, "The Dark Knight" would've walked away with it, and so on.
Other than that, Samuel L. Jackson is as right as Samuel L. Jackson usually is. It's just a damned shame he'll have to settle for a Lifetime Achievement Award while he just keeps making movies people love. Good thing then that they don't move the comma on his paychecks.