Oscars 2022: Samuel L. Jackson Receives His First Academy Award from Denzel Washington

Samuel L. Jackson is a prolific actor whose career extends through multiple decades. Up until this point, Jackson has never received an Academy Award. Now, Jackson has received an honorary Oscar for his career in movies and it was presented to him by his longtime friend and excellent actor in his own right, Denzel Washington. 

Samuel L. Jackson has a long career in movies

Samuel L. Jackson accepts his honorary Academy Award for his lifetime achievement in movies.
Samuel L. Jackson | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Jackson began his movie career with a small role in Milos Forman’s Ragtime in 1981. He began to gain attention with roles in Coming to America, Goodfellas, and Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. His breakthrough performance came in 1994 with his role as Jules Winnfield in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. His role as Winnfield earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. However, he lost to Martin Landau for Ed Wood.

Jackson has been a part of some of the highest-grossing franchises of all time, including Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, he is continuing his role in the MCU as Nick Fury in many upcoming projects including The Marvels, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania, and Secret Invasion

To this day, Jackson is the highest-grossing actor of all time. According to People, his movies have earned a cumulative worldwide total of $27 billion. While many know him for his more high-profile roles, he is still a tremendous actor and his Academy Award is well-deserved. 

Denzel Washington presents Samuel L. Jackson with an honorary Oscar

On the Friday night before the Oscars, Jackson was presented with an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement at the Governors Awards. Washington presented him with the award and shared some kind words, honoring the actor. Washington also talks about their friendship and their previous work together.

“​​Sam and I go back in the theater, the Goodman Theatre,” Washington said (shared via People). “We worked together even before that, at the Negro Ensemble Company. We did a pretty good play called The Soldier’s Play that became a great movie, A Soldier’s Story. Wasn’t as good as it would’ve been had Sam been in it, but that’s for another day.”

Washington then welcomed Jackson up to the stage, who embodied pure joy as he hugged Washington and accepted his award. 

Jackson thanks anyone who has ever bought a ticket to one of his movies

During his speech, Jackson reflected on growing up in Chattanooga, TN, and how as a kid, he never would have believed he could get to this point. He then thanks his wife and daughter before thanking audience members for showing up to see his movies. 

“When I got the opportunity, I tried to represent this business the best I do now,” Jackson said. “I got out there to entertain audiences the way Hollywood entertained me. Make them forget their lives for a few hours and be thrilled, awed, or excited at the big room where make-believe lives…Thanks to every person who has ever bought a ticket to any movie I was in. It’s truly been an honor and a pleasure to entertain you.”

The Governors Awards also honored director, writer, and actor Elaine May, actor Danny Glover, and actor and director Liv Ullmann. 

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