Monday, March 27

Samuel L. Jackson Receives His First-Ever Oscar from Denzel Washington: ‘I’m Really Proud’

Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington

Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington

Mike Coppola/Getty

Samuel L. Jackson is thrilled to receive his first Oscar!

Despite having been onscreen for most of his life, Jackson, 73, had never won an Oscar up until this weekend.

On Friday, the Pulp Fiction star was presented with an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement at the Governors Awards by longtime friend Denzel Washington in a non-televised ceremony.

Prior to welcoming the veteran actor onstage, Washington appeared to salute Jackson before warmly remarking on their personal and professional association, noting Jackson’s status as the actor with the greatest total box office gross of all time, over $27 billion worldwide.

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“Sam and I go back in the theater, the Goodman Theatre,” he shared. “We worked together even before that, at the Negro Ensemble Company. We did a pretty good play called The Soldier’s Play that became 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.”

Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington

Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington

Mike Coppola/Getty

Washington also noted Jackson’s career in philanthropy, with a long list of the charities with which the Marvel star has worked before inviting him to receive the award.

Jackson has appeared in more than 150 films throughout his lifetime. His notable credits include Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Deep Blue Sea, and Die Hard with a Vengeance, to name a few. He was nominated for best supporting actor at the 1995 Academy Awards for his role in Pulp Fiction.

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Upon accepting the honorary award, Jackson touched on his long-lived friendship with Washington, saying, “We’ve come a long way and done a lot of things.”

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Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson

Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson

Mike Coppola/Getty

“So I’m really, really proud to receive this statue,” he said before thanking the Governors for the recognition. “Who knows, that little kid from Chattanooga, Tennessee, watching movies, wishing he could be here to get the votes of people who run an organization like this that says, ‘Hey, I deserve something like this,’ thank you, so much.”

Jackson went on to reflect on his storied career while acknowledging his early lesser-known roles, including Gang Member Number Two, Bum, Hold-Up Man, and Black Guy.

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“When I got the opportunity, I tried to represent this business the best I do now,” he said after thanking his wife of 42 years, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and their daughter Zoe, calling them “his biggest critics and biggest fans.”

“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,” Jackson continued.

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“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,” he concluded his emotional speech.

The ceremony also honored actress, writer, and director Elaine May, actress and director Liv Ullmann, and actor Danny Glover, who received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

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The 2022 Oscars air Sunday from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on ABC.

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