With over 213 major roles under his belt, Samuel L. Jackson has made history as one of the most hired actors in Hollywood. He is so sought after, not because he is cheap (The Morehouse Man commands between $10 to $20 million per movie casting), but rather because of his undeniable star power, consistently drawing audiences and filling seats.
Movies with the bankable Marvel Comics actor starring in them have collectively aggregated $4.5 billion in box office dollars — and he is clear of his worth.
That is why Jackson, a talent and businessman with an estimated net worth of $250 million, was able to command an additional seven figures over an Oscar winner in one of his films. He and the producers knew that the fans would want to see him more.
Jackson: Money Talks More Than Oscars
During a 2022 interview with The Los Angeles Times, Jackson, who turned 75 last month, talked about how being an Oscar winner is not as impactful to him as getting the big check.
“I don’t think an Oscar moves the comma on your check like it used to because it’s all about [people] in seats,” he said before remembering being at the proverbial negotiating table and flexing his muscle regarding one of the trophy winners.
Saying, “I remember doing a movie with an Academy Award winner. I specifically had a clause in my contract that said I had to make a million more dollars than him because he doesn’t put [people] in seats — I do. It’s knowing who you are and what you’re doing.”
This is also not coming from a space of sour grapes. Jackson has been nominated for one golden statue and in 2023 received an honorary Oscar at the 12th Governors Awards.
He also understands that out of the 3,000 people who have received the honor since 1929 only approximately 60 Black people, across all of the various categories, have actually won the award, according to AS.com.
Actress Halle Berry remains the only African-American woman to win Best Leading Actress with her 2002 “Monster’s Ball” win. Designer Ruth E. Carter is the only Black person to win Best Costume Design in 2019 for “Black Panther,” while Peter Ramsey for Best Animated Film with “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” the same year.
With all of the great films that have been directed by Black people, Steve McQueen is the only Black person to ever when “Best Film” in 2014 for his movie, “12 Years a Slave.”
And while Spike Lee, one of Jackson’s oldest and dearest friends and bosses, has been nominated five times since 1990, he only has one proper Oscar, for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie “BlacKkKlansman.” It was Lee’s Morehouse brother Jackson who presented him the award.
Lee, like Jackson, was also presented with an Honorary Academy Award in 2016. However, he also holds the distinction of winning a Student Academy Award in 1983 for his work “Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads.”
On Jan. 22, Danielle Brooks, Sterling K. Brown, Colman Domingo, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Jeffrey Wright all earned acting nominations from the Academy for the upcoming 96th Academy Awards, according to ABC News.
Laid back and easygoing, Jackson’s attention is actually not on the Academy, but rather on his new film “Argylle,” which recently premiered and is set to hit theaters on Feb. 2, and the six other titles he has in either pre- or post-production. He is also balancing out all of those projects as he is currently filming “The Unholy Trinity.”