Why Samuel L. Jackson insisted on a contract that paid him $1M more than an Oscar-winning co-star

Abu Mubarik January 26, 2024
Samuel L. Jackson -- Photo Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson

Samuel L. Jackson is a household name in Hollywood. His movies have racked up numbers and brought more people to the cinemas. However, for all his hard work, one thing eluded him: an Oscar.

Starring in more than 140 movies did not still get him an Oscar until 2022. Like his colleagues, he had wished and hoped for an Oscar ostensibly to raise his profile and ultimately impact his earnings.

He was once nominated for Pulp Fiction but he could not win and he was understandably disappointed by the loss. However, when he realized it was taking too long to clinch one, he forgot about it and devised another way of earning more than his Oscar-winning colleagues.

“As jaded as I wanted to be about it, you know thinking, ‘Well, I should have won an Oscar for this or should have won for that and it didn’t happen,’ once I got over it many years ago, it wasn’t a big deal for me. I always have fun going to the Oscars. I always look forward to getting a gift basket for being a presenter,” he said in a 2022 interview with the LA Times after winning his first Oscar. He was presented with an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement by Denzel Washington at the Governors Awards.

Instead of chasing the Oscars, Jackson had decided to be indifferent about it. “I don’t think an Oscar moves the comma on your check like it used to,” Jackson said in a separate interview with the LA Times. “Because it’s all about [people] in seats.”

Buttressing his point, he noted that he made sure that he had a clause in one of his contracts stating he was to make a million more than a co-star who had won an Oscar.

“I remember doing a movie with an Academy Award-winner,” he said. “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.”

Jackson’s journey into acting began when he joined a local acting group to earn extra credits in a class. This newfound interest led him to change his major. In 1972, before graduating, he co-founded the “Just Us Theatre.” Jackson started his career in theater at Morehouse College before transitioning to the film industry. His breakthrough came in 1991 with his role in “Jungle Fever,” and he gained recognition for roles in movies like “Pulp Fiction,” “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “Jackie Brown,” and the Star Wars prequels.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 26, 2024

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