Samuel L. Jackson Gains First-Ever Oscar In 50-Year Career From Denzel Washington

Mason Joseph Zimmer
Samuel L. Jackson hugging Denzel Washington holding Oscar award
Getty Images | Mike Coppola

Samuel L. Jackson has been such an outstanding and ever-present part of the film industry that many of us have seen him in the limelight for as long as we've been alive.

Granted, the most intense and gritty work that made him famous wasn't really something we'd be allowed to watch as children, but the confidence he's always exuded and his iconic voice have made him stand out for all ages.

So considering how much he's proven himself over the years and how many beloved movies he's helped bring to life, it might come as a surprise to some that none of his performances have ever won him an Oscar.

But while one incident from this year's Oscars telecast now seems to be overshadowing the event itself, that night also gave Jackson a moment that was 50 years in the making. And it was one he got to share with one of his oldest friends.

Before the night of March 25, the closest Samuel L. Jackson came to Oscar gold was a Best Supporting Actor nomination for playing Jules Winnfield in "Pulp Fiction."

Smauel L. Jackson yelling as Jules Winfield in Pulp Fiction
youtube | Paramount Pictures

But as People reported, that changed at the non-televised Governors Awards when after appearing in more than 150 movies that grossed over $27 billion worldwide, Jackson received an Academy Award for his lifetime of achievements.

And while he reflected on his legendary career in his acceptance speech, he also showed he hadn't forgotten his humble beginnings in the business.

Samuel L. Jackson robbing fast food restaurant with shotgun in Coming to America
youtube | Paramount Home Entertainment

Indeed, he took time to reminisce on the days when he would be cast as Bum, Gang Member Number Two, and Hold-Up Guy.

And as he soon made clear, this big moment had him thinking even farther back to when he was just a kid with some dreams.

As he said, "So I'm really, really proud to receive this statue. 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."

To make the moment better, his hard-won Oscar was presented by Denzel Washington, whom Jackson has a long personal friendship and professional history with.

Samuel L. Jackson hugging Denzel Washington holding Oscar award
Getty Images | Mike Coppola

As Washington put it, "Sam and I go back in the theater, the Goodman Theatre. 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."

Although Jackson was more coy about what the two had accomplished together in his speech, it's plain to see how ecstatic both of them were about this coveted career milestone for him.

Samuel L. Jackson hugging Denzel Washington holding Oscar award
Getty Images | Mike Coppola

As he put it, "We've come a long way and done a lot of things."

He also said that when he got the opportunity to take on larger roles, he's tried to be the best representative in the business that he can.

And while Jackson took a moment to thank his wife and daughter for being his "harshest critics and biggest fans," he also acknowledged everyone who has ever bought a ticket to his movies and said it was an honor and a pleasure to entertain them.

In his words, "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."

h/t: People