In 1991, Samuel L. Jackson’s turn in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, as Wesley Snipes’ crack-addicted brother, was considered so strong that the jury brought back a category — Best Supporting Actor, which had only been awarded thrice before — so they could show him some love. A few years later he landed his first Oscar nomination for his proper breakthrough, as Jules Winfield in Pulp Fiction. That, absurdly, is also the only time over his long and storied career he’s been honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
But that changes…well, early next year. According to Variety, the Academy has already decided who will receive an honorary Oscars at next year’s ceremony. And one of them is the MCU’s resident Nick Fury. Jackson will be one of four to receive Governors Awards for lifetime achievement in the motion picture industry. The others are Danny Glover, who will also receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, actress/filmmaker Liv Ullmann, and actress/performer/filmmaker Elaine May.
“Sam Jackson is a cultural icon whose dynamic work has resonated across genres and generations and audiences worldwide,” read a statement from Academy president David Rubin.
May — who broke through as part of a comedy duo with fellow future filmmaker Mike Nichols, and whose unique director CV is comprised of only four films: A New Leaf, The Heartbreak Kid, Mikey and Nicky, and the once-maligned cult film Ishtar — was hailed for her “bold, uncompromising approach to filmmaking.”
Ullmann, meanwhile — renowned for her work with Ingmar Bergman, and whose own directed film include the 2014 Miss Julie, starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton — was singled out for her “bravery and emotional transparency” and her plethora of “deeply affecting screen portrayals.” And Glover was praised for his “decades-long advocacy for justice and human rights reflects his dedication to recognizing our shared humanity on and off the screen.”
The awards will be handed out early, on Jan. 15. Of course, just because Jackson — or the other three future winners — will eventually have Oscars doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be awarded mightily for their work in the future.