Kareem Abdul-Jabbarr Likes ‘Django Unchained’ But Doesn’t Get the Oscar Nod
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shared his opinion on Django Unchained for a new piece for Esquire. He liked the movie but he just doesn’t get why it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. Here’s a snippet:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “Basically, Django Unchained is a B movie. A damn fine B movie, but still a B movie.”
Everyone knows the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sometimes gets it wrong. The proof is when they overlooked me for my heart-wrenching role as the troubled navigator with a mysterious past in 1980’s Airplane!. Clearly, too subtle for them. Then again in 1985 when I played Fifth-Floor Guardian in Game of Death. Sure, the Third-Floor Guardian got all the laughs, and the Sixth-Floor Guardian got to cry, and the Men’s Room Guardian got tips, but my role was the thematic core of the film. Plus, I’d like to see Don Cheadle or Samuel L. Jackson take on Bruce Lee. They’d have gotten their asses kicked! Which brings me to Django Unchained. And why the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences got it wrong.
First, let’s get this straight: I liked Django Unchained and have been recommending it to everyone. It’s gritty and lively and filled with entertaining scenes. It zigs when you think it will zag, and, as with all Quentin Tarantino movies, it has flashes of brilliance. The character of Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), the malevolent house slave who is the real brains behind the plantation, is an inspired creation. His smug compulsion to destroy the innocence and humanity that he has lost but sees in others echoes the best of villains from Harry Lime in The Third Man to John Claggart in Billy Budd. (And Samuel L. Jackson as Stephen? He’s no Fifth-Floor Guardian, but he deserves an Oscar. As do Jamie Fox, Christoph Waltz, and Kerry Washington.)
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