Samuel L. Jackson made our list of 10 best Oscar-snubbed performances
Spike Lee's inner-city melodrama is ostensibly about an affair between African-American architect Flipper (Wesley Snipes) and Italian-American secretary Angela (Annabella Sciorra), but Samuel L. Jackson steals the movie as Flipper's crackhead brother, Gator. In just five scenes, Jackson (who had completed real-life drug rehab mere months before filming) beams a lifetime of hurt and rage through his eyes. Wheedling money from his doormat of a mother (Ruby Dee) and tragically menacing his fallen-pastor father (Ossie Davis) with a devilish dance, Jackson fearlessly conjures his character's inner demons. The Cannes film festival created a special best-supporting-actor prize for his work, but the Academy snubbed him. Yet in the end, Jackson's harrowing turn as Gator lifted him out of the swamp of bit-part actors and helped make him a king of the Hollywood jungle.