Samuel L Jackson
Samuel L Jackson said Oscar-nominated film 12 Years A Slave avoids the "real issue" of racism in Hollywood. Reuters

Actor Samuel L Jackson has said that the popularity of Oscar-nominated film 12 Years A Slave brushes over the racism still prevalent in Hollywood and contemporary American culture.

Jackson said the widely acclaimed film, which stars British-Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, misses the point that Hollywood avoids the "real issues" of racism in modern US society.

Speaking to The Times, the actor said 12 Years A Slave only received funding because it was made by the British art house director Steve McQueen.

"I would think that if an African-American director went into a studio and pitched that particular film, they would be like: 'No, no, no'.

America is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past
Samuel L Jackson

"It is a film about African-Americans – a dark period of history that they don't like to explore in that particular way."

He added: "Look, I'm glad 12 Years got made and it's wonderful that people are seeing it and there is another view of what happened in America. But I'm not real sure why Steve McQueen wanted to tackle that particular sort of thing."

Jackson, whose films have earned a massive $9bn at the box office over his successful 40-year career, said he still faces racial discrimination in the film industry on a daily basis.

The actor pointed out that the 2013 US drama film Fruitvale Station tackles the issue of race in a far more forthright and braver way than 12 Years A Slave.

Fruitvale Station is based on the events that led to the death of Oscar Grant, a young African-American man who was killed by a police officer in 2009.

"It explains things like the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the problems with stop and search, and is just more poignant," Jackson said.

"America is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past: 'We freed the slaves! It's all good!' But to say: 'We are still unnecessarily killing black men' – let's have a conversation about that."