Avengers: Endgame star Anthony Mackie took an acting break after he missed out on an Oscar nomination for his role in The Hurt Locker.
The actor, who played a soldier in the 2009 drama, was gutted when he wasn’t recognized by Academy Awards voters.
The movie picked up Best Picture honors, co-star Jeremy Renner landed a Best Actor nod and Kathryn Bigelow made history as the first female to claim a Best Director honor, but Mackie was shut out.
“That little f**ker matters,” he tells Men’s Health of the coveted Oscar statuette. “We try to protect ourselves and say, ‘I’m doing the work for the work’. But when that happened with Hurt Locker, it hurt. I had to take a year off of work.”
However, Mackie used his role in the war film to help him land the part of Sam Wilson/Falcon in the Captain Marvel and Avengers films, sending movie bosses an email reminding them of his break-out hit.
“My line was, ‘Yo, I’m the black dude from The Hurt Locker. I would love to work with you guys,” he smiles.
That landed him an audition for the role of Iron Man 3’s villainous Mandarin, ultimately portrayed by Sir Ben Kingsley, and he was eventually chosen to play Falcon, making his debut in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
“Growing up, I’d always loved Falcon, because he was a comic book hero who was black who didn’t have ‘Black’ in the title,” he explains. “He stood on his morals. He stood on who he was.”