10 Actors Who've Never Won An Oscar
With this year's awards season well underway and the Academy Awards looming large at the end of this month, the cream of Hollywood's acting talent will once again take their seats in the auditorium at Los Angeles' famed Dolby Theatre, hoping it's their name that will be pulled from the golden envelope.
There are, however, some that will eye the evening's events with a degree of wary scepticism; many of them have been here before, only to go home empty-handed, while others have been mere spectators at a race they perhaps felt they should have had a horse in.
We are of course talking about those that were snubbed, beaten, robbed or otherwise subjected to an Academy injustice, real or perceived, so in a tribute to some of Hollywood's greatest losers we've picked ten of the best actors who've never had the chance to take home a golden statuette of their very own...
Let's just get something out of the way here; we love Bill Murray, so we're not being at all unbiased with his inclusion on our list, but even from a neutral standpoint you'd have to say that if it wasn't for Sean Pen's performance in the excellent Mystic River, Murray would have been a shoo-in for the Best Actor gong in 2004 for his role in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. Amazingly, even with film like The Life Aquatic, Groundhog Day and Moonrise Kingdom in is filmography, that remains his only nomination. Maybe the Academy took exception to those 'Oscar Pick' sketches on Saturday Night Live...
Depp is another actor who could be in with a shout this year for his chilling performance as notorious Boston gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger, but he's missed out on three occasions before, most recently to Daniel Day-Lewis in 2008. He's recently been quoted as saying he “doesn't want to win one of those things, ever”, which might not help his chances this year, but with performances like the ones he's served up in Sweeney Todd and Edward Scissorhands under his belt, maybe he's due a win, whether he wants it or not.
For years, Tom Cruise has been one of Hollywood's biggest stars and although the actor does have a tendency to polarise opinion, there's no denying he's turned in some truly fantastic performances, particularly in Magnolia and Born on the Fourth of July, both of which he saw him nominated. For us though, the biggest snub in his filmography came in 2009. Few would argue with Heath Ledger's posthumous win for his supporting role in The Dark Knight, but Cruise as the megalomaniacal Len Grossman in Tropic Thunder wasn't even in the running. For the dancing alone, he deserved that much...
Robert Downey Jr.
As the highest-paid actor in the world last year (according to Forbes he earned $80 million in 2015), Robert Downey Jr. is undoubtedly a huge star, as well as being a great actor, but the bulk of his recent fortune has come from the Iron Man and Avengers movies which, for all their dazzling action, aren't really the sort of films that the Academy tends to award. However, he's turned in some truly incredible performances over the years, particularly in Richard Attenborough's 1992 film Chaplin, which saw him nominated but losing out to Al Pacino. His only other nomination was for his role in Tropic Thunder, losing out to Heath Ledger (see above), but given the right role he's certainly got the ability.
This seems like one of the most unlikely ones on the list; yes, in recent years he's been a the star of some big, explosive blockbusters like Taken - which, again, isn't really Academy material – but earlier in his career his filmography is packed with the kind of films you'd think they'd be falling over themselves to award him for - Michael Collins, Kinsey, Schindler's List – but his role as Oskar Schindler in the latter remains his only Oscar nomination to date, with the award eventually going to Tom Hanks for Philadelphia.
Ed has been nominated in the acting categories no fewer than three times – none of which, incredibly, were for Fight Club (the film was largely ignored by the Academy, its only nomination coming in the Best Sound Effects category). His nearest miss was probably for American History X, where he lost out to Roberto Benigni in the Italian film Life is Beautiful.
Here's another British actor that you might be surprised to learn hasn't won an Oscar, although he did come very close on a couple of occasions, first in 1994 for his supporting role in Schindler's List, then again in 1997 for his starring role in The English Patient, losing out on the latter occasion to a tour-de-force performance from Geoffrey Rush in Shine.
We had to double-check on this one, such was our disbelief that Will Smith did not win an Oscar for his role in Ali, Michael Mann's 2001 biopic of the mercurial boxing champion. But no, he lost out to Denzel Washington, who took home the award for his role in Training Day. We're not saying Denzel didn't deserve to win, but Will Smith can be forgiven for feeling a little hard done by there...
Back in the early days of his career, Brad Pitt was often dismissed as being one of those 'eye candy' actors, but his role in Terry Gilliam's dystopian sci-fi film Twelve Monkeys changed all that and earned him the first of three Oscar nominations in the acting categories. Two more followed for his performances in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Moneyball, but that's as close as he's ever gotten.
Samuel L. Jackson
The role of Jules in Pulp Fiction was arguably Samuel L. Jackson's best performance on the big screen, but he's put in plenty of memorable since then, especially in films like Time To Kill and Jackie Brown. Despite this, the Pulp Fiction role is the only one that the Academy saw fit to nominate him for and he was beaten to the Best Supporting Actor award by Martin Landau for his role in Ed Wood.
To find a list of films featuring actors who fared a little better at the the Oscars than these guys, check out the offers in our online store...