Oscar has had a date with many of Hollywood’s biggest stars since the first Academy Awards in 1929.
But you might be surprised which movie icons have yet to wrap their fingers around that vaunted golden statue. Eddie Murphy has been entertaining millions since he was a teen; no Oscar. Harrison Ford is synonymous with the popcorn thriller; but no Academy Award.
The reasons for Oscar slights are often as simple as a popular actor being in a particularly competitive field: Bradley Cooper, Michael Keaton, Benedict Cumberbatch and Steve Carell all lost to Eddie Redmayne, who won best actor in 2015 for “The Theory of Everything.”
Take a spin with us through this list of favorite actors who have yet to win an Oscar. Will any of them exit this group Sunday night? Tune in to see.
Actress and stunt woman extraordinaire Michelle Yeoh has been acting for decades, thrilling audiences around the world with compelling performances in movies such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” She’s finally nominated this year for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Colin Farrell first stood out two decades ago in his star turn opposite Tom Cruise in 2002’s sci-fi thriller “Minority Report.” He’s continued to dazzle ever since in everything from black comedies (“In Bruges”) to TV reboots (“Miami Vice”). This year he gets his first Oscar nomination for his subtle performance in “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
In 1994, Angela Bassett was nominated for best actress for her powerful turn as Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Three decades later, she’s up again, this time for best supporting actress as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and has already won prizes at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards.
Michelle Williams has five Oscar acting nominations, but her performances to date have gone unrewarded by the academy and the Screen Actors Guild. Could this year change everything? She’s up for best actress for playing a character based on Steven Spielberg’s mother in his memoir of a film, “The Fabelmans.”
Scarlett Johansson’s two nominations in 2019 – for best actress in “Marriage Story” and supporting actress in “Jojo Rabbit” – so far have been the actress’ only appearances on Oscar’s radar.
Spanish heartthrob Antonio Banderas was nominated for the first time for a best actor Oscar for his 2019 role in “Pain and Glory.” He also has been nominated for five Golden Globes without a win.
Saoirse Ronan’s turn in “Little Women” brought the actress to the Oscar nominations list for a fourth time. She was also nominated for “Atonement,” “Brooklyn” and “Lady Bird.”
Glenn Close has been nominated a whopping eight times, including for best actress in 2018’s “The Wife.” She’s widely considered to be one of the best actresses to never have won an Oscar.
Another star who’s been nominated for an Oscar but never won: Johnny Depp. The actor and musician has been up for best actor three times. No telling how his recent legal troubles will impact his movie career, let alone his bid for the industry’s biggest award.
Why, yes, Willem Dafoe was nominated for an Academy Award a few years back for “At Eternity’s Gate.” And nominated again the year before that, and two other times as well. He seems long overdue.
Since 2013, Bradley Cooper has been nominated for nine Oscars, including four as an actor: “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle,” “American Sniper” and “A Star Is Born.” He’s also been nominated in the best picture category for “A Star Is Born” and as a producer for “Joker.” But he’s empty-handed so far.
Amy Adams has heard another name called in her acting category six times. She’s also been nominated for seven BAFTAs, but never won one of those, either.
Sam Elliott, who made his film debut in 1969 in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” was nominated for his first Oscar in 2019 for supporting actor in “A Star Is Born.” But he didn’t win.
Viggo Mortensen lost in his bid for an Oscar in 2019 for best picture winner “Green Book,” after losing in the actor category twice previously.
Another four-time nominee, Annette Bening, who is married to Hollywood icon Warren Beatty, has yet to win an Oscar. Although the actress is still plying her craft, it remains to be seen if she will join Beatty as an Oscar winner.
Michelle Pfeiffer is someone you probably assumed had won an Oscar before. She’s been in the running for three awards, but hasn’t won any yet. But she’s still happily on the big screen, most recently with Michael Douglas in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”
Tom Cruise seems to embody The Movies. Decades of films, many of them hits, have made him an ubiquitous presence on the big screen, including his magnetic performance in “Top Gun” and its sequel “Top Gun: Maverick.” While the movie is in contention this year for best picture, Cruise is not nominated for his title role, even after three previous acting nominations.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr., has been Oscar-nominated for playing Charlie Chaplin and (believe it or not) for playing a method actor who wears blackface in “Tropic Thunder.” He hasn’t won yet.
Though he continues to prove he’s worthy of awards recognition, Jake Gyllenhaal has never won an Academy Award. He’s been nominated once for supporting actor in “Brokeback Mountain.”
In the last dozen years, Mark Ruffalo has been up for three acting Oscars. So far, he hasn’t had the opportunity to give an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson also doesn’t have an Oscar. He’s been in more than 100 films but has been nominated just once, in 1995 for “Pulp Fiction.”
Sigourney Weaver has been nominated for three Academy Awards, but has never won. She riveted audiences in “Alien,” and more recently played memorable roles in “Avatar” and its 2022 sequel.
Irish actor Michael Fassbender has twice been in the running for an Oscar, both in 2014 as supporting actor in “12 Years A Slave” and in 2016 as best actor for his portrayal of Apple founder “Steve Jobs.”
Edward Norton has garnered three Oscar nominations spanning decades, from 1997 to 2015. While his work has won him a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award, Oscar has remained elusive. He recently appeared as the villain in Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”
Sly Stallone charged out of the gates strong in 1976, thanks to his perfect screenplay and nuanced performance in “Rocky.” But no Oscar for either. In 2016, the academy tried once again to reward the action hero, this time with a supporting actor nod for the Rocky-derived film “Creed.” But nothing doing.
Naomi Watts is one of those actors who demands attention when she’s on the screen. Oscar nods came her way twice, in 2004 for “21 Grams” and 2013 for “The Impossible.” She’s only won one major award to date, a Screen Actors Guild cast award in 2015 for “Birdman.”
The former TV star (remember “Cheers”?) has been nominated for movie’s highest honor three times, including for best actor for his role as pornographer Larry Flynt in 1996’s “The People v. Larry Flynt.” Harrelson has worked non-stop ever since, but Oscar remains elusive.