The annual Academy Awards are unquestionably the top-notch event for American actors and filmmakers. The gold figurines are not only a recognition of greatness in Hollywood but also symbols of status within and outside the acting community. However, it is not a guarantee that every great actor will win an Oscar once nominated; in fact, most famous and widely acclaimed actors have never won an Academy Award. So, who are the actors who have been nominated for an Oscar but never won?
The Oscars are an annual event where film fans witness their favourite films and actors being honoured for their work. In case you did not know, winning an Oscar is one of an actor's most prestigious achievements in their career.
10 actors who have been nominated for an Oscar but never won
Despite their excellent performances in countless films, some actors have never received an Oscar. It is unfortunate that the following famous actors have never received an Academy Award for their accomplishments.
1. Glenn Close
Which actress has the most Oscar nominations without a win? Glenn Close has received the most acting nominations but has yet to win. She made her acting debut as Neighbor in the 1975 TV series Great Performances.
From 1983 to 2021, she received eight nominations. Her most recent defeat came in the Best Supporting Actress category for Hillbilly Elegy, where Youn Yuh-Jung defeated her for her performance in Minari.
2. Bradley Cooper
He is one of the actors with the most Oscar nominations without a win. Bradley Cooper first appeared as Jake in the 1999 TV series Sex and the City.
He rose to prominence as Phil in the widely acclaimed comedy The Hangover. He later appeared in films with more serious themes, such as American Sniper and Silver Linings Playbook.
Cooper has received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor. The first three categories all went to his performance in the 2019 film A Star Is Born. His latest nomination was for Best Picture for the 2020 film Joker, which he lost to Parasite.
3. Johnny Depp
Johnny is one of the actors with the most Oscar nominations with no win. Some may be surprised that Johnny Depp has never won an Oscar despite being nominated for Best Actor three times.
Even though the famous actor is not the only actor to have received so many nominations, few can claim to have received nominations for such a wide range of performances.
His first Best Actor nomination came for his portrayal of the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the extremely successful first film in the Pirates franchise.
He was again nominated in the succeeding year for the far more restrained role of playwright J. M. Barry in Finding Neverland.
4. Ian McKellen
Who has the most Oscar nominations without a win? If there was doubt about how difficult it is to win an Oscar for acting, Sir Ian McKellen's failure is the perfect example.
The conventionally trained actor has won a Tony Award, a Golden Globe, several Olivier Awards, and, of course, a knighthood during his long stage and screen career, but no Academy Award.
While his stage career was glittering, McKellen's film career was also stellar. The actor has played some iconic villains, such as Magneto of the X-Men franchise and heroes, along with Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings.
McKellen's work has been recognized by the Academy, with nominations for the first Lord of the Rings film and the period drama Gods and Monsters, but he has yet to win either.
5. Amy Adams
She is an actress with most Oscar nominations without a win. Amy Adams enters this list with six Oscar nominations but no wins to demonstrate how talented and versatile her acting is.
According to The Things, several people in the film industry believe Adams has been unfairly treated by the Academy, claiming that she deserved an Oscar with her first nomination.
Amy Adams impersonates each character she plays, whether a princess in Enchanted or Julia Child's protégé in Julie and Julia. She has earned and demonstrated that she deserves the honours of other actresses and actors at the Oscars.
6. Robert Downey Jr.
Which famous actor has never won an Oscar? It isn't easy to believe that Downey Jr., who has a long list of notable film and television credits, has never won an Oscar.
When Tony Stark snapped his fingers in the last Avengers film, viewers were overcome with grief at losing such a beloved character, with Robert Downey Jr delivering the Marvel franchise's performance of the year. Aside from Iron Man, he has played major roles in various films such as Zodiac, Chaplin, and The Judge.
7. Adam Kimmel
Has anyone been stripped of an Oscar? No Academy Award has ever been revoked from an actor. However, actors such as Adam Kimmel were dismissed from the Academy in 2021 for his historical past as a sexual offender. Kimmel's Academy membership was revoked after discovering that he had been arrested twice for statutory assaults on minors.
8. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder gained recognition in the industry for her position as Lydia Deetz in the 1988 film Beetlejuice before playing Will Byers' mother on the hit Netflix show Stranger Things. During the 1990s, Ryder appeared in several films, including Edward Scissorhands and Little Women.
The popular actress was nominated for Best Actress for her role as Jo March in Little Women but was defeated by Jessica Lange for Blue Sky. Ryder was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the Age of Innocence, but 11-year-old Anna Paquin won the award for the film Piano in 1993.
9. Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman began his acting career in the 1990s with on-stage and television roles before landing his big break as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise.
Jackman has only received one Academy Award nomination for his role as Jean Valjean in the 2013 film Les Misérables. Daniel Day-Lewis beat him out for the role of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln.
10. Will Smith
He began his profession as a rapper in the late 1980s under The Fresh Prince's moniker. Smith later appeared on the popular television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before moving on to film roles in Independence Day and Men in Black.
Smith has never been awarded an Oscar for his outstanding performances in films such as Collateral Beauty and Hitch, having won four Grammys. He was nominated for Best Actor two times, for Ali and The Pursuit of Happiness, but he lost both times.
What are the Matt Damon Academy Awards?
Matt Damon has received numerous five Academy Awards nominations. However, the actor has only won once. He won an Oscar (Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) in 1998 for his role in Good Will Hunting.
Who is the worst actor to win an Oscar?
Cher is allegedly one of the worst actors to win an Oscar. She is a better singer than an actress. Since 1988, she has never won another Oscar. The actress has appeared in several movies and TV shows, including Bobbleheads: The Movie and Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?
Above are the actors who have been nominated for an Oscar but never won. According to the list, being a great actor is not an assurance that one will win an Oscar. Interestingly, most famous and widely acclaimed actors have never won an Academy Award.
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