Have you ever won an Oscar? If so, you’re pretty bad-ass. If not, you should only feel slightly embarrassed about it. I have also never won either, if that makes you feel any better. In fact, I have never even been nominated. To be fair, my sole foray into acting was when I played Dopey in my 3rd grade class performance of Snow White. Anyway, there is a surprisingly high number of actors who you would have guessed are Oscar winners, but haven’t yet achieved ultimate acting glory. Take a look at our list of 12 of them.
1. Michelle Williams
Williams made a name of herself in the TV series Dawson’s Creek and has appeared in movies since she made her debut in Lassie (1994), but she didn’t truly become a Hollywood hotshot until she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Brokeback Mountain (2005). Since then, she has been nominated three more times – Best Actress in Blue Valentine (2010), Best Actress in My Weekend With Marilyn (2011), and Best Supporting Actress in Manchester By The Sea (2016). However, she does have a Golden Globe for My Weekend With Marilyn.
2. Glenn Close
Glenn Close has been acting in several modern classics including The Big Chill, The Natural, and Fatal Attraction, and has been a very durable actress for almost 40 years, but she has yet to win an Oscar. She’s been nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress three times each, her most recent being for her performance in 2012’s Albert Nobbs.
3. John Malkovich
Malkovich is another amazing actor who has never won an Oscar, as baffling as that might seem. He’s been nominated twice for Best Supporting Actor – Places in the Heart (1984) and In the Line of Fire (1993), but it has been a while. Personally, my favorite Malkovich movie was 1992’s Of Mice and Men.
4. Robert Downey Jr.
When Downey Jr. was younger, he was regarded as an actor with great potential, as indicated by his nomination for Best Actor in 1993’s Chaplin. Then he got into a whole lot of drug-related trouble in the early 2000s before achieving sobriety and making a name for himself again. Although he was nominated for a second Oscar for Tropic Thunder in 2009 and has achieved huge success as the titular character in the Iron Man franchise, he has yet to take home the statuette.
5. Amy Adams
Adams is another talented actress who has received a lot of acclaim, including two Golden Globes and five Oscar nominations. Her films have grossed $4.7 billion worldwide, she was one of the most highly paid actresses and in 2017 and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Not bad for somebody who almost quit acting in the mid-2000s after becoming disillusioned over the fact that she hadn’t caught her break. While she hasn’t won the an Oscar yet, there’s no reason to think she won’t have further opportunities in the future.
6. Ralph Fiennes
Fiennes is not merely one of the greatest actors alive today, but is a British pop culture icon. He’s been nominated for two films – Schindler’s List (1994) and The English Patient (1996) – and has starred a lot of other movies in which he received a ton of praise. The younger crowd knows him as Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter films.
7. Tom Cruise
While Cruise is becoming increasingly known for being Weird Scientology Guy, for more than 30 years he has been churning out his share of blockbuster movies. In spite of this, he has never won an Oscar and hasn’t even come close since receiving a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Magnolia back in 2000. His other two nominations were for Born on the Fourth of July (1989) and Jerry Maguire (1997), both for Best Actor.
8. Samuel L. Jackson
Jackson is one of the most highly prolific actors in Hollywood today, having appeared in more than 100 films. Everybody knows him as Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction, Mace Windu from the Star Wars prequels, Nick Fury from the billions of Marvel Universe movies, and, of course, the guy who had to fly with snakes on a plane!!! In spite of all this, he has only managed a single Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Pulp Fiction.
9. Liam Neeson
Regarded as one of the Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time according to Empire Magazine, Neeson has appeared in a large number of highly successful films, with his role as Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List (1993) one of the greatest movies ever made, among them. For this he was nominated for Best Actor. Let’s not forget that he also had an epic lightsaber battle with Darth Maul as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn!
10. Harrison Ford
In total, Ford’s movies have grossed nearly $5 billion dollars thanks to his roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise as well as the star of four Indiana Jones movies. Nonetheless, he has never won an Oscar and, in fact, has only been nominated once – for Best Actor in Witness (1986).
11. Annette Bening
Ever since she made her Hollywood debut in 1988 in the comedy The Great Outdoors, Bening has maintained a stable career, appearing in at least one movie almost every year since then. She has a couple of Golden Globe Awards and a trio of Oscar nominations (most recently for her role in 2011’s The Kids Are Alright) but has never won the award.
12. Edward Norton
Norton’s career got off to a hot start when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in his film debut Primal Fear (1997). Two years later in 1999, he received praise for his role in Fight Club and was nominated for Best Actor for American History X. He has since been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for 2015’s Birdman, but so far has nothing to show for it.