Academy Awards are often thought of as something that Hollywood’s best and brightest have achieved. But sometimes even great actors, who are known for delivering excellent performances, aren’t even able to achieve a coveted Oscar. In fact, some of these actors have repeatedly been nominated, only to walk away year after year empty handed. Who are these well-known Hollywood stars still vying for an award? Here’s a look at some of the best actors who have repeatedly been snubbed by the Academy.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio
He’s certainly no stranger to blockbuster hits, or Academy Award nominations for that matter. DiCaprio has been in huge movies, including Titanic, Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby, and most recently, The Wolf of Wall Street. “Considered to be one of the greatest actors of his generation, the Django Unchained star has been nominated four times – once for Best Supporting Actor (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in 1994) and on three occasions for Best Actor,” per Radar Online. Those roles include The Aviator in 2005, Blood Diamond in 2007 and The Wolf of Wall Street in 2014. DiCaprio lost to Matthew McConaughey this year – McConaughey received an Academy Award for best performance by an actor in a leading role in Dallas Buyers Club.
2. Johnny Depp
You’ve probably seen him in Pirates of the Caribbean, Sweeney Todd, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands and A Nightmare On Elm Street. He has also teamed up with director Tim Burton several times and has had roles in Dark Shadows and Alice in Wonderland. So far, he’s been nominated for an Oscar three times, for Curse Of The Black Pearl, Finding Neverland and Sweeney Todd, according to What Culture. There’s no disputing that Depp is a talented actor. He’s had several commercial successes and is usually not one to disappoint an audience. So why doesn’t he have an Oscar to show for it? The “eccentricity in his delivery,” which is also what makes him such a great actor, could be a little bit unconventional for Academy voters, writes What Culture.
3. Tom Cruise
Another well-known actor, Cruise has been nominated three times for an Academy Award but walked away without one each time. He was first nominated for best actor in a leading role in 1990 for Born on the Fourth of July. A few years later, in 1997, he was nominated in that same category for Jerry Maguire, and finally, for best actor in a supporting role in 2000 for Magnolia, per Backstage. While he’s starred in other roles since then, he’s had no Academy Award nominations since 2000. Will Cruise land the role of another potential Academy Award winning role? Maybe his chances of winning an award are long gone.
4. Peter O’Toole
The recipient of eight Academy Award nominations, he has never actually won a single one of the coveted awards. O’Toole’s nominations include Lawrence of Arabia; Becket; Goodbye, Mr.Chips; The Lion In Winter; The Ruling Class; The Stunt Man; My Favorite Year; and Venus, writes What Culture. Through his career he’s snagged four Golden Globe wins and did receive an honorary Academy Award in 2003, which he almost turned down because he wasn’t satisfied with being awarded a consolation prize, says What Culture. As an actor who’s dedicated almost fifty years to making great movies, it seems O’Toole should have won more than just a consolation prize.
5. Julianne Moore
She’s racked up four Oscar nominations during her career for Boogie Nights (1998), Far From Heaven (2003), The Hours (2003) and The End of The Affair (2000). For each of those nominations, Moore has surprisingly walked away empty handed. “She has had her fair slice of bad luck in her career, so with the right timing a victory could still be a realistic prospect. In 2003, Moore lost out to a previous co-star (Nicole Kidman), when she was snubbed of a worthy Oscar win for her passionate performance as Cathy Whitaker in Far From Heaven,” says What Culture. You’ve also seen her in other blockbuster hits such as Magnolia and The Big Lebowski. Backstage writes that Moore was also overlooked for her performance in The Kids Are All Right, despite her co-stars, Mark Ruffalo and Annette Bening, being nominated.
6. Bill Murray
Surprisingly, Murray has only been nominated for an Oscar for best actor once for his role in Lost in Translation in 2004, according to IMDb. Murray was so good in that movie that even he was expecting an Oscar. “Apparently he’d arrived at the ceremony sure he’d be taking home the Oscar, so when Sean Penn was announced as the winner, a stony-faced Bill Murray didn’t even applaud,” writes the Huffington Post. While Murray did put on a spectacular performance in Lost in Translation, he’s also had many others that definitely qualified as being Academy Award worthy. According to Backstage, Murray has been in several other Oscar-nominated films, including Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Ghostbusters.
7. Glenn Close
She’s been nominated for an Oscar six times, yet has never walked away with a win. What Culture argues that Glenn Close’s roles in Dangerous Liaisons (1989) and Fatal Attraction (1988) should have come out as winners; however, she lost to Jodie Foster and Cher, respectively. Most recently she was nominated for best performance by an actress in a leading role in 2012 for her role in Albert Nobbs. Leading roles aside, she’s also received three supporting actress nominations for films such as The Big Chill, The Natural and The World According to Garp. The majority of her nominations came at the height of career in the ’80s, the decade in which she received five of her six nods. And let’s not overlook her role as Cruella Deville in 101 & 102 Dalmatians, which was well received by critics and the public.
8. Sir Ian McKellen
“Sir Ian McKellen was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 for his efforts in the arts, but can’t seem to win himself an Oscar. The actor has won multiple awards, including a Tony for his brilliant stage work, but with two nominations he is still without an Academy Award,” per Hypable. Despite the more than sixty major international acting awards he’s won and his nominations for Gods and Monsters and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, McKellen still hasn’t managed to score a coveted Oscar, writes E Online.
9. Brad Pitt
Throw a dart at any one of Brad Pitt’s movies – there’s a good chance it was a critically acclaimed, blockbuster hit. He’s a four-time nominee, with his most recent nomination coming for Moneyball, which came out in 2011. That movie was actually nominated for six Oscars but walked away with zero, according to Backstage. His other nominations include best actor in a leading role for his performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as well as best actor in a supporting roll in Twelve Monkeys. Some would even argue that his performances in Inglourious Basterds and Fight Club were Academy Award worthy; however, neither were even nominated. At least there’s a little good news for Pitt. While he’s never won an award for his acting, he was a producer of 12 Years a Slave, which won best picture this year, writes the Huffington Post.
10. Edward Norton
“Perhaps one of the most underrated actors of his generation Edward Norton has never won an Academy Award and he has only been nominated twice,” says Radar Online. He received two nominations in the ’90s, both for best actor for Primal Fear in 1997 and American History X in 1999. Norton wasn’t even recognized by the Academy for his roles in other Oscar-worthy movies, including Fight Club and The Illusionist. Sadly, we may never see Norton walk away with an Oscar. Roles similar to what he once played are now being snatched up by other Hollywood big wigs, including Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale. The fact that he’s also earned a bad reputation for being a hard actor to work with isn’t helping anything either, says What Culture.