Bruce Willis Never Won an Oscar, but His Awards Shelf Is Far From Empty

The movie world is a little dimmer now that star Bruce Willis announced he is stepping away from acting because of his aphasia diagnosis. Willis overcame a childhood stutter, but now he faces a new communication challenge in his life. 

Willis’ movie career is filled with billions of dollars of box office hits and several roles that proved he was more than just an action star. His career lasted nearly 40 years and included some critically revered movies, but did Willis ever win an Oscar? No, but his awards shelf is far from empty.

Bruce Willis poses with his 1987 Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series.
Bruce Willis | Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Willis did not win an Oscar during his career

Willis accomplished plenty during his career, but winning an Academy Award was an honor that eluded him. He never had his name called during the Oscars, which isn’t surprising — he never earned a nomination.

Hollywood’s most prestigious award ceremony never came calling, but Willis was Oscar-adjacent plenty of times during his career:

  • Pulp Fiction, in which Willis plays a small-time boxer, won an Academy Award for best original screenplay. Co-stars John Travolta (best actor), Uma Thurman (best supporting actress), and Samuel L. Jackson (best supporting actor) earned Oscar nominations. The movie was up for best picture, and Quentin Tarantino earned a nomination for best director.
  • The Sixth Sense, which was one of the movies that showcased Willis as more than an action star, captured six Academy Award nominations. Haley Joel Osment, Willis’ young co-star, earned a best supporting actor nod, and Toni Collette was up for best supporting actress. M. Night Shyamalan grabbed nominations for best director and best screenplay, and the movie was up for best picture.
  • Willis acted alongside Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys, a movie for which Pitt earned a best supporting actor nomination. 

Additionally, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, in which Willis played a prominent role, earned an Oscar nomination for best screenplay.

Even though the Academy Awards never honored Willis, he earned other acting awards in his career.

He earned two Primetime Emmys for two roles

Willis debuted with a trio of uncredited roles (including in the Paul Newman vehicle The Verdict in 1982) before appearing in a 1984 episode of Miami Vice. Once he started his career proper, it didn’t take him long to earn some award hardware.

Willis started playing David Addison Jr. on Moonlighting in 1985, and he earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actor in a drama in 1986. Willis won his first acting award at the 1987 Emmys in the same category.

The Golden Globes nominated Willis for best performance in a television series — comedy or musical three times from 1986-88, and he took home the award in 1987. He grabbed a Golden Globes nomination for best supporting actor in a motion picture for In Country

The Emmys came calling again in 2000. Willis appeared at Paul Stevens in three episodes of Friends, and he earned the Emmy for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series that same year.

Willis earned acting awards from other organizations, just not the Academy Awards

The two Emmys are Bruce Willis’ only awards from major organizations, but they aren’t the only trophies he took home. In addition to the star on the walk of fame, Willis has a few other awards to his name.

He and the rest of the cast of Moonrise Kingdom earned wins for best ensemble from both the Central Ohio Film Critics Association and the Phoenix Film Critics Society.

The Oscars eluded him for The Sixth Sense, but Willis won a 2000 People’s Choice Award for favorite motion picture star in a drama for his work. That came 14 years after he won for favorite male performer in a new TV series for Moonlighting.

Back when the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were a thing, Willis won twice in 1999 (favorite actor — sci-fi for Armageddon and favorite supporting actor — suspense for The Siege) and again in 2000 (favorite actor — suspense for The Sixth Sense).

Career vitals courtesy of IMDb.

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