18 Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar, Despite All Their Efforts
In little league, every kid — no matter how great or terrible they were at baseball — got a trophy to take home at the end of the season. That's not the case in the real world — especially when it comes to those little golden men at that big-deal awards show. In fact, lots of great actors have never taken home an Oscar, despite their excellent performances in roles fans adored. So which surprising Hollywood celebrities never got a chance to give an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards? Click through to find out.
The Titanic actor is famous for always being a bridesmaid and never a bride, both in marriage and the Oscar race.
DiCaprio was nominated for an Oscar four times. His first nomination was for Best Supporting Actor for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? in 1994. He was nominated for his first Best Actor Oscar a decade later with The Aviator, and scored another nomination for Blood Diamond two years after that. His recent turn as Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street seemed like the role the actor needed to take home the gold, but instead it was Matthew McConaughey’s year for the Dallas Buyer’s Club. (You know, the actor from Sahara? That guy.)
Robert Downey Jr.
The Iron Man star may be one of the highest paid actors around, but all the money in the world can’t buy him an Academy Award.
Robert Downey Jr.
The actor was nominated twice, once for Best Actor and again for Best Supporting Actor. He was first nominated for Best Actor for his work in biopic Chaplin in 1992 and nabbed the supporting actor nod for the comedy Tropic Thunder in 2009.
Angelina Jolie’s hubby actually did score an Oscar — just not for acting.
Though the actor was nominated three times for Moneyball, 12 Monkeys, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the only Academy Award that Pitt scored was as a producer for 12 Years A Slave — a movie he also happened to act in.
You’d think that with all of the kooky characters Depp plays that he’d surely score an Oscar for one of them, but unfortunately for Depp, it hasn’t happened yet.
Depp really should get an award for his physical transformations alone. He’s been nominated for Finding Neverland, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. And in the last one, he even sang! Throw this guy a gold one soon, please.
Being box office bait doesn’t always translate to awards.
The Top Gun actor has been nominated for the coveted award three times. (None of which were for Top Gun.) He was nominated in the Best Actor category for Born on the Fourth of July and Jerry Maguire, and later scored a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Magnolia in 2000. Unfortunately, he didn’t take any of the statues home.
Samuel L. Jackson
What’s even more surprising than the (zero) amount of Oscars Jackson has is how many times he was actually nominated for one.
Samuel L. Jackson
The answer? Exactly one time — it was for his first major movie role in Pulp Fiction. He lost the Best Supporting Actor Oscar to Martin Landau in Ed Wood.
He’s a film icon. A legend. A guaranteed box office draw. One thing he’s not? An Oscar winner.
He may be both Hans Solo and Indiana Jones, but he was only nominated for an Oscar one time — it was in 1984 for Witness. He lost to William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
The iconic actor was notoriously snubbed by the Academy, but while he never got an Oscar for acting, he did score two little gold men in his lifetime.
Redford won the Best Director Oscar for Ordinary People in 1980, and even got an “honorary Oscar” in 2002 for his work with independent filmmakers, but when it comes to his acting, the Academy never fails to pass over Redford. He was only nominated one time for his onscreen work — it was for The Sting in 1974.
The former Fresh Prince has come along way from his sitcom days, but doesn’t have the coveted gold statue yet.
…And if he keeps making movies like After Earth, he might never get one. Smith was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for the biopic Ali and again for feel-good flick The Pursuit of Happyness but failed to take home the gold.
The comedian has only been nominated for an Oscar one time — and it wasn’t for a funny role.
Murray was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar in 2004 for Lost in Translation, but didn’t get the ultimate prize. The film’s writer/director, Sofia Coppola, did take home a statue for Best Original Screenplay that night — maybe they can share.
Phoenix was nominated for an Academy Award three times but never nailed down an Oscar of his own.
Phoenix was nominated for Gladiator, Walk the Line, and The Master. To make matters worse, many critics thought that he was snubbed for his role in Her.
Neeson has been nominated for several Academy Awards, but his Oscars are always taken by other actors.
Neeson was nominated for the 1994 film Schindler’s List, but Tom Hanks snatched the Best Actor Oscar up for his role in Philadelphia. Not to worry: maybe Taken 3 will finally do the trick.
Norton is a crazy talented actor, which is why he’s achieved two Oscar nods in his lifetime. But the fact that he hasn’t won any yet is a little insane.
The Fight Club actor has been nominated twice for acting — once for Best Supporting Actor in Primal Fear and once for Best Actor in American History X. He didn’t nab those awards, but he is getting plenty of buzz for his supporting role in 2014’s Birdman.
Despite a prolific career, Travolta has only been nominated for an Oscar twice.
Travolta scored Best Actor nods for both Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction but didn’t take home the awards. He did, however, get the unofficial Oscar for Worst Presenter Ever when he mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name as “Adele Dazeem.”
The Boogie Nights actor has his hand everywhere in Hollywood, from acting to producing, but he doesn’t have the iconic figurine just yet.
Wahlberg was nominated only once in his acting career — it was for Best Supporting Actor in the 2006 crime drama The Departed. Technically he did get another nod — it was for his starring vehicle The Fighter, which he also produced. Though Wahlberg didn’t get nominated for his role in The Fighter, his co-star Christian Bale took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his part.
The actor seems like box office gold of late, but he’s never won an Academy Award for an onscreen performance.
Though the Bourne Identity star didn’t nab an award for acting, he did bring home a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his work on Good Will Hunting in 1997, which he shared with buddy and co-writer Ben Affleck.
Just like Leo, Harris has been nominated four separate times for an Oscar — and has never snagged the award.
Harris has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Apollo 13, The Truman Show, and The Hours. He was nominated for Best Actor in Pollock. Think he bemoans his Oscar-free status with DiCaprio at the after party, or is it really just an honor to be nominated?
The Pope of Greenwich Village actor was only nominated for his first Oscar recently, despite working in the industry since the ’80s.
Rourke was nominated only once for an Oscar — it was for his starring role in The Wrestler, the film that was supposed to mark his comeback. Though he lost the award to Sean Penn in Milk, it was one of the best performances we’ve seen out of Rourke in years.