It’s pretty amazing that some actors will work for decades, star in blockbuster upon blockbuster and never receive much praise for their thought-provoking portrayals. Maybe it’s politics, maybe show business is cruel, maybe they’re not as great as we all think, but mostly the competition is insanely fierce. Of course, these are movie stars we’re talking about, so they’re probably not sweating it.
Like Leonardo DiCaprio, the poster child for Oscar snubs, these other movie stars have been nominated for tons of awards but never seem to win.
Edward Norton is best known for his controversial (and frankly, sort of frightening) role in American History X. Unfortunately, someone at the Academy wasn’t too fond of the over-the-top performance.
The Yale graduate was nominated for an Oscar three times for Primal Fear (1997), American History X (1999) and Birdman (2015), but never won.
Bradley Cooper has garnered a huge fan base for taking on intense roles and covering them with ease and believability. He’s been nominated for four Academy Awards, but has lost every time.
Cooper’s most renowned performance is arguable that in American Sniper, when he took on the role of Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. The film was the highest grossing war movie of all time, but despite its obvious popularity, the Academy wasn’t too bothered. Cooper lost the both the award for Best Actor and Best Picture.
Mark Ruffalo is basically America’s dad. It’s pretty impossible not to love his quirky style. Unfortunately, the Academy has yet to recognize his talents. His heartfelt performance in 2013’s Begin Again was widely overlooked (even though the soundtrack hit number one on Billboard’s top soundtracks chart) and pretty much everyone forgot he was in Shutter Island (probably because the Academy was busy ignoring his cast mate Leonardo DiCaprio).
Ruffalo was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar three times for his roles in The Kids Are Alright (2010), Foxcatcher (2014) and Spotlight (2015). Ruffalo may have lost all three times, but the most shocking bit is that he hasn’t been nominated yet for a single lead.
Matt Damon may have gotten some major accolades for his work on Good Will Hunting, but it wasn’t for his acting talents. The famed actor has been nominated for an Oscar five times and has yet to bring home one of those coveted tiny, gold men for a role.
Damon was nominated as Best Actor for Good Will Hunting and The Martian, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Invictus. Damon has also been nominated for five Emmys for his roles in Behind the Candelabra, 30 Rock and Project Greenlight 1, 2 and 3. Though he’s lost every single time when it comes to acting, he did win Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting and his 2016 film, Manchester by the Sea, was up for best picture.
There is no Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp. Despite his recent controversy in the media (and his messy divorce from Amber Heard) there is no denying that Depp owns all of the roles he takes. He is invaluable to the movies he’s starred, so why has the Academy refused to acknowledge it?
Depp’s acting has been the major selling point for most of his films including Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sweeny Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Despite his acting chops, he seems to be on a major losing streak. He’s been nominated for three academy awards and 10 Golden Globes but only once – a Golden Globe for his role in Sweeney Todd ten years ago.
Girl next door Michelle Pfeiffer has been acting since 1983 when she gained major attention for her breakout performance in Scarface. Since then, she’s seen some major commercial success in films like Batman Returns, Dangerous Minds, What Lies Beneath and Hairspray.
Despite the actress’ ability to take on a wide range of roles – from musicals to thrillers – she hasn’t won an Oscar for her efforts. The starlet has been nominated three times for her roles in Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Love Field, but never took home the tiny gold man.
Amy Adams has landed some killer acting gigs. The red-headed beauty was nominated for Best Supporting Actress four times for her work in June Bug, Doubt, The Fighter and The Master. She was also nominated as Best Actress for her role in American Hustle, but somehow managed to lose every time.
In addition to being nominated for multiple Oscars, the actress has been nominated six times for a British Academy Film Award but didn’t win once.The most tragic part of Amy’s career was arguably when she was subjected to what seemed like the largest Oscars snub of 2016. Her emotional role in Arrival didn’t get a single nomination despite her amazing portrayal.
Joaquin Phoenix shocked everyone when he announced his retirement from acting and followed the news with some truly bizarre public appearances and disastrous gigs supporting his newly-launched rap career. Little did we know it was all for a film project called I’m Still Here. Most of us just thought that he quit because he was sick of never winning anything.
The actor has been nominated three times for his work including nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in The Master and Walk the Line and Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Gladiator. He’s also been nominated for five Golden Globes but only won once.
Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter may be one of Tim Burton’s muses, but she’s never won an Oscar. The 50-year-old actress has carved a niche for herself in Hollywood by starring in quirky films like Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Alice in Wonderland. She even had a role in the Harry Potter Franchise.
Despite having over 88 acting credits, Helena has been nominated for an Oscar just twice – for Best Supporting Actress in The King’s Speech and for Best Actress in The Wings of the Dove. In addition to her Oscar snubs, Helena has been nominated for a whopping seven Golden Globes and three Emmy’s but hasn’t won any of them either.
Poor, poor Peter O’Toole. The British actor is regarded as one of the unluckiest actors in history. Though the actor passed away at the age of 81 after a long, successful career starring in films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and The Stunt Man (1980), the mark he left on Hollywood is unforgettable. Unfortunately, that mark isn’t the form of a competitive Oscar.
O’Toole was nominated eight times for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but never won. In 2003, the Academy finally felt a little bad for him and gave him an honorary Oscar for his contribution to Hollywood, but in 2007, he was nominated for his final Oscar for Venus, and lost again.
It’s hard to grasp the fact that John Travolta, who starred as the leather jacket-clad lead in the musical Grease, never won a single award for his performance. In fact, the Academy Awards overlooked his Grease character completely, and he was only nominated for a Golden Globe.
The actor hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar since the ’90s and has only been up for a little gold man twice. He lost the award for Best Actor after he was nominated for both 1994’s Pulp Fiction and 1978’s Saturday Night Fever. In 2016, after decades of starring roles, Travolta finally scored an Emmy for his role in American Crime Story.
Most of us fell in love with Will Smith when he was just a young Fresh Prince who moved from the inner city of West Philadelphia to the posh suburbs of Bel-Air.
Smith has come a long way since starring in a ’90s TV sitcom, and has since landed huge roles in major films like The Pursuit of Happyness, I Am Legend, Hitch and Suicide Squad. His talent has scored him two Oscar nominations and five Golden Globe nominations but not a single win. While his acting may be underappreciated (Hello, is no one realizing he’s one of the Men in Black?), his music has gotten him numerous accolades – he’s won multiple Grammys and American Music Awards.
Everybody loves Bill Murray. He’s the type of guy who’d show up at your bar and start slinging drinks for your customers, but when you told your friends and family what happened, they’d never believe you. As much as we love the quirky actor, there’s one group of people who aren’t as fond of him – the Academy.
Despite having major roles in films like Ghostbusters, St. Vincent and Rushmore, the actor has only been nominated for an Oscar once. Though his role in Lost in Translation touched millions, he unfortunately lost the award for Best Actor to Sean Penn who starred in Mystic River.
Tom Cruise is the ultimate ’80s heartthrob, and before he ever jumped on Oprah’s couch and publicly declared his love for Katie Holmes, he was one of the most sought-after leading actors. In many ways, he still is.
With impressive acting credits like his roles in War of the Worlds, Mission: Impossible III, Vanilla Sky and Minority Report, it’s mind boggling that he hasn’t won an Oscar. The 53-year-old actor has been nominated three times (for his work in Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire, and Magnolia) but never won.
Despite Brad Pitt’s status as one of the dreamiest actors of all time, the 53-year-old has never managed to snag an Academy Award for his acting work.
Pitt was nominated three times. In 1995 he received his first nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 12 Monkeys. In 2009 and 2012 he received Best Actor nominations for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Moneyball respectively. Fortunately for Pitt, he’s a multi-talent. Though he never got an Oscar for his acting chops, he did win one for his work on 12 Years a Slave, where he served as a producer.
You felt bad for Leo, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Glenn Close. The 69-year-old actress has a fabulous, decades-long career. She gave life to the famed Cruella de Ville in 101 Dalmatians and starred in the intense ’80s thriller Fatal Attraction. No one would consider Close even remotely unsuccessful, but she’s never won an Oscar despite six nominations.
The ’80s were extremely busy for Close, who was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her roles in 1982’s The World According To Garp, 1983’s The Big Chill and 1984’s The Natural. She was also nominated for Best Actress in 1987’s Fatal Attraction, 1988’s Dangerous Liaisons, and 2011’s Albert Nobbs.
Julianne Moore gives a thoughtful, heartfelt performance in just about anything she does. She always takes on thought-provoking roles and delivers her patented brand of sincerity with ease. Despite her major acting chops, she’s one of the many talents that have been snubbed by the Academy Awards.
Moore has been nominated for five Oscars throughout her decades-long career. She lost the award for Best Supporting Actress in 1998’s Boogie Nights and 2003’s The Hours. She also lost the award for Best Actress in 2000’s The End of the Affair and 2003’s Far From Heaven. Moore finally found redemption when she won Best Actress for 2015’s Still Alice.
And finally there’s Leonardo DiCaprio, the poster child for Oscars losers. Up until 2016, the actor had been nominated four times and never saw a single win. Of course, there’s the whole Academy Award conspiracy he has going for him – many think his risqué womanizer status has dissuaded the Academy from ever letting him win.
Still, Leo has starred in some of the most widely loved films of all time including Titanic, The Wolf of Wall Street, Inception and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. In 2016, he finally won his much-deserved Oscar for Best International Actor in The Revenant.