To our surprise and dismay, and now potentially yours, some of Hollywood’s greatest actors have never even been nominated for an Academy Award! If you thought for sure that some of these names would have at least been mentioned or considered for an Oscar, think again. Was it their personal lives or separate career paths that kept them from winning the prestigious honor? Glance through your list and decide for yourselves.
If there was an Oscar for Cutest Actress Who Ever Lived, Meg Ryan would have won 7 of them by now. Unfortunately, one of America’s most favorite sweetheart hasn’t been properly recognized by the Academy. She never received a nomination for her neurotic charm in When Harry Met Sally, her hopeless romanticism in Sleepless in Seattle, or for her most obvious Oscar-worthy performance in Courage Under Fire. We wish this wasn’t the case but as far as award recognition goes, Meg peaked with her Golden Globes.
Danny Glover is one of the most surprising names you’ll see on our list. Despite being a phenomenal actor on his own terms and with an impressive resume, Glover has starred in an epic collection of Academy Award-winning films and yet, he hasn’t been handed an Oscar nod for his part in any of them. The Color Purple and Witness, both had multiple nominations under their belt, and he was overlooked for an Academy nomination after his stunning performance in Manderlay. It’s not too late, though. Glover’s career is still on track and doesn’t seem to be heading off course for a good, long while.
If Woody Allen was recognized so many times be the Academy, don’t you think it would be appropriate for one his most famous muses to be honored with a nomination as well? Mia Farrow has become a silver-screen legend and understatedly so, with no Oscar to show for her outstanding work as an actress. The proper nomination (that she oh, so definitely deserved) was for Best Actress in Rosemary’s Baby, well before Woody Allen even claimed her as his personal, primary form of inspiration.
Where do we begin with Alan Rickman? Before he became Severus Snape and the ideological guardian of the millennial generation everywhere, Rickman was a darn good stage actor turned iconic film-star. He suddenly and regretfully passed away in 2016 but before he detached from his mortal coil he gave us great performances in The January Man, Dust, An Awfully Big Adventure, Sense & Sensibility, and played the unforgettable Hans Gruber in Die Hard. Surely, one of these films should have snagged him an Oscar nod.
We know that Jim Carrey has a reputation for strictly shining as a comedian and in that respect, he’s both hilarious and successful. However, as we recollect Carrey’s filmography it gradually dawns on us; he’s had a fair amount of profound and mentally stimulating roles under his belt. The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Man on the Moon, and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events are just some of the more serious and emotionally evoked films that he’s starred in. Today, Carrey is still an overlooked actor without an Oscar nomination.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis, believe it or not, has never been nominated for an Oscar. Granted, she’s dabbled in between genres during the course of her acting career but she’s shown some serious versatility that only true talent can back. What should she have been nominated for? Her performance in True Lies should have gained Academy recognition, at the very least. Or, Trading Places and A Fish Called Wanda would have served as some good comedic competition at an otherwise serious awards ceremony.
Claire Danes has had a successful acting career in television. In fact, her career on the small screen has been so successful that it has cast a shadow over her film accomplishments. Today, she’s predominantly known for her role in Homeland and started out as everyone’s dream girl in the 90’s drama, My So-Called Life. But, in between these tv endeavors, Danes held movie roles that only an actress of her caliber could do justice. She could have easily been nominated for Brokedown Palace, Little Women, The Hours, or Stardust.
It’s hard to swallow the fact that an iconic actor such as Richard Gere, regardless of how flaky he may be, has never been nominated for an Oscar. We aren’t suggesting that Gere should have been nominated for Runaway Bride but to be fair, his hat deserved to be thrown in the nomination ring for Chicago. Before showing off his musical chops, he could have easily been nominated for his polarizing performance in Internal Affairs. What gives, Academy?
Scarlett Johansson is a once in a lifetime pop culture figure. She’s a sex symbol that successfully transitioned from a child star into a respected actress and has been snubbed by the Academy for far too long. Granted, Scarlett’s most current projects mostly include the Marvel franchise as she continues to reprise her role as Black Widow but this doesn’t negate her past performances. She should have been nominated for Lost in Translation, although, recognition for The Other Boleyn Girl, Under the Skin, or A Good Woman would have been acceptable, too.
Donald Sutherland never receiving an Oscar nomination is like Queen Elizabeth ll never knighting the captain of her Royal Guard. Sutherland is the patriarch of a Hollywood Dynasty and has had one heck of an impressive career to look back on. He’s starred in films where his co-star won the Oscar and he wasn’t handed a nod (Jane Fonda, Klute) and he’s also starred in films that won the highest honor of Best Picture without receiving a nod (Ordinary People). The list goes on with classic movies that are considered staples in modern cinema but for some reason, Sutherland was never given fair credit where it was due.
If the Academy continues to honor musicals and the talent that stars in them, it’s only fair that we backtrack to 1949 and address one of the scariest snubs of all time. Ann Miller was a class act who had dancer’s feet and the singing voice to match, yet, for On the Town, she wasn’t given a nomination for her performance. In all honesty, Ann Miller could have given Ginger Rogers a run for money or should we say, her tap dancing shoes. Ann retired from acting in 1976 and sadly, she was never honored by the Academy before her death in 2004.
Emily is in our list today but we have a feeling that at some point and at the right time, she’ll get the Oscar nomination she deserves. Emily made her mainstream breakthrough in The Devil Wears Prada and although fans took to her instantly, she had already proved her star quality in My Summer of Love. With performances in Looper, Into the Woods, The Girl on the Train, and Sicario, she’s subconsciously setting herself up for an Oscar in the near future. Or at least, a well-deserved and not so surprising nomination.
Jeff Goldblum only takes on his roles he’s satisfied with and the thing is, we can never truly tell what he finds so satisfying about some of the roles he’s agreed to. Regardless, Goldblum is always around, lurking in the shadows and whether or not it was accidental or intentional, deserved to be nominated for an Oscar for two pivotal films in his career – The Fly and Adam Resurrected. We have a feeling if he wanted to, the Jurassic Park star could stun us all with the performance of a lifetime. Until this happens, we’ll just sit back and watch the good stuff he gives us now.
We’re going to give Kurt Russell the perfect excuse for never being nominated for an Academy Award – he’s just too cool. But really, where was his nod for The Hateful Eight? Or Grindhouse? Or pretty much anything he’s ever done? We know his wife, Goldie Hawn, was honored with an Oscar of her very own and we’re still waiting for Kurt to take one home to place on the mantle next to hers. They could be “His & Hers” Oscar statues! We’re not too worried yet, though. Kurt will get the Academy’s attention at one point or another.
Poor, beautiful, tragic, and understatedly talented Marilyn Monroe. For the blonde bombshell, who is often referred to as the most beautiful woman who ever lived, her personal exploits and dark addictions overshadowed her accomplishments as a performer. If the Academy ever took the time to consider Marilyn’s professional feats, then she easily could have been handed an Oscar nod before her untimely death. Marilyn was a subtle, comedic genius who could beat Doris Day if she had been nominated for Some Like it Hot in 1959. However, it was only Jack Lemmon who would get tapped by the Academy for his performance in the movie.
Speaking of Hollywood’s dynasties, it’s hard to believe an actor like Martin Sheen could go the length of his career without ever being nominated for an Oscar. At this point, there are a plethora of films on his roster that could have bagged him the honor of a nomination; The Departed, Gettysburg, Badlands, and what about Apocalypse Now? Sheen’s acting days certainly aren’t behind him but clearly, he needs to wow both the public and the Academy (as if he hasn’t already done so), in order to grab a gold statue of his own.
We had hoped that Isabella Rossellini would experience the same Oscar greatness as her mother, Ingrid Bergman, did but we’re still waiting for the Academy to realize just how deserving and talented she truly is. Isabella has taken more risks in her acting career than her mother did, however, even while encountering a couple of misses, she’s had some great hits. An Oscar nomination would have been proper following her performance in Blue Velvet and to our dismay, it never came despite the Best Director nod given to David Lynch.
Raise your hand if you’re still waiting to see John Cusack rewarded for all of his hard work with an Oscar nomination. We think so, too. Cusack’s 80’s teen drama has been behind him for quite some time and he’s grown into a thoughtful, invaluable member of Hollywood cinema. If Being John Malkovich and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil didn’t persuade the Academy to keep tabs on the actor throughout his career, we aren’t sure which films will do it. Surely, though, Cusack deserved a nomination for The Thin Red Line. We still haven’t gotten over that one.
Pam Grier’s chance to shine as an Oscar nominee would have been for her role as Jackie Brown in Quentin Tarantino’s best flick to date (besides Reservoir Dogs, obviously). We’re still asking “how?” and “why?” Pam Grier was overlooked for an Oscar nod during the 1997 Academy unveiling. If we had to guess, it was all the hype surrounding Titanic, James Cameron, and Kate Winslet. Pam isn’t too involved in the acting scene these days but we’re still holding back a Tarantino comeback in the future.
Let’s pretend that the Star Wars prequels never happened and give Ewan McGregor the Oscar cred he deserves. When he wasn’t busy playing Obi-Wan Kenobi or starring in Mortdecai, he could have easily taken the Academy Awards by storm with Trainspotting, Beginners, Moulin Rouge, Velvet Goldmine or his breakthrough performance in Shallow Grave. It’s a good thing Ewan is still young and he’s got a light of fight left in him, especially with Trainspotting 2 just around the corner. There’s hope for young pad-a-wan yet.
Robin Wright is clearly busy kicking butt on House of Cards at the moment but before she teamed up for television fame with Kevin Spacey, she was a household name. We’re talking about the name Jenny, of course. It’s been said repeatedly that Wright should have been nominated for her role in Forrest Gump, especially after she acclaimed famed notoriety from 90’s hit, The Princess Bride. While the role of Jenny was a dime a dozen, she’s still got the stuff to pull off an Oscar-worthy role and it’s bound to happen sooner or later.
Oscar Isaac may be new blood to the world of cinema but he’s already a well sought after actor and a hot commodity (double entendre meant). The Academy could have taken their pick of any one of his performances if they wanted to nominate him, like, at all. Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex-Machina, and A Most Violent Year would have all been appropriate for either Best Actor or Supporting. He’s still got time and plenty of productions in front of him, though. We aren’t exactly too concerned yet.
We may not have expected him to win one yet, although, a nomination at this stage in the game would have been nice. Bruce Willis could have thrown an Oscar nod for The Sixth Sense; after all, his co-star Toni Collette was. Pulp Fiction, Looper, and Death Becomes Her should have substantiated a nomination or two, as well. We have a feeling that the action films he usually stars that sets him apart from the usual nominees but if we really believed that, then how do we explain Mark Wahlberg?
To put it plain and simple, Steve Buscemi is one of the most talented actors in both the 20th and 21st centuries. His serious roles, on television and in film, are enough to make us forget each ridiculous cameo he’s made in almost every Adam Sandler film in existence. Buscemi was robbed of a nomination in 1996 for his performance in Fargo but since then, he could have just as fairly been recognized for Ghost World or Big Fish. Before Fargo, he could have also scored a nomination for Reservoir Dogs. It just doesn’t make any sense, ya know?
Gong Li, one of the most prized Asian actresses of our time, has never been nominated for an Oscar and you know what? She should have been. She still can be, of course, but that doesn’t accuse the snub she received for her performance in Memoirs of a Geisha. The same goes for her starring role in Shanghai, alongside crowd favorite, Chow Yun-Fat. We’d like to chop this exclusion up to an underrepresentation of cultural range that the Academy falls victim to every year and to be more optimistic, we hope that changes soon.
John Goodman isn’t an actor you’d expect to see at the Academy Awards, let alone nominated for an Oscar. But, why? He’s a dynamite talent who has worked with award-winning actors and has had major roles in quite a few Academy nominated flicks. He appeared in Argo and The Artist, both which happen to be Best Picture winners, and starred alongside Michael Lerner in Barton Fink, who was nominated for an Oscar for that film! If you ask, we’re going to be brave and proudly state that The Big Lebowski could have grabbed Goodman an Oscar nod.
Allison Janney has never been nominated for an Oscar, despite her co-starring alongside some major players in the Hollywood game. She has appeared in game-changing films like The Hours, The Help, and American Beauty, and was snubbed for great performances in Away We Go and The Way Way Back. Janney may be more recognized as a television star but ask anyone who’s educated in film, they’ll say she’s way past due for some Academy Award recognition.