Have you been following academy awards year after year and feel that there are some actors who should have won Oscars, but never do? I am sure every actor feels that they will automatically win an Oscar. Well, that is what everyone who starts a career in acting ideally aims and hopes to achieve. There are a lot more actors who have constantly been overlooked when looking at the talented actors who deserve to win an Oscar. Why they don’t win is an unexplained phenomenon. So which are some of the most talented actors who have never won an academy award?

Today, Love is All Colors brings you a list of extremely gifted actors with one thing in common – Never won an Oscar. Read on…

Best actors to never win an Oscar

Of course, it can be quite shocking to discover that some of the best actors you know actors without Oscars are the most big-name actors with undeniable talent. The interesting thing is that these actors do get nominated. What they don’t get to hear is their names being called out on the Oscars stage to go give their acceptance speeches (which I am sure they take so much time rewriting just in case ‘this is the year I will receive that award’).

Now one might argue that these actors should just be satisfied with getting the nomination recognition. Well, much as that might seem enough, an Oscar is the holy grail of the film industry. It is like a gold star on a person’s resume and a major career boost. Those actors who have won academy awards usually have more bargaining power when it comes to getting big bucks for a role. At the same time, actors without Oscars might feel the frustration that they are probably not getting the well-deserved admiration from their peers and fans.

In this article, you will come to the jaw-dropping shocking realization of how some of these actors are omitted every year yet we even remember some of their best movies they acted in and the well-performed roles that they plated in these films. Here is our list of some of the greatest living actors who should have won Oscars.

Glenn Close

Close is the record holder of actors with no Oscars that has most nominations. She has had 7 nominations since 1993 for The World According to Garp. The most recent one was in 2019 for her role in The Wife.  The most admirable one was for her iconic role in Fatal Attraction in 1988.


  • The World According to Garp, Best Supporting Actress 1983
  • The Big Chill, Best Supporting Actress – 1984
  • The Natural, Best Supporting Actress 1985
  • Fatal Attraction, Best Actress, Fatal Attraction –1988
  • Dangerous Liaisons, Best Actress – 1989
  • Albert Nobbs, Best Actress – 2012
  • The Wife,  Best Actress, 2019

With no Oscar wins in her name, at least she won a Golden Globe Award for The Wife where she gave a very passionate acceptance speech.

Amy Adams

Amy Adams is a close second to Glenn Close with 6 Oscars nominations and no wins. She has however won other awards like the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Why the Oscars keep passing her by is still a mystery.


  • Junebug, Best Supporting Actress – 2006
  • Doubt, Best Supporting Actress – 2009
  • The Fighter, Best Supporting Actress – 2011
  • The Master, Best Supporting Actress – 2013
  • American Hustle, Best Actress – 2014
  • Vice, Best Supporting Actress – 2019

Robert Downey Jr.

To be a part of the Marvel world is marvelous. Robert Downey Jr. has had the privilege of not only being part of that universe but also for having consistently made it onto the list of Forbe’s annual highest-paid actors. To add to that, he was first on the list between 2012 and 2015. It beats me why he is on the list of best actors without an Oscar.


  • Chaplin,  Best Actor – 1993 ( Lost to Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman)
  • Tropic Thunder –Best Actor in a Supporting Role – 2009 (Lost to the late Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Well, at least we can say he lost to great actors for equally incredible roles.

Will Smith

Did Will Smith win an Oscar is a common question every time the Oscars are over. Since the TV show, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Smith has worked his way up and has become one of the Hollywood A-list actors. He has shown exemplary performances in blockbuster hit franchises like Men in Black and Bad Boys. He has also been in serious films such as Independence Day, Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. 

  • Ali – Best Actor – 2002
  • The Pursuit of Happyness – Best Actor – 2007
Unfortunately, being the most bankable stars in Hollywood he is still on our list of actors who should have won Oscars.

Johnny Depp

Captain Jack Sparrow, is what Depp is famously known for. He has played tremendous roles in lots of great movies and has been nominated there times for his Jack Sparrow role in Pirates of the Caribbean series of movies.


  • Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl – Best actor -2004
  • Finding Neverland – Best actor – 2005
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street –Best actor, 2008

Will Depp ever catch a break?

Annette Bening

Bening began in theater in the 198os with decades of mesmerizing performances in hit films. As hardworking as he is, it is sad that she is also one of the actors with no Oscars to make room for on her mantle.


  • The Grifters – Best Supporting Actress – 1991
  • American Beauty – Best Actress – 2000
  • Being Julia – Best Actress – 2005
  • The Kids Are All Right – Best Actress – 2011

Jake Gyllenhaal

Coming up on our list of actors who should have won Oscars is none other than Gyllenhaal. Can you believe that he hasn’t won a Golden Globe award either? And only one Oscars nomination to his name.


  • Brokeback Mountain – Best Supporting Actor – 2006.

Other challenging roles are in Nightcrawler, Nocturnal Animals, Stronger, Prisoners, Enemy, and Donnie Darko. How he missed even a nomination on these is still a mystery.

Scarlett Johansson

Wait a minute. Johansson doesn’t have an Oscar? How is this even possible? It is hard to believe that this hottie has never even received Oscar’s nomination despite her standout roles in Lucy, Under the Skin, Lost in Translation and Girl with a Pearl Earring Match Pint, A Love Song for Bobby Long. Well, at least BAFTA and the Global Globes recognized her with some nominations and won a BAFTA  Leading Actress award for her role in Lost in Translation.

Harrison Ford

Has Harrison Ford won an Oscar? The box office doesn’t translate to winning awards. Harrison Ford has numerous money-making franchises to his name. But at home all he has to show for all his greatness as an actor is an empty awards cabinet. He is one of the best actors to never win an Oscar. It’s a mystery why he has never been recognized.


  • Witness – Best Actor – 1986

With great movies like Indiana Jones, he only has one Oscars nomination… And it is for Witness. Really!!!

Sam Elliott

This is one of the most underrated supporting actors in his 50 years career. He finally got, NOT AN OSCAR WIN, but his first academy award nomination for his supporting role in, A Star is Born in 2019. He has acted in films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Big Lebowski.

Tom Cruise

Did you imagine that Cruise would be on our list of best actors without an Oscar? This dude has been in many iconic action films and franchises. Well, at least he has had 3 nominations. What do you mean the last was two decades ago?


  • Born on the Fourth of JulyBest Actor – 1990
  • Jerry Maguire – Best Actor1997
  • Magnolia – Best Supporting Actor – 2000.

No Oscar nods for Mission Impossible? That is quite a shocker!

Samuel L Jackson

Samuel L Jackson is ranked as the highest all-time box office star who has made over $12 billion worldwide. Even with only one Oscar nomination, Jackson, the Avengers actor seems not to be bothered by not winning an Oscar.
  • Pulp Fiction, Best Supporting Actor -1995

Michelle Williams

If there is an actress who has made a name for herself on the list of Hollywood’s whos and whos, then its Williams. She has 4 Oscar nominations to her name and still yet to get a win. She came pretty close to a win in 2016 for her role in Manchester By the Sea. Unfortunately, she lost to Viola Davis in Fences.  No statute on her mantelpiece yet.


  • Brokeback Mountain – Best Supporting Actress – 2006
  • Blue Valentine – Best Actress – 2011
  • My Week with Marilyn – Best Actress – 2012
  • Manchester by the Sea – Best Supporting Actress – 2017

Edward Norton

Norton is one of the other actors who should have won Oscars. Over the past 2 decades, this dude has starred in a lot of the most thought-provoking films. So why just the nods and no wins? 


  • Primal Fear – Best Supporting Actor – 1997
  • American History X – Best Actor – 1999
  • Birdman Nominated for Best Supporting Actor – 2015

Well, Academy Award wins or not, Norton will always be hailed as one of America’s most talented actors in history.

Joaquin Phoenix

If you are one of the people who assume that Joaquin Phoenix has an Oscar statuette somewhere in his house, then we forgive your assumption. Well, he has got 3 nominations but no Academy Award win.
  • Gladiator – Best Supporting Actor – 2001
  • Walk the Line – Best Actor – 2006
  • The Master – Best Actor – 2013

Guess he will have to make do with his Golden Globe, Grammy and People’s Choice Award wins.

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper almost grasped an award in A Star is Born. Unfortunately, it slipped right through with Rami Malek nabbing it at the last minute. Well, much as there are no Oscar wins, the height of his career was between 2013 and 2015 where he got 3 nominations.


  • Silver Linings Playbook – Best Actor – 2013
  • American Hustle – Best Supporting Actor – 2014
  • American Sniper – Best Actor – 2015
  • A Star is Born – Best Actor – 2019

Woody Harrelson

From funny roles to serious ones, Harrelson is another one of the best actors to never win an Oscar. Harrelson has been hailed for years for his versatility. Three nominations and three losses.


  • The People vs. Larry Flynt – Best Actor – 1997
  • The Messenger – Best Supporting Actor – 2010
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Best Supporting Actor 2018

Somebody, give him a win for how talented he is in adapting to varied character roles, please!

Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer was one of the most popular actors who made a name in the 1980s and 1990s with 3 nominations under her belt.
  • Dangerous Liaisons – Best Actress – 1988
  • The Fabulous Baker Boys – Best Actress – 1989
  • Love Field – Best Supporting Actress – 1992
Unfortunately for her, the Oscars ceremonies came and went with no win!

The thing is, much as the Oscars are meant to celebrate the greatest actors, if we were to continue with the list of actors who should have won Oscars, we will never exhaust it as there are many. Let’s hope some of these great folks catch a break sooner…

Jennifer Lopez was also disappointed with this year’s Oscars. Follow the link and read more about why she felt the Academy Awards were a letdown.