Oscars 2023: 24 Surprising Stars Who’ve Still Never Won An Academy Award
Over the years, we’ve watched many of our favourite film stars, directors, writers and musicians make their way onto the most prestigious stage in Hollywood to accept awards at the Oscars.
The 2022 Academy Awards gave us first-time victories for stars like Jessica Chastain, Ariana DeBose and... err... Will Smith – but sadly, there’s only space for one winner per category each year, meaning there are still many deserving actors who’ve missed out, time and time again.
Here are 24 of the living Hollywood stars who, surprisingly, still have an Oscar-shaped space on their mantelpiece (including a couple of this year’s big contenders)…
Considered by many to be “the new Leonardo DiCaprio” when it comes to the Oscars, Amy Adams has been nominated for six Academy Awards, most recently in 2019, only to leave empty-handed every year.
The good news for Amy is that Leo got his win on his sixth nomination, so if she really is following in his footsteps, she shouldn’t have to wait too much longer.
Glenn Close holds the dubious distinction of being the living actor who has the most Oscar nominations without a win.
As of 2022, the esteemed performer has been nominated for an Academy Award a whopping eight times, yet Glenn has never won in her category.
Her most recent nomination came last year with a nod in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in the divisive Netflix offering Hillbilly Elegy – a role that also landed the Fatal Attraction star a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.
Still, despite going home empty-handed on eight separate occasions, 2023 might still be her year, with the release of the long-awaited film adaptation of the musical Sunset Boulevard in the pipeline.
Samuel L Jackson
Despite over 50 years (!!!) in the entertainment industry, Samuel L Jackson has landed just one Oscar nomination in his career.
Back in 1994, he was on the Best Supporting Actor shortlist for playing Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. He lost out to Martin Landau on the night, and hasn’t been nominated again since.
However, it’s worth pointing out that he did win an Honorary Academy Award in 2022, after being recognised as a “cultural icon whose dynamic work has resonated across genres and generations and audiences worldwide”.
Lost In Translation star Scarlett Johansson is similarly yet to be awarded by the Motion Picture Academy, although she does have two Oscar nominations to her name – both of which came in the same year.
In 2020, Scarlett was nominated in both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories for her roles in Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit, but was pipped to the win by Renée Zellweger and Laura Dern, respectively.
As if the fact Angela Bassett has never won an Oscar isn’t galling enough – she’d actually only been nominated once before 2023.
Angela’s sole nomination came in 1993, following her portrayal of Tina Turner in the biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It?.
Thirty years later, she made history when she became the first star to receive an Oscar nomination for a performance in a Marvel film. You might say... she did the thing.
Jake Gyllenhaal is another A-list actor we’re surprised to hear has been given only a small amount of love by the Oscars.
In fact, it’s been over 15 years since Jake last bagged an Academy Award nomination, earning his first and only nod for his supporting role in Brokeback Mountain.
The Oscars’ lack of recognition for David Oyelowo’s performance as Martin Luther King Jr Selma is one of the biggest snubs in recent history, sparking a major backlash at the time.
Despite a number of critically-acclaimed performances to his name, the British star is yet to be nominated for an Academy Award. Seriously, Oscars. Sort. It. Out.
Off the top of our head, we can probably come up with six or seven Toni Collette performances that would have been deserving an Oscar win – and yet, the Australian star has just one nomination under her belt (for The Sixth Sense, if you’re wondering).
As one of the most versatile actors in the game, we’re confident that Toni’s time is coming... and when it does, it will be long overdue.
Sir Ian McKellen
He might have Oliviers coming out of his ears (seven in total), but Sir Ian McKellen is yet to be awarded the biggest honour in the film industry.
Sir Ian does have two Oscar nominations, but neither of them translated to a win. He hasn’t fared any better on his home soil, either, with neither of his four previous Bafta nominations resulting in him taking home an award.
Roles in acclaimed films like Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records led many fans to think that Beyoncé was setting her sights on Oscars glory.
Although neither ended in so much as a nomination, when she signed up to voice Nala in The Lion King (contributing a new song to the beloved soundtrack), it was thought she might get her win in the form of a Best Original Song victory. Sadly, this didn’t end up landing her a nomination, either.
We reckon she probably doesn’t need to lose sleep about that, though, as 2023 saw her becoming the most-awarded person in Grammys history.
In 2022, she finally landed her first ever nomination for her contribution to the King Richard soundtrack, although the award went to Billie Eilish for her James Bond theme No Time To Die.
Like many musicians before her, Dolly Parton has made the transition into acting with roles in films like The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and, of course, 9 To 5.
While the Academy never recognised Dolly’s acting (the Golden Globes did, though!), she does have two Best Original Song nominations to her name.
In recent years, Dolly has continued contributing new music to films like Dumplin’ and the Netflix festive film Christmas On The Square, though, so a win could well be on the horizon if she keeps it up.
Sir Kenneth Branagh
One of Britain’s most highly-regarded exports, Sir Kenneth Branagh has received five Academy Award nominations for his acting, writing and directing.
Sadly, the gold statuette has alluded the multi-talented star each time.
Since 2006, Michelle Williams has earned Oscar nominations for her performances in Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week With Marilyn, Manchester By The Sea and, more recently, The Fabelmans.
In 2019, she did win an Emmy on her first nomination for Fosse/Verdon, so we reckon it won’t be long until the Academy catches up.
In a career spanning more than three decades, Michelle Pfeiffer has been nominated for an Oscar on three different occasions, but so far, the Academy Award has always eluded her.
Sadly, none of these nominations were for Grease 2, which we can only describe as a huge oversight.
Tom Cruise has been nominated for three Oscars over the course of his career (although it has been more than two decades since his last nod), but he’s never come out on top in his category.
In 2023, there was speculation he could pick up a fourth acting nomination for his role in the Top Gear sequel Maverick. While this didn’t materalise in the end, the film itself was recognised in the Best Picture category, meaning Tom is technically now a four-time nominee thanks to his producing role on the film.
While many of his films have received Oscars over the years, 2018 marked Christopher Nolan’s first ever Best Director nomination, thanks to Dunkirk.
He lost out to Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape Of Water, marking the Mexican filmmaker’s first time receiving an Academy Award.
Sigourney Weaver has racked up three nominations over the years but sadly, the win has eluded her each time.
At the 1989 ceremony, she was up for both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress prizes, but lost out to Jodie Foster and Geena Davis, respectively.
“Is this the year Michael Keaton finally wins his Oscar?” Vanity Fair asked, hopefully, in 2016.
Sadly, it was not and, in fact, he didn’t even score a nomination for the movie sparking the question, The Founder.
His 2014 nomination, earned for his star turn in Birdman, remains Michael’s only Oscar-nominated role.
Annette Bening’s performances in The Kids Are Alright, Being Julia, American Beauty and The Grifters all made the Academy’s shortlist – but she was pipped to the post each time.
She’s still winning praise for recent films like 20th Century Women, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool and The Report, though, so a future Oscar win is definitely not out of the question.
Helena Bonham Carter
The British star is known for her quirky and offbeat roles, but despite Helena Bonham Carter’s bold choices when it comes to acting, the Academy is yet to reward her efforts with a win.
She does have two nominations, though, for The Wings Of The Dove and The King’s Speech.
In recent years, Hugh Jackman has been at the centre of Oscar buzz for films like The Front Runner, Bad Education and even The Greatest Showman, although none of them led to an actual nomination.
The Australian star did receive a nod back once, though, following his leading performance in Les Misérables in 2013.
Taraji P Henson
Are we ever going to get over the total snub that happened in 2017, when Taraji P Henson was missing from the Best Actress category?
Probably not, no.
The Hidden Figures star does one have Oscar nomination under her belt, thanks to her role in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
For those not familiar with Diane Warren, she’s the songwriter behind hit movie soundtrack tunes like Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, There You’ll Be and I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.
Remarkably, she’s now been nominated for an Oscar 14 times without a win – and true to form, she’s in the running in 2023, so this could well be her year.
HuffPost favourite John Travolta has become something of an Oscars staple in recent years, thanks to iconic moments like his “Adele Dazeem” gaffe, his after-party dance-off with Lady Gaga, his awkward pose with Scarlett Johansson and the fact he was the one to give Will Smith his award after the slap seen around the world.
John does have two Oscar nominations of his own, one for Saturday Night Fever and a second for Pulp Fiction, although neither ended up in a win for him.
But while he may not have any trophies to show for it, we’d still argue no one has won at the Oscars more times than Mr Travolta...