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The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

Updated December 1, 2020 499.3k votes 28.1k voters 374.4k views302 items

List RulesVote up the male actors who have never been awarded the Oscar for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor.

There are many actors who haven't won an Oscar. For 95 percent of the acting population, there is probably a good reason they haven't taken home one of film's most prestigious honors. Only two actors per year can win either the Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor Oscars, leaving eight other nominees with nothing. And all of the other actors in the biz out in the cold.

But does the Academy always get it right? There are plenty of actors who haven't won an Oscar despite the fact that they’ve turned in amazing performances. Whether it’s due to stellar competition, bad luck, or an out-and-out snub, some artists have never gotten the recognition they deserve. Of course, some actors - like the great shapeshifter Gary Oldman - do finally get recognized after years without even a nomination, let alone a win.

Johnny Depp and Edward Norton are all big draws at the box office who haven't received the same respect of the Academy that they have from audiences. While they've all been nominated for Oscars, they've never taken home the big prize. Other top actors without acting Oscars include Liam Neeson, Robert Downey, Jr.. Matt Damon, and Michael Fassbender. This list of Hollywood celebrities who have no Academy Awards also includes Black actors, like Will Smith, and famous classic stars, like Peter O'Toole and Cary Grant. How these people never won an Oscar will always be a mystery! 

There are a surprising number of big name actors who haven't won an Oscar. It's up to you to determine which of these men is the greatest.

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  • Alan Rickman1
    7,153
    1,642

    Was never nominated for an Academy Award. 

  • Ian McKellen2
    7,219
    1,746

    Nominated for: Gods and Monsters, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

  • Gary Oldman3
    12,239
    2,251

    voting closed at #3

    Gary Oldman

    Age: 62

    WON for Darkest Hour; Nominated for: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

  • Robert Downey Jr.4
    8,069
    2,834

    Nominated for: Chaplin, Tropic Thunder

  • Samuel L. Jackson5
    6,915
    2,324

    Nominated for: Pulp Fiction

  • Willem Dafoe6
    4,462
    1,414

    Nominated for: Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire, The Florida Project

  • Clint Eastwood7
    6,244
    2,190

    Nominated for: Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby

  • Charlie Chaplin8
    3,111
    1,156

    Charlie Chaplin

    Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)

    Nominated for: The Great Dictator

  • Johnny Depp9
    10,392
    4,034

    Nominated for: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Finding Neverland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

  • Edward Norton10
    6,669
    2,805

    Edward Norton

    Age: age 50

    Nominated for: Primal Fear, American History X, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

  • Ralph Fiennes11
    5,219
    1,996

    Nominated for: Schindler's List, The English Patient

  • Liam Neeson12
    6,189
    2,557

    Nominated for: Schindler's List

  • Hugh Jackman13
    4,623
    1,757

    Nominated for: Les Misérables

  • Harrison Ford14
    6,023
    2,578

    Nominated for: Witness

  • Ed Harris15
    3,878
    1,619

    Ed Harris

    Age: 70

    Nominated for: Apollo 13, The Truman Show, Pollock, The Hours

  • Woody Harrelson16
    4,044
    1,541

    Nominated for: The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Messenger, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

  • Matt Damon17
    5,168
    2,368

    Matt Damon

    Age: 50

    Nominated for: Good Will Hunting, Invictus, The Martian

  • Brad Pitt18
    5,878
    2,528

    voting closed at #18

    Brad Pitt

    Age: 57

    WON for Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood; Nominated for: 12 Monkeys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Moneyball

  • Joaquin Phoenix19
    4,149
    1,886

    voting closed at #19

    Joaquin Phoenix

    Age: 46

    WON for Joker; Nominated for: Gladiator, Walk the Line, The Master

  • Donald Sutherland20
    3,567
    1,619

    Was never nominated for an Academy Award

  • John Malkovich21
    3,034
    1,248

    Nominated for: Places in the Heart, In the Line of Fire

  • Benedict Cumberbatch22
    3,396
    1,350

    Nominated for: The Imitation Game

  • Gene Wilder23
    2,470
    1,204

    Nominated for: The Producers

  • Cary Grant24
    2,813
    1,409

    Cary Grant

    Dec. at 82 (1904-1986)

    Nominated for: Penny Serenade, None But the Lonely Heart

  • Michael Keaton25
    1,439
    487

    Nominated for: Birdman