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

Updated August 18, 2020 487.3k votes 27.7k voters 369.2k views301 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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  • 1
    Alan Rickman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    6,935
    1,592

    Was never nominated for an Academy Award. 

  • 2
    Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    12,239
    2,251

    voting closed at #2

    Gary Oldman

    Age: 62

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

  • 3
    Ian McKellen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    7,043
    1,708

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

  • 4
    Robert Downey Jr. is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    7,885
    2,757

    Nominated for: Chaplin, Tropic Thunder

  • 5
    Samuel L. Jackson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    6,701
    2,271

    Nominated for: Pulp Fiction

  • 6
    Willem Dafoe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    4,292
    1,366

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

  • 7
    Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    6,068
    2,137

    Nominated for: Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby

  • 8
    Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    2,968
    1,103

    Charlie Chaplin

    Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)

    Nominated for: The Great Dictator

  • 9
    Johnny Depp is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    10,106
    3,987

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

  • 10
    Ralph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    5,099
    1,961

    Nominated for: Schindler's List, The English Patient

  • 11
    Edward Norton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    6,531
    2,760

    Edward Norton

    Age: age 50

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

  • 12
    Liam Neeson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    6,051
    2,501

    Nominated for: Schindler's List

  • 13
    Hugh Jackman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    4,481
    1,717

    Nominated for: Les Misérables

  • 14
    Woody Harrelson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    3,925
    1,499

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

  • 15
    Ed Harris is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    3,790
    1,579

    Ed Harris

    Age: 69

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

  • 16
    Harrison Ford is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    5,879
    2,533

    Nominated for: Witness

  • 17
    Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    5,035
    2,324

    Matt Damon

    Age: 49

    Nominated for: Good Will Hunting, Invictus, The Martian

  • 18
    Brad Pitt is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    5,878
    2,528

    voting closed at #18

    Brad Pitt

    Age: 56

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

  • 19
    Joaquin Phoenix is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    4,149
    1,886

    voting closed at #19

    Joaquin Phoenix

    Age: 46

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

  • 20
    Donald Sutherland is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    3,461
    1,588

    Was never nominated for an Academy Award

  • 21
    Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    3,290
    1,319

    Nominated for: The Imitation Game

  • 22
    John Malkovich is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    2,956
    1,225

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

  • 23
    Robert Redford is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    2,910
    1,335

    Nominated for: The Sting

  • 24
    Gene Wilder is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    2,395
    1,173

    Nominated for: The Producers

  • 25
    Cary Grant is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)
    2,742
    1,392

    Cary Grant

    Dec. at 82 (1904-1986)

    Nominated for: Penny Serenade, None But the Lonely Heart

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