Ah the Oscar; there are a ton of actors who don’t prioritise this award and are in it for the love of the game. But surely it sits there at the back of their mind. Surely they must think now and again; “God, it would be nice to have one”. And there are some actors who get nominated/give amazing performances time and time again and audiences scream when they don’t make it to the stage. I’ve been in that position where I was filled with rage when someone misses out. But let’s face it: There are some actors who, no matter whether they want them or not, they’ll get on just fine without one.
Mark Wahlberg – Total nominations: 1 (The Departed)
Harrison Ford – Total nominations: 1 (Witness)
Joaquin Phoenix – Total nominations: 2 (Walk the Line, The Master)
Alan Rickman – Total nominations: 0 (Shame on them)
10. Johnny Depp
Total nominations: 3 (Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Neverland, Sweeney Todd)
Johnny Depp is a bit of a hit and miss actor; he’s come under criticism in recent years for films such as The Lone Ranger, Alice in Wonderland and The Rum Diary, none of which were fantastically received. I too have had my moments where I hated him, as I think he spends most of his career doing the exact same thing in every film. But then I stop to think about some of his older films, and realize that the man has impressive range; let’s not forget memorable performances like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Donnie Brasco
But he should’ve won an Oscar for: Ed Wood, of course!
Not only my favourite Depp film but also my favourite Burton film, he brings the famously awful director to a life in a wonderful performance, complimented by Martin Landau as the magnificent Bela Lugosi. Sadly though, Depp missed out on a nomination in 1994
Total nominations: 1 (Pulp Fiction)
Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson. Not much needs to be said, does it? We all know who he is. He’s the badass who deals with motherfucking snakes on motherfucking planes (or if you’re watching it on TV, he deals with monkey fighting snakes on Monday-to-Friday planes) and is never afraid to go over the top. In recent years, he’s found success playing Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he’s mostly remembered for his collaborations with Quentin Tarantino, like Django Unchained or Jackie Brown. Speaking of Tarantino...
He should’ve won an Oscar for: Pulp Fiction
Quentin’s second movie and Jackson’s only nomination to date. Even Jackson himself thinks he should’ve won, but he was beaten by Martin Landau (mentioned in the previous entry). Landau was amazing and truly deserved the award, but any other year, Jackson would’ve taken it home
Total nominations: 3 (Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire, Magnolia)
Yes, another actor that not everyone is keen on. True, Tom does seem a bit up his own arse sometimes – not to mention that a lot would disagree with his religious beliefs – but you can never say he doesn’t care about his work. He puts in a lot of effort, and even if the film is bad, it still shows.
He should’ve won an Oscar for: Magnolia.
That was an amazing movie. In Paul Thomas Anderson’s anthology piece, Cruise plays Frank Mackey, a self help artist who teaches men about sex and despises his distant father. The award was picked up by Michael Caine for his performance in The Cider House Rules, which some would argue was far less deserved than this riveting performance. If you didn’t feel anything when he breaks down crying in front of his father, you have no soul.
Total nominations: 2 (Chaplin, Tropic Thunder)
RDJ is the definition of awesome. Better known for his roles as Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes these past few years, he’s been around for a while, and starred in films such as Weird Science, Zodiac, and Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He spends most of his time making us laugh, but Robert has some serious range, and hopefully this will be award one day.
He should’ve won an Oscar for: Tropic Thunder.
The Oscars don’t tend to award comedies, so the fact that one ever gets nominated is something to celebrate. It wasn’t exactly a tour-de-force performance, but having not seen his take on Charlie Chaplin, this out of control performance was too hilarious not to award. Of course, this was the same year that Heath Ledger posthumously won Best Supporting Actor for his unbelievable performance as The Joker, but any other year, Robert should’ve taken it home
Total nominations: 3 (Twelve Monkeys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Moneyball)
When he’s not being glamorised as one half of Hollywood’s favourite couple by every crappy gossip magazine you can find, Brad Pitt is on the big screen delivering some fantastic performances. He doesn’t have a perfect track record but he’s wowed us with films like Se7en, The Assassination of Jesse James and his short but surprisingly brilliant performance in 12 Years a Slave.
He should’ve won an Oscar for: Fight Club.
To be honest, it’s unbelievable he didn’t get a nomination. He stars as Tyler Durden, a devil may care soap maker who makes friends with a struggling insomniac (Edward Norton), and together they start an underground Fight Club, in which stressed out men (including the likes of Meatloaf and Jared Leto) relief themselves of their anger buy fighting it out with each other. Brad Pitt is wild in this movie, and delivers perhaps the rawest performance of his career.
Total nominations: 1 (Lost in Translation)
Bill Murray is one of the funniest men to have ever worked in film. Any comedy starring Bill is bound to leave you in stitches. Films like Groundhog Day, Scrooged, Ghostbusters and Caddyshack have cemented him as a comedy legend, and at 63 years old, he’s still going strong, (you can catch him in cinemas now in The Monuments Men). But with such an impressive impact on the world of comedy, it’s easy to forget that Bill Murray is a fantastic serious actor, with his only nomination to date being for Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, where he starred as an aging, depressed actor who moves to Tokyo, and finds solace in a young woman (Scarlett Johansson) who is neglected by her boyfriend.
He should’ve won an Oscar for: Moonrise Kingdom.
Murray is well known for his collaborations with director Wes Anderson. Films like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Fantastic Mr. Fox have cemented them as one of the best actor/director partnerships of all time. And whilst his performance in Lost in Translation was beautiful, Murray was a perfect part to a perfect film in Anderson’s coming of age tale Moonrise Kingdom, the story of a young boy scout and a young girl who run away from home and live in the wilderness whilst the scout leader (Edward Norton), police captain (Bruce Willis) and the girls’ lawyer parents (Murray and Frances McDormand) search desperately for them. Murray’s performance as the father is perhaps one of the most underrated of all time, receiving no acclaim for any award shows.
Total nominations: 1 (Schindler’s List)
Liam Neeson is considered more of an action hero these days; following films such as Taken, Unknown, Batman Begins and The A-Team, all he needs to do is hold a gun on a poster and people will pay to see it (Expect to see this happening again this Friday with the release of Non-Stop). But much like Mr. Murray (who is only three years older than Liam), Neeson scored a nomination for his career defining performance as Oscar Schindler in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning Schindler’s List. Grown men have admitted crying to his performance as a greedy German businessman who turns his factory into a refugee for Jews, and it’s no surprise, as it is a truly awe inspiring piece of acting.
He should’ve won an Oscar for: The Grey.
True, he surely would have picked up Best Actor that year if it wasn’t for Tom Hanks’ equally harrowing performance in Philadelphia, but let’s take a moment to appreciate his stunning acting in The Grey, the underrated story of a suicidal huntsman who leads a team of oilworkers to safety after their plane crashes in wolf infested Alaska. A nomination was surely deserved here, even if just for that final scene.
Total nominations: 1 (12 Years a Slave)
Another Irishman, who has made his name in recent years starring in blockbusters such as X-Men: First Class and Prometheus. An infinitely talented man, he’s received his first nomination this year for his portrayal as brutal, abusive slave owner Edwin Epps in Steve McQueens adaption of Soloman Northup’s biography, 12 Years a Slave. The film is nominated for several awards and will surely succeed, however at the moment it looks like Michael will be beaten to the award by 30 Seconds to Mars front man Jared Leto, for his riveting take of a HIV-positive transvestite in Dallas Buyers Club.
He should’ve won an Oscar for: Shame.
If you ask me, they’ve nominated him for the wrong film. Fassy is fantastic in 12 Years, however it was in his last collaboration with McQueen that he truly shone. In Shame, Fassy plays a sex addict whose life is turned upside down when his wayward sister (Carey Mulligan) comes to stay with him. If you want an example of raw talent, look no further than this film, as he effortlessly displays anger, desperation, loneliness, and pain in this remarkable performance.
Total nominations: 1 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Gary Oldman is a national treasure, and one of the finest actors we’ve ever produced. He has style. He has charisma. He has charm. And his talent is infinite. Whether it be in big blockbusters, such as the new Robocop film, guest appearances in TV shows, like his hilarious portrayal of David Crosby in Friends, or just small roles in hit films like True Romance, there is nothing the man can’t do. He’s done his rounds in franchise like Batman and Harry Potter, and has even lent his voice to the Call of Duty video games. Gary Oldman’s filmography is beyond impressive, and with a role in the upcoming sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, he has no plans to stop impressing us. His one and only Oscar nomination (An absolute disgrace that he only has 1) came from the 2011 British film Tinker Tailor Solder Spy, where he played retired British Intelligence agent George Smiley, who is forced out of retirement to solve one last problem. It is a beautiful performance, and how he lost the award in favour of Jean Dujardin, the French actor who won for The Artist and then disappeared into oblivion until The Wolf of Wall Street came out, is beyond me. But, there’s another performance that wasn’t recognised....
He should’ve won an Oscar for: Leon the Professional.
When you think of scary film villains, you think of people such as Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, Jack Torrance etc. But one name that doesn’t come up often enough is Norman Stansfield, the corrupt DEA agent portrayed by Oldman in Leon. A perfect rival to Jean Reno’s Leon, Stansfield is Oldman’s scariest performance to date, and certainly one of his best.
Total nominations: 4 (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Wolf of Wall Street)
Ah, Leo DiCaprio.
The man who can’t win an Oscar. There are several jokes and memes scattered across the internet based on the fact that Leo has yet to win an Oscar despite his performances, and he is usually shown as desperate and upset at not winning one. Whilst they are hilarious, it’s also a crime that he’s yet to receive one. Leo is far and away the most talented actor working in film today. His range is incredible, and his relationships with directors and co-stars are fantastic. In the past decade, Leo has become Martin Scorsese’s new favourite star, appearing in films like Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed and Shutter Island. But ever performance he delivers is one to be remembered, in films such as Catch Me If you Can, Inception, This Boy’s life, Romeo + Juliet, Django Unchained and The Great Gatsby. Leo is nominated this year for a fourth time for his performance in Marty’s latest, The Wolf of Wall Street, where he plays Jordan Belfort, a wild, misogynistic stock broker who starts his own company and becomes rich, indulging in drugs and parties. Whilst his performance as the wolf is outstanding, it seems that he will once again be pipped to the post as Jared Leto’s DBC co-star Matthew McConaughey is the favourite to win Best Actor. The jokes will never end.
He should’ve won an Oscar for: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
A slow and dull but decent film starring Johnny Depp as the titular character, who lives a fairly ordinary life with is sisters, obese mother and mentally ill brother Arnie (Leo), and his life is turned around as he meets a young girl (Juliette Lewis) and they become quick friends. As mentioned before, it certainly is slow and not the most exciting of films. But Leo, who was very young at the time, is unbelievable. His portrayal of the handicapped sibling is absolutely harrowing, and I have never cried harder at a film than this one thanks to this performance. Some of the scenes are absolutely heartbreaking, and it’s his performance that ignites the tears. That year, the Oscar was won by Tommy Lee Jones for his good-but-not-THAT-good performance in The Fugitive. Very undeserved, especially with this remarkable man in the running.
Don’t worry Leo. One day man, one day.
So there we have it. Who are your favourite actors to have never won Oscars? Let us know in the comments below!