20 Incredible Actors Who Shockingly Haven't Won Oscars — Yet

Honestly, it always seems that Amy Adams and Meryl Streep are up for Academy Awards in acting categories. Here's the major difference between the two incredibly talented, often nominated candidates: Streep has won three Academy Awards, and Adams has yet to win one, despite multiple nominations.
We already know that Oscars aren't the definitive measure of success. If they were, then Brokeback Mountain would've won in 2004. But regardless of the flaws and philosophies behind award shows, an Oscars win does mean something for a person's career. First, it means studio marketers can put "Oscar-winner" in front of their name on all future movie posters. It also means they've been formally recognized for their talent.
Given how prolific and talented they are, you'll be surprised to find that these actors haven't yet received Oscars. Leonardo DiCaprio sure is happy to be off this list.
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Sigourney Weaver

Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise was a career-defining role — and a genre-defining role, too. Alien set the precedent for women to helm acclaimed sci-fi works. You can draw a direct line between Alien, and more recent fare like Arrival and Annihilation.

Nominations: Best Actress (Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist) and Best Supporting Actress (Working Girl)
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Will Smith

Being a movie star doesn't necessarily translate into being an Academy favorite. Bright certainly didn't help Smith's chances.

Nominations: Best Actor (Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness)
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Alan Rickman

Just as baffling as the actors who never won Oscars are the ones who were never nominated in the first place. Rickman's Severus Snape made the Harry Potter series what it was. As the Times' Manohla Dargis said in her review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, Snape "has become such a brilliant screen character…due to Mr. Rickman, who helped elevate a child’s tale of good and evil into a story of human struggle." Rickman died in 2016.

Nominations: Nothing! The travesty.
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Edward Norton

Edward Norton received an Oscar nomination after his debut movie, Primal Fear. When you see the movie, you'll know why. He's received consistent critical praise since then, but no Oscar.

Nominations: Best Actor (American History X) and Best Supporting Actor (Primal Fear, Birdman)
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Samuel L. Jackson

When you're the one of the highest-grossing actors of all time, do you really need an Oscar?

Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Pulp Fiction)
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Annette Bening

Annette Bening has a BAFTA, two Golden Globes, and was nominated for a Tony, an Emmy, and four Oscars. We were hoping Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool would be Bening's chance to get her Oscar, but no luck. Her next movie, The Wife, out in 2018, could very take her there.

Nominations: Best Actress (The Kids Are All Right, Being Julia, American Beauty) and Best Supporting Actress (The Grifters)
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Laurence Fishburne

Unfortunately, creating one of the most iconic moments in movie history — we're referring to the moment Fishburne's Morpheus offers Neo a red pill and a blue pill in The Matrix — doesn't automatically get a person an Oscar nomination. Fishburne's only nod came when he played Ike Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It. His co-star, Angela Bassett, was nominated for playing Tina Turner.

Nomination: Best Actor (What's Love Got to Do With It)
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Angela Bassett

With her work as Ramonda in Black Panther fresh in our mind, let's ponder, yet again, how Angela Bassett hasn't received an Oscar nom? Bassett makes everything that she's in, better – look at American Horror Story and the "Thanksgiving" episode in Master of None.

Nomination: Best Actress (What's Love Got to Do With It)
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Glenn Close

Glenn Close is tied with Deborah Kerr for having the most nominations, and no wins. Her most famous role is Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction; that year, she lost to Cher in Moonstruck.

Nominations: Best Actress (Albert Noble, Dangerous Liaisons, Fatal Attraction) and Best Supporting Actress (The Natural, The Big Chill, The World According to Garp)
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Laura Linney

Everyone knows Laura Linney's most riveting, emotional performance was the ravaged sister in Love Actually who chooses to hang out with her brother instead of the Brazilian love of her life, but that's not what earned her several Oscar noms.

Nominations: Best Actress (You Can Count On Me, The Savages) and Best Supporting Actress (Kinsey)
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Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer has had a long, and criminally overlooked, career. Of the three witches in The Witches of Eastwick, Pfeiffer's the only one to be Oscar-less (Cher and Susan Sarandon both have Best Actress awards). We're still bitter that Pfeiffer wasn't nominated for playing Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence.

Nominations: Best Actress (Love Field, The Fabulous Baker Boys) and Best Supporting Actress (Dangerous Liaisons)
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Amy Adams

In 2017, Amy Adams' name accidentally appeared on the list of nominees for Best Actress — and then was immediately replaced with Ruth Negga. We should've known after that mix-up that the 89th Oscars would be full of glitches. Truly, though, how has Amy Adams not won an Oscar? It's a sentence we'll repeat until she finally does get that Oscar. She was robbed for Arrival.

Nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master) and Best Actress (American Hustle)
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Ralph Fiennes

Many of Fiennes' best characters fall on the spectrum of morally ambiguous to outright evil. We know where Voldemort of Harry Potter and Amon Goth, a Nazi war criminal, in Schindler's List, fall in the spectrum. Count Lazslo de Almasy of The English Patient is morally ambiguous; he cares more about the desert and Katherine Clifton than being on the right side of history.

Nominations: Best Actor (The English Patient), Best Supporting Actor (Schindler's List)
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Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen has garnered the most acclaim for his live theater – he's won six Laurence Olivier Awards, and a Tony. Though it would've been cool for Gandalf to have won an Oscar.

Nominations: Best Actor (Gods and Monsters), Best Supporting Actor (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)
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Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams is one of those actors you just assume has an Oscar. Instead, she has four nominations, and quite an oeuvre. Her work as the desperate mother in All the Money in the World garnered her a Golden Globe nomination, and some Oscar buzz. Alas, no luck for the Academy Awards.

Nominations: Best Actress (My Week With Marilyn, Blue Valentine) and Best Supporting Actress (Brokeback Mountain, Manchester By the Sea)
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Namoi Watts

In The Impossible, Naomi Watts plays a woman whose family is caught in the middle of the December 2004 tsunami that devastated the entire Pacific Basin. While the Academy loves to reward an extreme performance (look at Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant), Watts didn't get the Oscar – Jennifer Lawrence won for Silver Linings Playbook.

Nominations: Best Actress (The Impossible, 21 Grams)
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Brad Pitt

Technically, Brad Pitt has won an Oscar. He was a producer for 12 Years a Slave, and so collected the award when that movie won Best Picture in 2012. But Pitt has never won an Oscar in an acting category.

Nominations: Best Actor (Moneyball, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Best Supporting Actor (12 Monkeys)
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Idris Elba

2017 was a landmark year for Idris Elba. He was in Thor: Ragnarok, The Mountain Between Us, The Dark Tower, Molly's Game, and a TV mini-series called Guerilla. Essentially, he never slept. Though he's a prolific actor (and was on The Wire!), he has yet to receive an Oscar nomination.

Nominations: None
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Jessica Chastain

Chastain has a habit of being nominated for movies that end up getting other awards. In 2011, Chastain was nominated for The Help, but lost to her co-star Octavia Spencer. The next year, she was nominated for Zero Dark Thirty. While Zero Dark Thirty won Best Picture, she lost out on the acting award.

Nominations: Best Actress (Zero Dark Thirty) and Best Supporting Actress (The Help)
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Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise came so close to winning Best Actor. He won Golden Globes for Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire, and Magnolia, but when the night of the Oscars arrived, he didn't win.

Nominations: Best Actor (Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire) and Best Supporting Actor (Magnolia)
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