Oscars 2022: the actors who have been nominated the most times without winning
When it comes to winning an Oscar, the key is usually a good story.
The young upstart burst onto the scene with a sparkling debut performance. The faded star is staging an unlikely comeback. The relentless actor of the method is completely transformed in the service of his profession.
While the decision of who wins often hinges on the arbitrary notion of “momentum” and who ran the most effusive campaign behind the scenes, many talented actors have often found themselves short – losing to a bigger narrative. romantic.
Sometimes actors have racked up a handful of Oscar nominations without ever winning once.
For every serial winner like Daniel Day-Lewis or Frances McDormand, there’s a Willem Dafoe or a Glenn Close: great actors who haven’t yet been honored by the Academy.
Here’s a list of every living actor who’s been nominated multiple times – but never won an award.
Close is tied with the late Peter O’Toole for the record for most actor Oscar nominations without a win, having garnered eight during his nearly five-decade long career. While his last nod, for the tasteless of 2021 Hillbilly Elegywas never likely to win her an award, she was actually the favorite in 2017, for her role in Wife. The bookmaker’s favorite lost to real Favorite, however, as Academy newcomer Olivia Colman stole his thunder. Don’t expect this drought to last forever; there is the belief among many in Hollywood that Close is now long overdue.
For some reason, Adams’ career has become synonymous with the idea of the equally run Oscar. After breaking through with independent comedy-drama Junebug in 2005 (which earned her the first of six unsuccessful acting nominations), she went on to deliver powerful performances in films such as Doubt, The fighter and The master, but never won an Oscar. His last nomination was in 2019, for Adam McKay’s turgid biopic about Dick Cheney Vice — but at 47, there’s still plenty of time for Adams to finally get his hands on a golden statuette (or more).
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Alexander winning an Oscar must have seemed inevitable. The Massachusetts-born actor has been nominated four times in just fourteen years – for roles in The Great White Hope (1970), All the President’s Men (1976), Kramer versus Kramer (1979) and Will (1983). Will was to be her last nomination, however, and while Alexander remains a prolific TV and stage presence (scoring a Tony Award nomination as recently as 2020), she’s only appeared in three films since 2009.
One of the best multi-talents of the New Hollywood era, Beatty amassed a host of Oscar nominations in various writing, acting, directing and producing categories, winning Best Director for Reds in 1981. His acting was never deemed worthy of best gong, however, despite four nominations – and what might be his best performance, in Robert Altman McCabe and Mrs. Miller, was never even nominated. Nonetheless, Beatty still etched his name in the Oscar history books, playing a pivotal role in the infamous Best Picture of 2017 announcement mistake.
One of the most notable actresses of her generation, Bening is someone many people would assume would have won an Oscar by now. This is not the case, however, despite his four nominations – with those in 1999 american beauty sweeping awards in several other major categories (including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Kevin Spacey), it feels like a snub. Even more blatant of a snub was the decision not to nominate her for 2016 20th century women; her turn as single mother Dorothea Fields was one of the best of the decade.
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After making his breakthrough in bawdy comedy The hangoverCooper has established himself as one of Hollywood’s hottest men in films like Silver Linings Playbook, american hustle, American sniper and A star is born, all four of which saw him earn acting nominations. Cooper was also recognized by the Academy for his work as a producer and director, but never won. While turn in alley of nightmares wasn’t well-received this awards season, the movie itself is at least up for Best Picture.
Another actor you might have thought would have already won an Oscar, Dafoe is known for his ability to wow arthouse audiences and Spider-Man fans alike. Of his four near-misses (Section; The shadow of the vampire; The Florida Project; At the door of eternity), it’s probably his role as a well-meaning motel manager in Sean Baker’s low-key movie. The Florida Project which stings the most; Dafoe was half supposed to win back then, only to lose to Sam Rockwell in Three billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri.
Actress and director Marsha Mason isn’t quite famous, but her string of projects from 1973 to 1982 earned her four impressive nominations: for Cinderella Freedom (1973), The goodbye girl (1977), chapter two (1979), and Only when I laugh (nineteen eighty one). Unfortunately, she didn’t win any, although she did win two Golden Globes for her efforts.
One of cinema’s biggest curmudgeons, Harris has had no shortage of accolades throughout his acclaimed career. An Oscar is a trophy that eludes him, however; despite nominations for Apollo 13, The Truman Show, Pollock and Hourshe always left the big night empty-handed.
Irish actor Ronan’s continued presence on the ballot has become almost a running joke among Oscar pundits. At 24, she had been nominated four times (for 2007 Atonement2015 brooklynand his two collaborations with director Greta Gerwig: 2017’s lady bird and 2019 Little woman). It’s not a stretch to assume that the 27-year-old will end up winning one of these days. And at the rate Ronan is going, she might even end up pushing Meryl Streep’s record for most nominations of all time.
Williams is perhaps best known to the general public thanks to her roles in landmark releases like Venom Where The greatest showmanbut it’s in smaller and heavier movies (like Some women Where Manchester by the sea) that she really shines. Her Oscar-nominated tricks in 2011 blue valentine and 2018 Manchester by the sea both would have been particularly deserving winners; but his other appointments, for Brokeback Mountain in 2006 and for her turn of Marilyn Monroe in My week with Marilyn (2012), also deserved recognition for his craft.
While the later years of Cruise’s career were defined by high-octane blockbusters, he was once capable of nuanced performances. Her Oscar-nominated turn as a misogynistic pickup artist in Paul Thomas Anderson Magnolia might be Cruise’s best work yet, and sits alongside Born July 4 and Jerry Maguire as one of three nominations in total.
Damon is another of Hollywood’s biggest names to never win an Oscar – despite coming close three times. In 1998 he lost after being nominated for Goodwill hunting (although it picked up a win in the Best Original Screenplay category). Subsequent appointments for Invictus and The Martian followed in 2010 and 2016, to no avail. Her starring role in last year’s superb medieval epic The last duel could have been an interesting candidate – but the film was entirely snubbed from the nominations list.
…and the rest
There are 13 other living actors who have been nominated three times without winning: Joan Allen, Johnny Depp, Woody Harrelson, Diane Ladd, Angela Lansbury, Piper Laurie, Laura Linney, Viggo Mortensen, Nick Nolte, Edward Norton, Michelle Pfieffer, Mark Ruffalo, Sigourney Weaver and Debra Winger.
Will Smith and Jessica Chastain also received three nominations, although both face the possibility of winning with their third. Smith is the current best actor front-runner for his role in the tennis biopic King Richardwhile Chastain is a strong contender for Best Actress for her role in Tammy Faye’s eyes.