Great A-List Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar – Part 1

Posted on 4 Sep 00:00


 Movies have become a significant part of human entertainment. There are as many genres of films as there are for music. The genres include, but are not limited to horror, romance, science, fictional, drama, drama-comedy, biographical, psychological thriller, and the list is endless. The films we have are either single or in franchises. Single movies develop a plot in one movie through a single episode, while franchises develop a story through a series of films with the same fictional universe. Whether single or series, films are only films because of the cast consisting of great actors and actresses. While the actors might be dexterous at acting, not all of them will win special awards like the Oscar. This article discusses A-List actors who have never won an Oscar.

1)  Sam Elliott:   Notable Film – ‘The Lifeguard’ (1976)

Sam Elliot has acted in many films, but is mostly identified with the movie, 'The Lifeguard'. The film is about 32 year-old Rick Carlson (Sam Elliott). Rick is a lifeguard on a Southern California beach. He is invited to his former high school he left fifteen years ago. The invitation causes him to question his life goals. When he accepts the invite and goes for the reunion, he meets his high school sweetheart, Cathy, currently a divorced mother with one son. Cathy and Rick re-ignite their past relationship. Cathy encourages Rick to sign up for a Porsche salesman job, which another classmate offers him. There is Wendy, a lonely teenage girl who has developed feelings for Rick, he must also handle this delicate situation.

Director: Daniel Petrie directed the film from Ron Koslow’s script.

Main cast: the film stars Sam Elliot (Rick), Anne Archer (Cathy), and Stephen Young (Larry). The supporting cast include Parker Stevenson (Chris), Kathleen Quinlan (Wendy), Steve Burns (Machine Gun (Harold)), and Sharon Weber (Tina)

Awards and nominations: None. For this film, Sam Elliot is not nominated for any role, although he is the main star. In the 2018' A Star Is Born' movie, he is nominated as the Best Supporting Actor by the National Review Board. He won the award.

2)  Annette Bening:   Notable Film – ‘Being Julia’ (2004)

Annette Bening is most associated with the movie 'Being Julia' as  Julia Lambert. The movie is about Julia, a highly successful and trendy actress. She wants to travel abroad and asks Michael, her stage director (her husband) and her financial backer, Dolly, to let her close her ongoing production. The two convince her to remain throughout the summer, and she confers to this. Michael introduces her to Tom Fennel, an American entrepreneur. Julia enters a romantic relationship with Tom to experience the passion missing in her marriage. Tom flirts with an upcoming actress Avice which ends his relationship with Julia.  Michael seduces Avice, which enrages Julia and she plans revenge.  At the night performance, she appears to be endorsing Avice, only for everyone else to realize she was simply reaffirming her role as the London's theatre foremost diva by critizing Avice's performance.

Director: István Szabó.

Main cast: the film stars Annette Bening (Julia), Jeremy Irons (Michael), and Shaun Evans (Tom Fennel).

Awards and nominations: Bening won the Global Golden Award for Best Actress, National Board of Review Best Actress Award, and Satellite Award for Best Actress.

Anette Bening has received many nominations by several organizations for her various roles in the movies;

1991: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, The Grifters
2000: Nominated for Best Actress, American Beauty
2005: Nominated for Best Actress, Being Julia
2011: Nominated for Best Actress, The Kids Are All Right

3.  Will Smith:  Notable Film – ‘Ali’ (2001)

Will Smith is another great A-list actor of classic movies who has never received an Oscar. He is strongly identfied for the 2001 'Al'i film. The biographical sports-drama focuses on ten years in the boxer Muhammad Ali's life (1964 to 1974). It features how Ali captures the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, Ali’s conversion to Islam, his criticism of the Vietnam War, and banishment from boxing. The movie also features his return to boxing tofight Joe Frazier in 1971, and, finally, how he reclaims the title from George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle fight of 1974. The film indirectly touches on the tremendous social and political upheaval in the United States following Malcolm X's and Martin Luther King Jr's assassinations.

Director: Michael Mann is the co-writer, director, and producer of Ali movie.

Main cast:  Will Smith (Cassius Clay Jr. / Cassius X / Muhammad Ali), Jamie Foxx (Drew Bundini Brown), and Jon Voight (Howard Cosellare) among the prominent cast members.

Awards and nominations:  Black Reels Awards: Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Song from a Film, and Best Original Soundtrack.

Besides the 'Ali' movie awards and nominations, Will Smith was also nominated for other roles shown below;

2002: Nominated for Best Actor, Ali, Lost to Denzel Washington for Training Day
2007: Nominated for Best Actor, The Pursuit of Happiness

4)  Glenn Close:  Notable Film – ‘Fatal Attraction’ (1987)

Most movie buffs will remember the A-List actor Glenn Close. Glenn has acted in many films but is arguably, most recognized for 'Fatal Attraction' (1987). The psychological thriller movie is based on James Dearden’s 1980 'Diversion', a short film. The movie's plot is underpinned by a married man, Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) who has a weekend affair with a woman, Alex (Glenn Close) who refuses to end it and becomes obsessed with him. Alex visits Dan in his office, calls his office number, constantly phones his home, and  shows up at Dan's apartment feigning to be an interested buyer when she meets Dan's wife. The movie ends with Beth killing Alex when she comes to their house to attack Beth.

Director: James Dearden wrote the screenplay that Adrian Lyne used to direct the film.

Main cast: Michael Douglas (Daniel "Dan" Gallagher), Glenn Close (Alexandra "Alex" Forrest), and Anne Archer (Beth Rogerson Gallagher).

Awards and nominations: Fatal Attraction received many nominations, including the BAFTA's Award for Best Editing and ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films, which it won. Close was for Best Actress Award but lost it.

Glenn Close has been nominated for many awards. Here are other awards for which he was appointed;

1983: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, The World According to Garp
1984: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, The Big Chill
1985: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, The Natural
1988: Nominated for Best Actress, Fatal Attraction
1989: Nominated for Best Actress, Dangerous Liaisons
2012: Nominated for Best Actress, Albert Nobbs
2019: Nominated for Best Actress, The Wife

5)  Johnny Depp:  Notable Film – ‘Edward Scissorhands’ (1990)

Johnny Depp has appeared in many classic films, including the 1990 'Edward Scissorhands'. This American fantasy features Edward (Johnny Depp), who is an artificial humanoid. Edward is an unfinished creation who has scissor blades for hands. A suburban family takes him in, and he falls in love with their teenage daughter, Kim. Jim, Kim's boyfriend, is jealous of the attraction and fights Edward, who kills him. All this is told in a story by an old woman who reveals to her granddaughter that she is Kim viand she never wishes to visit Edward. However, she believes the immortal Edward is still alive, evidenced by the snow sculptures.

Director: Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson prepared the screenplay, which he later used to direct the movie. Together with Denise Di Novi, they produced the film.

Main cast: Johnny Depth (Edward Scissorhands, Winona Ryder (Kim Boggs). Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Vincent Price and Alan Arkin.

Awards and nominations:  Edward Scissorhands received a positive response from critics and was a financial success. It received several nominations from the Academy Awards, British Academy Film Awards, and the Saturn Awards. It won the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film and Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Besides the above nominations, Johnny Depp was also nominated for;

2004: Nominated for Best Actor, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

2005: Nominated for Best Actor, Finding Neverland
2008: Nominated for Best Actor, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet

6)  Jake Gyllenhaal:  Notable Film – ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (2005)

Jake Gyllenhaal is, arguably, a great A-List actor. He is notably remembered for his role in the 2005 romantic drama adapted from Annie Proulx's 1997 'Brokeback Mountain' short story. The storyline depicts the sophisticated and deep emotional and sexual relationship between two male cowboys, The married, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the American West for twenty years from 1963 to 1983.

Director: Ang Lee directed the film, which was produced by Diana Ossana and James Schamus.

Main cast: Heath Ledger (Ennis Del Mar), Jake Gyllenhaal (Jack Twist), Anne Hathaway (Lureen Newsome Twist), and Michelle Williams (Alma Beers Del Mar) play the leading roles in the movie.

Awards and nominations:  the movie garnered awards and nominations in many categories, including for its directing, screenplay, acting, original score, and cinematography. Some of the nominations are the Academy Award for Best Picture and Golden Globe Awards for Best Director, Best Song, and Best Screenplay. It won the Best Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Direction awards.

Jake Gyllenhaal was also nominated for:

2006:  Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Brokeback Mountain

7)  Amy Adams:  Notable Film – ‘Junebug’ (2005)

Amy Adams is a dexterous actor who movie goers will vet for in the A-List of actors. Amy is notably remembered for her role in the 2005 comedy-drama film 'Junebug'. The film features Ashley (Amy Adams), who is pregnant by Johnny (Ben McKenzie), and believes the baby will solve their strained marital relationship. George (Alessandro Antine Nivola), Johnny's brother, is married to Madeleine, an art dealer. Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) visits the Johnsten's (her in-laws), and develops a special relationship with the friendly Ashley. Madeleine attends Ashley's baby shower and gives her an antique silver spoon which stands out among other gifts. Ashley gives birth to a stillborn baby. George and Madeleine prepare to leave the next day. George is relieved to depart.

Director: Phil Morrison was the movie’s director.

Main cast:  Embeth Davidtz (Madeleine Johnsten), Amy Adams (Ashley Johnsten), and Ben McKenzie (Johnny Johnsten) take up the leading roles in the movie.

Awards and nominations: the film received many award nominations and managed to win quite a number. For instance, it was nominated by Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Amy), Amanda Awards for Best Film and Sundance Film Festival Award for Directing. Amy won Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards for Breakthrough Film Artist and Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Apart from the above awards, she was also nominated in the following years for the following:

2006: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Junebug
2009: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Doubt
2011: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, The Fighter
2013: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, The Master
2014: Nominated for Best Actress, American Hustle
2019: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Vice


The movie industry has many wonderful actors and actresses who make the films we watch pretty thrilling. However, many of those A-List actors have never received an Oscar award for their outstanding roles. This article considered seven such actors who, despite their talent, have never won an Oscar.         

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