Great A-List Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar – Part 2

Posted on 11 Sep 00:00

 There is a lot we can talk about in the field of entertainment. Swimming, skating, playing ball games, reading novels, and watching movies, all fantastic sources of enjoyment we have. Watching a classic film whose plot is well executed is a delightful experience, whether the film is a single episode or in series. We can enjoy the movies courtesy of the great actors behind them. Some of the actors have won Oscars. Others have won awards, but not an Oscar. However, they are top A-List actors. This article is about such actors, who, despite their incredible performances, have never won an Oscar.

1.  Robert Downey Jr.:  Notable Film – Chaplin (1982)

Robert Downey Jr.  has never won an Oscar. He has acted in many movies, but is notably remembered for his part in the 1982 biographical comedy-drama 'Chaplin'. The movie features Charlie Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr.) and Geraldine Chaplin ( Chaplin’s real life daughter), in the role of his mother, Hannah Chaplin. The film starts with a flashback in which Chaplin reflects on his life. Hannah Chaplin develops psychosis, and Chaplin has to enter London music to escape the poverty that follows. Fred Kano, a show producer, sends Chaplin to America, where Mark Sennett (Dan Aykroyd) gives him a job to direct movies. In 1921, he returns to England to find Hetty (his first love) but is sadly informed of her death from an influenza epidemic. Chaplin marries several women but spends the rest of his life with Oona O'Neill. In 1952, he and Oona travel to the USA, only to find out that his permit to re-enter the USA has been revoked. 1972 proves different as the audience in America gives him the most prolonged Oscar ovation.

Director:  Richard Attenborough directed and produced the movie.

Main cast: Robert Downey Jr. (Chaplin), Dan Aykroyd (Mack Sennett), Marisa Tomei (Amabel  Normand) , Penelope Ann Miller, and Kevin Kline (Douglas Fairbanks).

Awards and nominations: Chaplin received many nominations from BAFTA, Golden Globes, Moscow International Film Festival, and Academy Awards. The nominations include Best Score, Best Original Score, Best Direction, and Best Costume Design. Downey won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor.

Besides the BAFTA Award, Downey Jr. has received some other nominations as shown below;

1993: Nominated for Best Actor, Chaplin
2009: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Tropic Thunder

2.  Michelle Williams:  Notable Film – Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Michelle is one of the greatest A-list actresses who is notable for her part in the 2005 romantic drama 'Brokeback Mountain'. The movie's plot depicts the sophisticated emotional and sexual relationship between two  male cowboys named Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the American West for twenty years from 1963 to 1983. It all starts as a one-time incident when Joe Aguirre hires the two to herd his sheep in the Brokeback Mountains through the summer. The relationship leads to Ennis and Alma’s (Michelle Williams) divorce, and Jack dies of a supposed car tire burst accident.

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).

Awards and nominations:  the movie acclaimed awards and nominations in various categories, including awards 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. Michelle Williams was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress award in 2006.

Here are the nominations received by Michelle;

2006: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Brokeback Mountain
2011: Nominated for Best Actress, Blue Valentine
2012: Nominated for Best Actress, My Week with Marilyn
2017: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Manchester by the Sea

3.  Tom Cruise: Notable Film – Top Gun (1986)

Some of the classic movies of all time are those in which starred Tom Cruise. Tom has performed in many films, but a movie buff will likely associate him with the 1986 American action drama film 'Top Gun'. In the movie, Lieutenant Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Tom Cruise), is a young naval aviator who is aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. The movie depicts how he and his Radar Intercept Officer, LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) train at the US Navy's Fighter Weapons School at Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California.

Director: Tony Scott was the director for the film whose producers were Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay from which the movie was developed was written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr.

Main cast: Tom Cruise (Lieutenant Pete), Anthony Edwards (Goose Bradshaw), Kelly McGillis (Charlie Blackwood), Tom Skerritt (CDR Mike Viper), and Val Kilmer (Iceman Kazansky) to develop the theme.

Awards and nominations: the film was nominated for many awards, including Academy Awards for Best Sound and Best Editing and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. It also won many other awards such as an Academy Award for Best Original Song, Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song- Motion Picture and BRIT Award for Best Soundtrack.

In Top Gun, Tom Cruise was not nominated for an award. However, he later received the following nominations;

1990: Nominated for Best Actor, Born on the Fourth of July
1997: Nominated for Best Actor, Jerry Maguire
2000: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Magnolia

4.  Sigourney Weaver:  Notable Film – Alien (1979)

Sigourney Weaver is another A-List actress mainly remembered for her part in the 1979 science fiction horror film 'Alien'. The storyline revolves around a crew of the commercial space tug called Nostromo. The space tug encounters the Alien, an aggressive and deadly extraterrestrial which is set loose on the ship. The team has seven members and is landing on earth from stasis (a state of inactivity). Kane (John Hurt, the executive officer, goes unconscious when a creature attaches itself to his face but he later wakes up unharmed except for the slight memory loss. Unbeknownst to everyone, the small alien creature is using him as a host, and springs from inside of Kane's chest which kills him and kills another team member as well. The creature manages to kill all the crew members except Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who blasts the creature away into the depths of space.

Director: Ridley Scott directed the movie from a screenplay written by Dan O'Bannon.

Main cast: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright and John Hurt.

Awards and nominations: Alien was a tremendous success in the market upon release and acclaimed many accolades in the form of awards and nominations. The film received many nominations, including an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and other awards for Best Actress, Best Special Effects, and Best Make-up. It also won several awards like the Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film, Best Direction, and Best Supporting Actress.

In this movie, Sigourney was nominated for the Best Actress Award but did not win. Here is a list of her nominations;

1987: Nominated for Best Actress, Aliens
1989: Nominated for Best Actress, Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey
1989: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Working Girl

5.  Edward Norton:  Notable Film – American History X (1998)

Edward Norton is one of the great A-List actors adored by movie goers, although he never won an Oscar award. He is closely remembered because of his role in the 1998 American crime drama film 'American History X', which features Derek and Danny Vinyard as brothers native to Los Angeles. The two engage in the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements which eventually gets Derek sent to prison for three years for voluntary manslaughter. During the imprisonment, Danny is rehabilitated and transforms. When freed, he tries to stop Danny from further indoctrination, but soon Danny dies after an African-American student shoots over the previous days' incident.

Director: David McKenna developed the script that Tony Kaye used to direct the movie.

Main cast: Edward Norton (Derek Vinyard) and Edward Furlong (Danny Vinyard) are the starring actors who take up the leading roles and develop the storyline.

Awards and nominations: the film garnered many accolades in the form of nominations and awards. For instance, it was nominated by Academy Awards (Best Actor), Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (Best Actor), and Political Film Society Awards (Peace). Edward Norton won three Best Actor awards from Golden Satellite Awards, Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards, and Taormina International Film Festival.    

Besides the three awards mentioned above, Edward was nominated for other roles;

1997: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Primal Fear
1999: Nominated for Best Actor, American History X
2015: Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Birdman

6.  Woody Harrelson:  Notable Film – The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

Most movie goers will know Woody Harrelson is one of the best actors of all time. Harrelson is closely remembered for his role in the 1996 American biographical drama film ‘The People vs. Larry Flynt.’ The plot revolves around business mogul (Hustler) pornographer, Larry Flynt, how he rises and clashes with religious institutions and laws. Larry hails from an impoverished background in Kentucky but rises until he battles in court with Reverend Jerry Falwell. Althea drowns in the bathtub after having contracted AIDS and dies. Flynt is found guilty of inflicting emotional distress, but he convinces Isaacman into overturning the verdict. 

Director:  Miloš Forman directed. He used the screenplay developed by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski for the movie’s direction.

Main cast: Woody Harrelson (Larry Flynt), Courtney Love (Althea Leasure), and Edward Norton (Alan Isaacman).

Awards and nominations: It received Academy Awards for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Best Director. Edward Norton won the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role award. Courtney Love won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role award. These are just some of the many awards the film garnered. Woody Harrelson was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama award for this film. He received other nominations from other films:

2018:  Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
2010:  Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, The Messenger
1997:  Nominated for Best Actor, The People vs. Larry Flynt

7.  Harrison Ford:  Notable Film – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Another A-List actor is Harrison Ford. He is notably remembered for acting in the 1981 American action-adventure film ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’  The story revolves around Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and the events around him as he tries to recover the long-lost Ark of Covenant. Jones is a globe-trotting archaeologist, and he vies with the Nazi German forces in 1936 over the Ark. The Ark is supposed to have the ability to make an army invincible.  Jones works together with Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), his former lover, to block rival archaeologist Dr René Belloq (Paul Freeman) from guiding the Nazis to the Ark and its power at Tanis. Eventually,  Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) and Jones recover the Ark, but Belloq and the Nazis try to seize it from them. Belloq opens the Ark and its power kills him, Toht, and the Nazis. Jones and Brody (Denholm Elliott, the museum curator) are awarded by the US government for recovering the Ark.

Director:  Steven Spielberg used Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay based on George Lucas and Philip Kaufman’s story to direct the movie.

Main cast: Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones), Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood), Paul Freeman (René Belloq), Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies (Sallah), and Denholm Elliott (Marcus Brody).

Awards and nominations: Raiders of the Lost Ark was a tremendous success in the market, as revealed by the many awards and nominations garnered.  It received five awards: Best Film Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects. It also got four nominations: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Original Score.  In this film, Harrison Ford won the Best Actor award by the Golden Globes. He also received a nomination for:

1986: Nominated for Best Actor, Witness


One of the many reasons that films become classics is because of the excellent actors and actresses who take part in them.

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