Academy Award Nominees Who Have Never Won

Academy Award

Academy Award nominations are a dream come true for many actors, but what happens to those nominees who have never won, ever? Is it possible that there are actors good enough to be repeatedly nominated and yet not great enough to win that coveted statue?

The roll call of winners in any category has been routinely disparaged for the people it has omitted. For example, the category for Best Director has excluded names such as Charlie Chaplin, Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles and even Alfred Hitchcock. Although the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) may loudly proclaim that they are “a global organization representing the best of an international art form,” no movie that was presented entirely in a foreign language has ever won an Academy Award in the Best Film category. Animated and sci-fi films have also traditionally been given the cold shoulder for the Best Film category. If Gravity wins this year, it will be a landmark of sorts.

If the plight of the slighted categories is lamentable, the woes of people who have been repeatedly nominated for an Academy Award but who have never won must surely be greater. As the nomination lists are read out and the cameras scan the hopeful faces, there are stalwarts who have lived this moment many times, only to have it end right there. Here is a list that is sure to astound any fan of the movies. Sound mixer Kevin O’Connell was first nominated in 1983 for his contribution to Terms of Endearment and his latest Oscar outing was for Transformers in 2007 He has a total of 20 nominations and no win.

Acting legend Glenn Close has also never gotten close enough to an Academy Award to get her hands on it, despite six nominations. Tom Cruise has won three Golden Globe Awards and has been nominated for three Oscars but has no Academy Award win to date. The late Peter O’Toole gathered an impressive eight nominations but had to be satisfied with an honorary Oscar in 2003. Brad Pitt’s nomination run began way back in 1995 and is still going strong with 12 Years a Slave. Unless he changes his bleak win history this year, that will make it a total of five nominations with nothing to show for them. The late Deborah Kerr won an astonishing six Best Actress nominations in a career spanning just 11 years. She was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award in 1994 and passed away in 2007.

Among the list of unsuccessful hopefuls at the 2014 Academy Awards show is Leonardo DiCaprio who has been waiting for 20 long years. Despite having stood at the helm of some of the most successful movies of recent times, he is firmly in the list of Academy Award nominees who have never won. DiCaprio was first nominated in 1994 and is nominated this year for The Wolf of Wall Street. When the curtain opens on March 2, 2014, and Ellen DeGeneres takes center stage, there will be much clapping and crying and many a prayer will be sent in all directions. How many of the rich and famous will go home mouthing the platitude about nomination itself being an honor, remains to be seen.

By Grace Stephen


TIME Entertainment
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3 Responses to "Academy Award Nominees Who Have Never Won"

  1. Kerry Pitts   January 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Deborah wasn’t even nominated for three of her finest performances : as the troubled Sister Clodagh in Powell&Pressburger’s masterpiece ‘Black Narcissus’; the peripatetic spinster artist in ‘The Night of the Iguana’ and the repressed governess in ‘The Innocents’ (one of the greatest cinema performances of all-time, in my opinion). Ironically, for the latter, US columnist Joe Hyams fully expected her to be hominated, and on the eve of the Oscar nominations, his column stated that Deborah had won her seventh nomination. She wasn’t -and said ‘If I can’t win one without begging, than I do not want one at all.’ In 1964, the Aussie movie magazine (New)Screen News held (to date) the only national Oscar poll, and Aussie moviegoers voted Deborah Best Actress for ‘The night of the Iguana’. It’s shameful that she never won a competitive Oscar -‘always the bridesmaid’ she’d say laughingly – but her Honorary Oscar was incredibly moving, and -in her ‘farewell’ public appearance – she was given two standing ovations.

  2. M.E. Morales   January 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Deborah Kerr’s career lasted far longer than 11 years!!! She was active from about 1940 to 1986. Did you mean she received 6 nominations in 11 years (1949-1960)? That would be accurate.

  3. maryjurmain   January 26, 2014 at 6:55 am

    It is and always has been an extremely political event, with stellar performances overlooked and mediocre ones rewarded. All one has to do is look at the lists of nominees and winners over the years to see that “we wuz robbed!” is a recurring theme. How else to explain “Shakespeare in Love” beating out “Saving Private Ryan” and “How Green Is My Valley” winning over “Citizen Kane”? If I were a nominee who kept losing, I’d comfort myself with the fact that there is only a tenuous relationship between giving the best performance and winning the Oscar.

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