Actors You Thought Had Won An Oscar But Haven't

Winning an Oscar often depends on constructing a captivating narrative, be it a breakthrough debut, a comeback story, or a transformative performance. Despite their evident talent, actors like Willem Dafoe, Matt Damon, and Glenn Close have amassed multiple nominations without securing the coveted award. Here's a glimpse at renowned actors who, surprisingly, haven't won an Oscar.
Actors You Thought Had Won An Oscar But Haven't

Actors You Thought Had Won An Oscar But Haven't

Securing an Oscar win often hinges on crafting a compelling narrative. Whether it's the promising newcomer making a dazzling debut, the former star staging an improbable return, or the dedicated Method actor undergoing dramatic transformations, narratives play a crucial role.
Despite obvious talent, some actors, like Willem Dafoe, Matt Damon and Glenn Close, have over the years, accumulated numerous nominations without clinching the coveted award a single time. Here's looking at legendary actors who you might have thought were Oscar winners, but are actually not!

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Though known for high-octane blockbusters, Tom Cruise has delivered nuanced performances throughout his career. His Oscar-nominated portrayal of a misogynistic pickup artist in Magnolia (1999) stands out as exemplary work, alongside nominations for Born on the Fourth of July and Jerry Maguire.

Glenn Close

Glenn Close shares the record with the late Peter O'Toole for the most Oscar acting nominations without a win, accumulating eight over her nearly five-decade career. While her recent nomination for the lackluster "Hillbilly Elegy" wasn't expected to secure a win, she was a frontrunner in 2017 for "The Wife." However, newcomer Olivia Colman clinched the award, leaving Close without the prize. Despite the drought, many in Hollywood believe Close's overdue recognition is imminent.

Amy Adams

Amy Adams has six Oscar nominations under her belt but no win. The actress has delivered powerhouse performances in films such as Doubt, The Fighter and The Master, but has never won an Oscar. Her last nomination was back in 2019, for Adam McKay’s turgid Dick Cheney biopic Vice

Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander
Jane Alexander
During the 1970s and early 1980s, it seemed inevitable that Jane Alexander would secure an Oscar. Hailing from Massachusetts, she received four nominations in just fourteen years for her performances in The Great White Hope (1970), All the President's Men (1976), Kramer vs Kramer (1979), and Testament (1983). Despite her continued success on television and stage, including a Tony Award nomination in 2020, Alexander has only appeared in three films since 2009.

Matt Damon

Despite his immense talent and fame, Matt Damon has yet to claim an Oscar win. Nominated three times, his role in Good Will Hunting (1998) earned him a win for Best Original Screenplay. Subsequent nominations for Invictus (2010) and The Martian (2016) left him empty-handed. While his performance in The Last Duel (2021) showcased his skill, the film was surprisingly overlooked in the nominations.

Warren Beatty

Warren Beatty, a prominent figure in the New Hollywood era, garnered numerous Oscar nominations across writing, acting, directing, and producing categories. He clinched the Best Director award for Reds in 1981 but never received the top acting honour despite four nominations. Notably, his exceptional performance in Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller went unrecognised by the Academy. Despite this, Beatty left his mark on Oscar history, notably involved in the infamous Best Picture announcement mishap of 2017.

Annette Bening

Despite being nominated five times, Annette Bening has never won the coveted Oscar. In fact, her 1999 film American Beauty won several Oscars but did not manage to bring the statuette home for her. What is worse is that her role as a single mother Dorothea Fields in 2016's 20th Century Women did not earn her a nomination.

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper
Following his debut with the comedy The Hangover, Cooper has since then, established himself as one of the most bankable Hollywood stars in films Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, American Sniper and A Star is Born. What is interesting is the actor received nominations for all four films, but never won the award. His fifth acting nomination came for his self-directed 2023 biopic Maestro, in which he played famed composer Leonard Bernstein.

Wilem Dafoe

Dafoe captivates both arthouse enthusiasts and Spider-Man aficionados with his versatile performances. Among his four close calls at the Oscars (for Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire, The Florida Project, and At Eternity’s Gate), his portrayal of a compassionate motel manager in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project stands out. Despite high expectations, he lost to Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, leaving a sting of disappointment.

Marsha Mason

Actor and director Marsha Mason may not be a household name, but her string of projects from 1973 to 1982 earned her an impressive four Oscar nominations. Recognised for her roles in Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Goodbye Girl (1977), Chapter Two (1979), and Only When I Laugh (1981), Mason unfortunately did not secure a win at the Oscars, despite receiving two Golden Globes.

Ed Harris

Renowned for portraying cinema's iconic curmudgeons, Ed Harris boasts an illustrious career adorned with numerous awards. However, the coveted Oscar remains elusive for him. Despite nominations for Apollo 13, The Truman Show, Pollock, and The Hours, Harris has consistently left the Academy Awards ceremony without the prestigious trophy, marking a notable absence in his collection.

Saoirse Ronan

By the age of 24, Saoirse was nominated for the Oscars four times for 2007’s Atonement, 2015’s Brooklyn, and her two collaborations with director Greta Gerwig: 2017’s Lady Bird and 2019’s Little Women. However, she is yet to win it.

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams, recognised for her diverse roles in both mainstream and indie films, shines brightest in smaller, weightier productions like Certain Women and Manchester By the Sea. Her Oscar-nominated performances in Blue Valentine (2011) and Manchester By the Sea (2018) showcased her remarkable talent, while nominations for Brokeback Mountain (2006) and My Week with Marilyn (2012) further validated her craft.
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