09/02/2020 08:24 GMT | Updated 25/04/2021 08:07 BST

Oscars 2021: 27 Surprising Stars Who've Still Never Won An Academy Award

We're just going to say it: Glenn Close's Oscars victory is *long* overdue.

Over the years, we’ve watched many of our favourite film stars, directors, writers and musicians make their way onto the most prestigious stage in Hollywood to accept Academy Awards.

Last year’s Oscars gave us first-time victories for Laura Dern, Joaquin Phoenix, director Bong Joon-ho and Brad Pitt (although he did previously win one as a producer), but sadly, not everyone can win, meaning there are still many deserving stars who’ve missed out, time and time again.

Here are 27 of the living Hollywood stars who, surprisingly, still have an Oscar-shaped space on their mantelpiece (including one of this year’s main contenders)…

Amy Adams

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Considered by many to be “the new Leonardo DiCaprio” when it comes to the Oscars, Amy Adams has been nominated for six Academy Awards, most recently in 2019, only to leave empty-handed every year.

The good news for Amy is that Leo got his win on his sixth nomination, so if she really is following in his footsteps, she shouldn’t have to wait too much longer. Roll on The Girl In The Window, we say! 

Glenn Close

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Glenn Close holds the dubious distinction of being the living actor who has the most Oscar nominations without a win.

As of 2021, the esteemed performer has been nominated for an Academy Award a whopping eight times, yet Glenn has never won in her category.

This year, she’s in the running once again, in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance in the divisive Netflix offering Hillbilly Elegy – a role that also landed Glenn a Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.

If she goes home empty-handed again, 2022 might still be her year, following the release of the long-awaited film adaptation of the musical Sunset Boulevard.

Samuel L Jackson 

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Despite nearly 50 years (!) in the entertainment industry, Samuel L Jackson has landed just one Oscar nomination in his career. 

Back in 1994, he was on the Best Supporting Actor shortlist for playing Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. He lost out to Martin Landau on the night, and hasn’t been nominated again since.

Bill Murray

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At the Academy Awards in 2003, Bill Murray had been nominated for the Best Actor award for his part in Lost In Translation.

The story goes that he’d arrived at the ceremony so certain he’d be taking home the Oscar that when Sean Penn was announced as the winner, a stony-faced Bill Murray didn’t even applaud. Ouch.

He hasn’t been nominated for an Academy Award since, which we’re sure is just coincidence...

Scarlett Johansson

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Bill’s Lost In Translation co-star Scarlett Johansson is similarly yet to be awarded by the Motion Picture Academy, although she does have two Oscar nominations to her name.

In 2020, Scarlett was nominated in both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories for her roles in Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit, respectively, but was pipped to the win by Renée Zellweger and Laura Dern.

Angela Bassett

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As if the fact Angela Bassett has never won an Oscar isn’t surprising enough – she’s actually only been nominated once before.

Angela’s sole nomination came in 1993, following her portrayal of Tina Turner in the biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It?.

Jake Gyllenhaal

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Jake Gyllenhaal is another A-list actor we’re surprised to hear has been given only a small amount of love by the Oscar.

It’s been over 15 years since Jake last bagged an Academy Award nomination, earning his first and only nod for his supporting role in Brokeback Mountain.

David Oyelowo

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The Oscars’ lack of recognition for David Oyelowo’s performance as Martin Luther King Jr Selma is one of the biggest snubs in recent history, sparking a major backlash at the time.

Despite a number of critically-acclaimed performances to his name, the British star is yet to be nominated for an Academy Award. Seriously, Oscars. Sort. It. Out.

Toni Collette

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Off the top of our head, we can probably come up with six or seven Toni Collette performances that would have been deserving an Oscar win – and yet, the Australian star has just one nomination under her belt (for The Sixth Sense, if you’re wondering).

As one of the most versatile actors in the game, we’re confident that Toni’s time is coming... but when it does, it will be long overdue.

Sir Ian McKellen

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He might have Oliviers coming out of his ears (seven in total), but Sir Ian McKellen is yet to be awarded the biggest honour in the film industry.

Sir Ian does have two Oscar nominations, but neither of them translated to a win. He hasn’t fared any better on his home soil, either, with neither of four Bafta nominations resulting in him taking home an award.


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Roles in acclaimed films like Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records led many fans to think that Beyoncé was setting her sights on Oscars glory.

Sadly, neither ended in so much as a nomination, but when she signed up to voice Nala in The Lion King (contributing a new song to the beloved soundtrack), it was thought she might get her win in the form of a Best Original Song victory. Sadly, this didn’t end up landing her a nomination, either.

We reckon she probably doesn’t need to lose sleep about that, though, as 2021 saw her becoming the most-awarded singer of all time at the Grammys.

Dolly Parton

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Like many musicians before her, Dolly Parton has made the transition into acting with roles in films like The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and, of course, 9 To 5.

While the Academy never recognised Dolly’s acting (the Golden Globes did, though!), she does have two Best Original Song nominations to her name.

In recent years, Dolly has continued contributing new music to films like Dumplin’ and the Netflix festive film Christmas On The Square, though, so a win could well be on the horizon if she keeps it up.

Sir Kenneth Branagh

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One of Britain’s most highly-regarded exports, Sir Kenneth Branagh has received five Academy Award nominations for his acting, writing and directing.

Sadly, the gold statuette has alluded the multi-talented star each time.

Daniel Kaluuya

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Such was the fanfare around Daniel Kaluuya’s performance in Get Out, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the British star actually won the Oscar that year.

The win actually went to Gary Oldman that year, but Daniel looks set to take home his first Academy Award in 2021, thanks to his critically-acclaimed appearance in Judas And The Black Messiah, which he has already won for at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Baftas. 

Michelle Williams

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Since 2006, Michelle Williams has earned Oscar nominations for her performances in Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week With Marilyn and Manchester By The Sea.

In 2019, she did win an Emmy on her first nomination for Fosse/Verdon, so we reckon it won’t be long until the Academy catches up.

Michelle Pfeiffer

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In a career spanning more than three decades, Michelle Pfeiffer has been nominated for an Oscar on three different occasions, but so far, the Academy Award has always eluded her.

Sadly, none of these nominations were for Grease 2, which we can only describe as a huge oversight.

Will Smith

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He’s come a long way from his Fresh Prince days, and we think it’s safe to say that a Will Smith Oscar win could well be a case of “when” rather than “if”, particularly as he chooses his roles particularly carefully these days.

Will has been nominated for two Oscars so far, first for playing Muhammad Ali and later for his role in The Pursuit Of Happyness.

Tom Cruise

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With all the constant furore surrounding Tom Cruise’s personal life, it’s often forgotten that he is a legitimate actor.

He has been nominated for three Oscars over the course of his career (although it has been more than two decades since his last nod), but he’s never come out on top in his category.

Christopher Nolan

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While many of his films have received Oscars over the years, 2018 marked Christopher Nolan’s first ever Best Director nomination, thanks to Dunkirk.

He lost out to Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape Of Water, marking the Mexican filmmaker’s first time receiving an Academy Award.

Sigourney Weaver

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Sigourney Weaver has racked up three nominations over the years but sadly, the win has eluded her.

At the 1989 ceremony, she was up for both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress prizes, but lost out to Jodie Foster and Geena Davis, respectively.

Michael Keaton

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“Is this the year Michael Keaton finally wins his Oscar?” Vanity Fair asked, hopefully, in 2016. Sadly, it was not and, in fact, he didn’t even score a nomination for the movie sparking the question, The Founder. 

His 2014 nomination, earned for his star turn in Birdman, remains Michael’s only Oscar-nominated role.

Annette Bening

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Annette Bening’s performances in The Kids Are Alright, Being Julia, American Beauty and The Grifters all made the Academy’s shortlist – but she was pipped to the post each time.

She’s still winning praise for recent films like 20th Century Women, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool and The Report, though, so a future Oscar win is definitely not out of the question.

Helena Bonham Carter

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The British star is known for her quirky and offbeat roles, but despite Helena Bonham Carter’s bold choices when it comes to acting, the Academy is yet to reward her efforts.

She does have two nominations, though, for The Wings Of The Dove and The King’s Speech.

Hugh Jackman

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In recent years, Hugh Jackman has been at the centre of Oscar buzz for films like The Front Runner, Bad Education and even The Greatest Showman, although none of them led to an actual nomination.

The Australian star did receive a nod back in 2013, though, following his leading performance in Les Misérables.

Taraji P Henson

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Are we ever going to get over the total snub that happened in 2017, when Taraji P Henson was missing from the Best Actress category?

Probably not, no.

The Hidden Figures star does one have Oscar nomination under her belt, thanks to her role in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

Dame Angela Lansbury

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Now into her ninth decade in the entertainment industry, it’s frankly almost criminal that Dame Angela Lansbury has never won a competitive Oscar.

The Academy did bestow her with an honorary Oscar in 2013 for her hard work in the film industry, having previously won nominations for Gaslight, The Picture Of Dorian Gray and The Manchurian Candidate. 

Diane Warren

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For those not familiar with Diane Warren, she’s the songwriter behind hit movie soundtrack tunes like Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, There You’ll Be and I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.

Remarkably, she’s now been nominated for an Oscar 12 times without a win, but true to form, she’s in the running in 2021, so this could well be her year.

John Travolta

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HuffPost favourite John Travolta has become something of an Oscars staple in recent years, thanks to iconic moments like his “Adele Dazeem” gaffe, his after-party dance-off with Lady Gaga and his awkward pose with Scarlett Johansson.

John does have two Oscar nominations, one for Saturday Night Fever and a second for Pulp Fiction, although neither ended up in a win for him.

But while he may not have any trophies to show for it, we’d argue no one has won at the Oscars more times than Mr Travolta...

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