These 13 Actors Never Won an Oscar and There’s Only One Possible Reason Why

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While the Oscar statue itself can be sold for only $1, winning the Academy Award is believed to be the most prestigious trophy. The absolute record holder is Katharine Hepburn who won 4 times, but some of the actors performed unprecedentedly well and still didn’t get their accolade.

1. Jake Gyllenhaal

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With 30 different awards shining on his shelves, Jake was once nominated for an Oscar in 2006, but never won one. Year after year, he gives us great performances that don’t even get nominated for an Oscar. Let’s hope that Jake himself knows how much he’s loved and isn’t bothered by the lack of this accolade.

He has given standout performances in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. For us, it’s a mystery how during his career, which is packed with brilliant titles and performances, he never got nominated for an Oscar. But it doesn’t stop us from having a great time while watching Jim’s movies.

3. Ryan Gosling


Ryan stole the hearts of millions, but his spell didn’t work on Oscar voters. He was nominated twice. He was once close to being part of the winning team, when La La Land was announced as a winner of the best picture in 2017. But it wasn’t on the cards, while they were accepting the award and giving the speech it was said that there was a mistake, and the winner isn’t La La Land but Moonlight.

4. Edward Norton


The Fight Club and Birdman actor was first nominated 25 years ago. With 3 nominations since then, Norton still didn’t have a chance to get the Academy Award.

5. Michelle Pfeiffer

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Michelle Pfeiffer has portrayed tons of amazing characters, proving that she’s one of the best actresses. Nominated 3 times, she never managed to nab the award.

6. Michael Keaton

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He was nominated only once, but left the ceremony empty-handed. As Keaton recalled, one of the voters said that “It was maybe the best performance I’ve ever seen in a movie.” That year, he lost the award to Redmayne who played Stephen Hawking in a battle with his illness.

7. Steve Buscemi

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Steve was never even nominated, but his wins of a Golden Globe and Emmys already prove that he is one of the greatest of all time.

8. Sir Ian McKellen

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The Academy has never awarded an openly gay man, and Sir Ian isn’t sure whether it’s prejudice or coincidence. Things seem to be changing, as in 2022 the first representative of the LGBT+ community, Ariana DeBose, won the Award for the best-supporting actress. We hope to see Sir Ian among the nominees anytime soon.

9. Laura Linney

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She’s capturing our hearts since the early ’90’s and has collected many prestigious awards since then. She has three nominations, but never managed to bring the golden statue home.

10. Ralph Fiennes


Ralph has roles that will leave everyone with wet eyes, and hearts full of emotions. He’s recognized as one of the best actors by many awards, but an Oscar isn’t one of them. Who knows, maybe one of his future roles will bring him the golden statue.

11. John Malkovich

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He appeared in over 70 movies and won 31 awards out of 44 nominations. And it seems like John has no time to think about why he never got an Oscar, he’s too busy acting, directing, and managing his fashion company.

While we’re completely head over heels with Keanu’s personality and acting, he was never nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe, or Emmy. But who needs all these awards when the “internet’s boyfriend” has all the love and support of his fans that a person can dream of.

13. Bruce Willis

Almost 40 years of Bruce Willis career, he has played more than 130 movies. But he has never nominated for Oscar, let alone winning one.

Since it was announced that his career is over, he won’t have a chance to. But we all know Bruce has some very impressive roles under his belt, and no award will show how much movie viewers love him.

A theory that explains why they never got an Oscar.

There’s a theory according to which cool guys don’t win Oscars. To understand it better, let’s have a look at the example of Leonardo DiCaprio, who didn’t win an Oscar for more than 20 years. After 5 unsuccessful nominations, he rebranded himself. He stopped being an aloof guy who can be watched rather than seen through and got a role of a bettered scout, who invites us on a journey with him.

This theory is called Pitt-Hanks Continuum, and according to it a cool guy is a person who won’t let you in, he won’t let you feel the world the way he does, won’t share his position. This type of actor can be extremely talented and popular, but he will have a very low chance of winning this award.


The opposite of “cool guys” is an example of Meryl Streep, who mastered the ability to show what it would be like to live as the character she is playing. While watching her movies, we can understand the hero well and can imagine ourselves in the same position. According to the theory, that’s the reason why Meryl highly succeeded at the Oscars, she was nominated 21 times and won three times.


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