17 Exceptional Actors Who Haven’t Won an Oscar…Yet

Unanimously regarded as the most prestigious award in Hollywood, every actor aspires to win an Oscar at least once in their career. However, some actors have surprisingly been eluded by this honor despite being very talented and successful. Here are 19 great actors who never won an Oscar:

Edward Norton

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Edward Norton is known for his chameleon-like ability to disappear into whatever character he plays. He’s been in almost everything, from blockbusters to gritty dramas, and has received three Oscar nominations over the course of his career. Unfortunately, none of his nominations yielded a win.

Jim Carrey

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Photo Credit: Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock.

Jim Carrey is widely beloved, having entertained for decades with zany comedies like Ace Ventura (1994) and Dumb and Dumber (1994). He was also able to show his dramatic talent in films like The Truman Show (1998). While he has been nominated for a Golden Globe twice, Carrey has never gotten an Academy Award nod.

Michelle Williams

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Known for her fearless and authentic performances, Michelle Williams gained recognition for Dawson’s Creek (1998) and Brokeback Mountain (2005). She has been nominated four times for an Academy Award without winning any.

Woody Harrelson

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Woody Harrelson broke out with his performance in Cheers (1982) and has gone on to appear in several other movies. Harrelson is yet to win an Oscar despite having been nominated twice. However, he won a Golden Globe for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).

Michael Fassbender

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Michael Fassbender is another respected Hollywood star who hasn’t managed to clinch an Academy Award. After his rise to fame with the movie Hunger (2008), Michael Fassbender has gotten involved in a wide range of genres, picking up two Oscar nods in the process.

Matt Damon

Matt Damon (Avatar
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Matt Damon has become a household name thanks to roles in blockbusters like The Bourne Identity (2002) and Good Will Hunting (1997). While the latter technically won him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, the actor is yet to win an Academy Award in an acting category.

Hugh Jackman

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Hugh Jackman began his career in the theater before gaining acclaim for his role as Wolverine in X-Men (2000). He went ahead to set the record for the longest career as a live-action Marvel character. Although an Emmy, Tony, and Grammy winner, Jackman has never won an Oscar.

Amy Adams

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Amy Adams has consistently delivered strong and confident performances since her breakthrough role in Junebug (2005). And while one might argue that she deserved to have won an Oscar by now, Adams still awaits the iconic gold despite having been nominated six times.

Laurence Fishburne

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Known for his roles as Morpheus in The Matrix (1999) or as the Bowery King in the John Wick (2014) series, Laurence Fishburne is another familiar Hollywood face who hasn’t clinched an Oscar. He received a nomination back in 1994 for his role in What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993) but ended up losing to Tom Hanks.

Marilyn Monroe

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One of the most iconic actresses of her time, Marilyn Monroe was stunning in front of the camera. While she was typically cast to play ditzy characters, Monroe was, no doubt, a talented actress. She notably won a Golden Globe for playing Sugar in Some Like It Hot (1959) but never got an Oscar nomination.

Liam Neeson

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Lian Neeson’s career has been successful. He’s won two Tony awards, three Golden Globes, and a British Academy Film Award. The actor is, however, yet to win an Academy Award, although his widely popular role as Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List (1993) did earn him a nomination for Best Actor.

Sir Ian McKellen

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Photo Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock.

Sir Ian McKellen’s career has lasted more than 60 years. In that period, the veteran actor has appeared in a wide range of genres, from sci-fi to fantasy. He received popular acclaim for his performance as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings (2001) trilogy. The role also got him his second Oscar nomination. However, like the first, it did not result in a victory for McKellen.

Willem Dafoe

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Willem Dafoe is a versatile actor whose career has spanned four decades. He excels in intense dramas and dark comedies. He has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of complex characters, especially in Platoon (1986) and The Florida Project (2017). Although widely regarded as one of the most gifted actors of his generation, Dafoe has yet to win an Academy Award.

Bruce Willis

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While Bruce Willis, with 130+ movies in a 40-year career, has yet to win an Oscar, he has never received a nomination. Sadly, this might never change as the actor’s family announced his retirement from acting in 2022.

Samuel L. Jackson

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Undeniably one of the most talented actors of his generation, Samuel L. Jackson has delivered several iconic performances. Some great examples are his roles in Django Unchained (2012) and Pulp Fiction (1994). He received his only Oscar nomination for the latter but lost to Martin Landau.

Stanley Tucci

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Stanley Tucci is a master of transformation and has excelled both in films and TV. From Big Night (1996) to The Hunger Games (2012), he showcases creativity. Tucci’s illustrious acting career has seen him pick up only one Oscar nomination. The actor, however, still awaits his first win.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp
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From his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) to his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Johnny Depp’s acting range is truly impressive. Depp is famously yet to receive an Oscar despite having been nominated for the Best Actor category three times.