2016’s biggest Oscar buzz seems to be centered on Leonardo DiCaprio, who has famously never won an Oscar though he’s been nominated four times and seems to be the frontrunner for this year’s Best Actor award at long last. Leo’s not the only big name to have fallen short of winning an Academy Award over the long span of an impressive career. Here are 10 other talented actors who have yet to snag a statuette.
Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith are famously boycotting the Oscars this year due to the lack of diversity in the show's nominees, but he does not cite race as a reason for his lack of wins. "I've been nominated twice for Academy Awards and I've never lost to a white person," he told Good Morning America. "The first time I lost to Denzel [Washington], and the second time I lost to Forest Whitaker." Smith, who is the only actor in history to have eight consecutive movies make over $100 million in the US and the only actor ever to have eight consecutive movies open at #1, has been nominated for his roles in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness but was overlooked for this year's performance in Concussion. Given that Smith's upcoming roster includes Bad Boys 3 and 4, we're not sure a win is in the cards for him anytime soon.
Though she's won the red carpet on more than one occasion, Williams has yet to take home an Oscars statuette despite a string of incredibly daring performances. "Every movie I make I find kind of excruciating," she once told Indiewire. "I get a lot back from it, but I feel like I'm kind of always working at the edge of my ability. I guess that's what I'm looking for when I go to work. I am trying to become the edge." She's been nominated for some of her strongest performances—My Week with Marilyn, Brokeback Mountain and Blue Valentine—and we have a feeling she'll earn her due eventually.
Tom Cruise has been nominated in the past for his roles in Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia but has never taken home a statuette. Though several of his other performances have been notable as well, he's often been overlooked by the Academy entirely in favor of his more flamboyant costars. His best chances may be behind him, however, as his work of late tends to be franchise-based or is, as Grantland writer Mark Harris put it, "...a roster of sequels to Mission: Impossible, Top Gun and Jack Reacher that collectively feel like an aging rocker's greatest-hits nostalgia tour."
If actors are meant to entertain us, then it's almost criminal that Johnny Depp has never been awarded an Oscar for his efforts. The bulk of his performances are absolutely iconic, including that of the title character in Edward Scissorhands, the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and even all the way back to his role as Cry-Baby in Cry-Baby. His performance this year as Whitey Bulgar in Black Mass was completely overlooked by the Academy, but somehow we doubt Depp really cares. As he once told Playboy: "Awards are not as important to me as when I meet a 10-year-old kid who says, 'I love Captain Jack Sparrow.'"
Adams has been nominated an astounding five times in the last 10 years. She's received nods for her performances in Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master and American Hustle. Clearly, she's modeling her career for longevity, as she's cited Judy Dench and Jodie Foster as her biggest influences. We have no doubt she'll one day secure a gold statuette, and we can't wait to see her next year in Tom Ford's film Nocturnal Animals.
Phoenix has as many Oscar nominations as actors 10 years his senior, but he's yet to take home a win. He's been nominated for his work in Gladiator, Walk the Line and The Master and probably should have won some sort of recognition for the oddity that was I'm Still Here. His best is likely still ahead, however, if this quote is any indication of his future ambitions: "The reason I keep making movies is I hate the last thing I did. I'm trying to rectify my wrongs."
Brad Pitt's received an Academy Award for his work as a producer on the film 12 Years a Slave, but he's never taken one home for his work as an actor despite multiple nominations. His performances in 12 Monkeys, Moneyball and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button all received nods, but we have to admit to loving him best in movies like Inglorious Basterds and Burn After Reading—not to mention our guilty pleasure favorites like Legends of the Fall and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We're assuming that if you have Brad Pitt's life, it's hard to find time to care about an award, but we'd like to see him win one if for no other reason than to watch him give a touching shoutout to his family in his acceptance speech.
Glenn Close has been nominated for Best Actress six times, for performances in The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons and Albert Nobbs. She currently has four films in post-production releasing this year and next, so maybe her big win is right around the corner. If not, we foresee a Lifetime Achievement Award in her future.
Despite a career spanning five decades, Harrison Ford has only been nominated for an Academy Award once, for his role in Witness. For better or worse, Harrison Ford's legacy will likely be of the blockbuster variety, as his less flashy roles tend to fall flat. (Remember Age of Adeline, anyone?) He's got Blade Runner and Indiana Jones remakes and sequels in the pipeline, so it's unlikely he'll snag a win anytime soon. We still think he was robbed for his role in 1991's Regarding Henry, but that's probably just us.
Robert Downey, Jr.
Robert Downey, Jr. steals every film in which he appears, so it's bizarre to us that he has yet to receive adequate recognition from the Academy. He's been nominated twice—once for Tropic Thunder and once for Chaplin—but, much like Harrison Ford, his legacy appears to be tied to blockbusters that aren't typically favored during awards season. His next few announced films include additions to the Sherlock Holmes and Captain America franchise, so they're unlikely to bring him a win, but given the Iron Man films have made over $1 billion worldwide, we're betting he's crying about it all the way to the bank.