Hollywood stars who haven’t won an Oscar: Tom Cruise, Angela Bassett and more

They might have directed or starred in some of the biggest films of all time, but these famous names still haven’t got a coveted golden statuette

Scarlett Johansson, Angela Bassett and Robert Downey Jr have six Oscar nominations between them but have never won an award. EPA
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When it comes to awards season, Hollywood stars insist it’s all about the work and not about winning accolades.

One director, however, is done with pretending he doesn’t want to take home an Academy Award next year.

British director Ridley Scott, whose film Napoleon comes out later this month, recently told The New Yorker: “You know, I haven’t got an Oscar yet. And, if I ever get one, I’ll say, ‘About time!’”

The 85-year-old has been nominated for the Best Director gong three times, for 1991’s Thelma & Louise, for the 2000 film Gladiator and for 2015’s The Martian, losing out to Jonathan Demme for The Silence of the Lambs, Steven Soderbergh for Traffic and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for The Revenant, respectively.

When it comes to Hollywood celebrities who are household names, fans often assume they boast shelves full of awards, however, it famously took one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio, seven Oscar nominations to finally scoop the Best Actor Academy Award in 2016 for The Revenant.

Here are 12 famous actors, actresses and directors who have never won an Oscar …

1. Glenn Close

The talented actress has three Tonys, three Emmys and three Golden Globes, but has never won an Oscar.

Nominated eight times – four for Best Actress and four for Best Supporting Actress – Close shares the record for most nominations in acting categories without a win with British actor Peter O'Toole.

Roles she was nominated for but didn’t win include Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction in 1988 and Joan Castleman in The Wife in 2019.

2. David Fincher

The American director is frequently listed among the most influential directors, as the creator of the likes of Seven, Gone Girl, Zodiac and Fight Club.

He also has a Bafta, Golden Globe and two Grammys, but no Oscars.

Nominated for Best Director three times, in 2009 for The Curious Case of Bejamin Button, in 2011 for The Social Network and in 2021 for Mank, he lost out to Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire, Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech and Chloe Zhao for Nomadland, respectively.

3. Angela Bassett

Not only has the actress not won an Emmy despite being nominated nine times, she also has yet to bag an Oscar.

Bassett, 65, went viral in 2023 when she lost out on the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to Jamie Lee Curtis for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

She also failed to win the Best Actress Oscar in 1994 for her portrayal of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to do With It, which went to Holly Hunter for The Piano.

4. Richard Burton

Considered one of the greatest actors of all time, the late stage and screen star never won an Oscar throughout his illustrious career.

Nominated seven times, some of his Best Actor loses include the 1964 gong, which went to Rex Harrison For My Fair Lady when Burton was nominated for Becket; in 1965 for The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, which went to Lee Marvin for Cat Ballou, and in 1969 for his portrayal of King Henry VIII in Anne Of The Thousand Days, which went to John Wayne For True Grit.

5. Eddie Murphy

The former stand-up comic and Saturday Night Live cast member broke into film in 1982 playing Reggie Hammond in 48 Hrs.

Since then, Murphy, 62, has won an Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award, but an Oscar continues to elude him.

The actor was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2007 for his role as James Early in Dreamgirls, losing out to Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine.

6. Annette Bening

Recognised as one of the best actresses in Hollywood, Bening, 65, has yet to win a golden statuette.

She’s been nominated four times, once for Best Supporting Actress for the 1990 film The Grifters, and three times for Best Actress for American Beauty (1999), Being Julia (2004) and The Kids are Alright (2010).

7. Ian McKellan

He’s been knighted, won a Tony, six Olivier Awards, five Baftas, five Emmys and a Golden Globe, but McKellan has never won an Oscar.

The English actor, who played Gandalf in the Lord of The Rings films, has been nominated twice with a 1999 Best Actor nod for Gods and Monsters and another in 2002 for Best Supporting Actor for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He lost out to Roberto Benigni for Life Is Beautiful and Jim Broadbent for Iris, respectively.

8. Wes Anderson

Known for his complex, postmodern and nostalgic approach to cinema, American director Anderson has been awarded a Bafta and a Golden Globe but has yet to add an Oscar to his collection.

He has been nominated seven times, three for Best Original Screenplay (The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel), twice for Best Animated Feature (Fantastic Mr Fox and Isle of Dogs), once for Best Picture and once for Best Director, both for The Grand Budapest Hotel, but has been beaten each time.

9. Tom Cruise

Arguably the most famous movie star in Hollywood, Cruise has never won an Oscar.

He’s been nominated four times, for Best Actor for Born on the Fourth of July in 1990 and Jerry Maguire in 1997, and for Best Supporting Actor for Magnolia in 2000. He also received a Best Picture nomination as a producer on Top Gun: Maverick in 2023.

“I've always felt what I do is extraordinary – being able to make these pictures and doing something you love,” he told the BBC. “So, I'll just keep doing it. I love it. I don't do it for the awards”.

10. Dorothy Dandridge

As an African-American actress working in Hollywood from the 1930s to the 60s, Dandridge blazed a trail for black women in the industry.

With 37 films to her name, Dandridge was the first black person to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 1955 for Carmen Jones. She lost to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl.

She would later be nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe for the 1959 film Porgy and Bess, but lost out on that too.

11. Robert Downey Jr

His name is predicted to be among the 2024 Best Supporting Actor nominees for his role of Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer, but until then, Downey Jr counts two loses from two nominations.

The actor, who became one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood history thanks to his turn as Tony Stark in the Marvel movies was nominated for Best Actor in 1992 for Chaplin, losing to Anthony Hopkins for The Silence of the Lambs, and for the 2008 Best Supporting Actor award for Tropic Thunder, which was won by Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men.

12. Scarlett Johansson

Despite an enviable mix of independent movies, blockbuster hits and the all-important Marvel franchise on her resume, an Oscar still eludes Johansson.

She has a Bafta and a Tony, but no Golden Globes, and no Academy Awards, despite being nominated twice in 2020 for Best Actress for Marriage Story and Best Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit.

Updated: November 14, 2023, 2:01 PM