The Academy Awards don’t necessarily reflect the best performances, as certain films are Oscar-bait and others are pretty much untouchable. As we approach the 86th edition of the biggest night in Hollywood, let’s take a look at some of the best living talent who haven’t taken home one of those odd-looking statuettes in an acting category — the 11 best actors who never won an Oscar.
DiCaprio’s been nominated for four Academy Awards in acting categories: three for Best Actor and one for Best Supporting Actor. His best role to date was in the 2005 Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, for which he should’ve won the award. Jamie Foxx’s winning portrayal of Ray Charles was good, but DiCaprio perfected the life, style, and neuroses of the entrepreneur.
She’s burst on to the screen the last few years and was nominated for an Oscar at both the 84th and 85th Academy Awards. Her best role was the lead in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning film about the search for Osama Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty. Richard Roeper said that Chastain is “one of the finest actors of her generation.”
Pitt’s career began in 1987 and received his first Oscar nomination eight years later in 12 Monkeys. Since Gilliam’s sci-fi flick, Pitt’s received two more Academy Award nominations in acting categories for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Moneyball. With all due respect to the Academy, Pitt’s best role was as the cult-star Tyler Durden in the film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s famous novel.
Phoenix received his third Oscar nomination for his role alongside the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master. He showed his performing range in the 2005 hit Walk the Line for his portrayal of Johnny Cash, another role which garnered a Best Actor nomination – also Phoenix’s best role.
Much of Murray’s acting career has been in roles that the Academy Awards traditionally doesn’t touch, as he didn’t receive an Oscar nomination until 2003’s Lost in Translation. The Academy made one of its bigger mistakes by giving the Oscar to Sean Penn that year, as Murray’s portrayal of Bob Harris was one of the best of the decade.
Harris has played some famous roles in his career and been nominated for an acting Oscar on four occasions, all coming from 1995-2002. His portrayal as Flight Director Gene Kranz is unforgettable, though his role in the 2002 hit, The Hours, is his best to date.
She’s received two Oscar nominations in her career for roles in 21 Grams and The Impossible. Her best role by far, however, was in David Lynch’s mind-bending Mulholland Drive – a role she received more than a handful of awards for, though none from The Academy.
Ford’s made his career playing some of the most famous action stars in cinematic history. It’s not altogether surprising that Ford’s only received one Academy Award nomination, coming in the 1985 flick Witness. While Han Solo and Indiana Jones are great, his best role was as wrongly-convicted surgeon Richard Kimble in The Fugitive.
Moore’s been nominated for an Oscar on four occasions, a pair each for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress and all coming in a five-year period. Her best role garnered her the first nomination: for Best Supporting Actress in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights.
Norton received the first of his pair of Oscar nominations at the age of 27 for his role in Primal Fear. His second came in the best performance of his acting career as the unforgettable white supremacist Derek Vinyard in American History X.
Despite the fact that Oldman’s only received one Oscar nomination (he’s been over-looked more than once), he’s surely on the list of greatest living actors. His best role is hard to choose, though his portrayal of Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element is likely the winner.
Who’d we miss? Who shouldn’t have we included?