The Oscars are supposed to be the ultimate award when it comes to films and Hollywood. But while they do honor some great performances and artistes, the awards have also managed to somehow ignore few names that are part of film legend. Here are just ten (there are many) people who were and are stars and legends in their own right, and yet never got an Oscar for their efforts.
(Note: this list includes people who did not win Oscars for doing what they were best known for. So, if a well-known actor wins an Oscar for being part of a directorial team, that is not really a win in our book).
Charlie Chaplin – Never tramped home with an Oscar
He might have won hearts across the world with his iconic portrayal of the tramp, but Charlie Chaplin never won an Oscar for either direction or acting. He did get two honorary awards (and one for the musical score of a film twenty years after it was released – never mind!), but he remains the ultimate example to give anyone who feels they have never got their due – “You feel you are not getting enough credit? Dude, Charlie Chaplin never won an Oscar.” Amazingly he got just one nomination for best actor and best director: both for The Great Dictator.
Also read: Oscars 2019 winners list
Alfred Hitchcock – always got the Bird(s)
Yes, believe it or not, the man who gave us some of the most thrilling films of all time and perhaps did more for the suspense film genre than anyone else, never got an Oscar for direction. Some of the films he was nominated for would make it to a list of greatest films of all time – Rear Window, Rebecca, Psycho. But in the end, he too had to be contented with just an honorary Oscar – he was nominated five times!
Sergio Leone – fistful of Dollars, yes, Oscars, no!
Sergio Leone might have totally revolutionised our concept of the Western with his epic Dollar trilogy (For a Few Dollars More, The Good The Bad and The Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars) and made Clint Eastwood a household name. But all that did not get him an Oscar – heck, it did not even get him a nomination. But then it did not do much good for his star either, which brings us to…
Clint Eastwood – the man with no name and no Oscars either
There will be some who will be shocked at seeing Clint Eastwood’s name here. The man has won a number of Oscars (four proper ones, and one honorary) after all. But bear with us, he is best known as an actor. As the man who made cowboys a cult and added a new dimension to the cops with his rendition of Dirty Harry Callahan. Well, Eastwood has been nominated for two Oscars for his acting (Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby), but has never won an award for his silver screen presence. Well, best film and best director ain’t too shabby!
Johnny Depp – Oscars fly away from this Jack Sparrow
Arguably the most innovative actor of current times, Depp has never managed to get his hands on a statuette for best actor. He won massive critical and commercial acclaim for his roles as Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd and of course, the iconic captain Jack Sparrow, but he never won an Oscar for his acting.
Peter O’ Toole – Goodbye, Mr Oscar
He is considered by many to be one of the greatest actors of all time, right alongside the likes of Brando. His performance as Lawrence of Arabia, indeed, is called an acting masterclass. And it was not as if the Oscars ignored him – O’Toole was nominated eight times for best actor across a period of forty four years. And yet, somehow, he never seemed to win. He did win an Honorary one, though.
Richard Burton – who’s afraid of an Oscar, then?
From the fifties to the seventies, Richard Burton was considered to be one of the greatest performers on the silver screen. And his brand of understated and yet intelligent acting spawned dozens of imitators. It also spawned six nominations for best actor and one for best supporting actor, but by some coincidence or accident, he never won an award. No, not even for his brilliant display in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
Glenn Close – no Oscar even for The Wife
With seven nominations for her acting spanning almost four decades, Glenn Close is rapidly becoming a female version of Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton: loved, respected, acclaimed but not awarded (by the Oscars at least). The lady has won awards for a variety of roles that have ranged from the seductive clingy Alex in Fatal Attraction to the over the top crazy Cruella de Witt in 101 Dalmatians, but has never won an Oscar. She was odds on favourite for ending her Oscar drought this year with The Wife. Alas, the Oscar did NOT go to her.
Robert Downey Jr – No Oscars for Iron Man
From Chaplin to Iron Man to Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Junior has been one of the few actors in world cinema to successfully straddle those twin horses of art and commerce. He even played a black person in Tropical Thunder, but surprisingly he has only twice got into contention for an acting Oscar – for Chaplin and Tropical Thunder. And he missed out both times. What the hell, he still is Iron Man.
Tom Cruise – Oscar? Mission Impossible
He might be best known for his action-oriented films like the Mission Impossible series and Top Gun, but Tom Cruise has been more than just an adrenaline driven heart throb. The man has been acclaimed for his performance in films like Born on the Fourth of July, Valkyrie, Magnolia and Jerry Maguire, and people forget that he played a very able second fiddle to Dustin Hoffman’s Oscar winning performance in Rainman. An Oscar however has proved to be Mission Impossible for him. So far.
And this is but a small sample of those who have never won an Oscar, notwithstanding all the acclaim showered on them. Other worthies include Liam Neeson, Joaquin Phoenix, Orson Welles (who never won the best director), Stanley Kubrick (who again, was never a winner for best director), Brad Pitt, Ed Harris, Cary Grant, Peter Sellers…