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Which actors have the highest number of Oscar nominations but no wins?

An Academy Award can be the crowning glory of a stellar career, but some big stars have missed out on the top prize on numerous occasions.


Follow the Oscars ceremony 2023 live online

Back in January the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced the nominees for most illustrious awards ceremony in the film industry. The 2023 Oscars will take place at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles on Sunday, 12 March with some of the biggest names in Hollywood on the shortlist once again.

Jamie Lee Curtis may finally get a chance to claim the coveted award this year after receiving her first nomination for her supporting role in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’. The film came out on top with the most nominations, 11 in total, for the 95th Academy Awards.

Less fortunate, however, was Tom Cruise who has only been nominated three times despite his long and extensive career in Hollywood. Such is the prestige of the Oscars, there is a long list of actors and directors who have been passed over for awards.

One man who is no longer waiting for that ellusive Oscars win is Sir Kenneth Branagh, who finally broke his dry spell last year. Sir Kenneth took home Best Original Screenplay at the 2022 ceremony for ‘Belfast’, his first Oscars win coming with his eighth nomination. He had been nominated in three categories last year; Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Eight nominations apiece for Close and O’Toole

If Sir Kenneth had failed to take home an Oscar last year he would’ve joined the iconic Glenn Close and the late Peter O’Toole as the only actors to have received eight nominations without winning. Close had an opportunity last year after being nominated for Best Supporting Role for her turn in Netflix’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ but lost out to Yuh-Jung Youn for her part in ‘Minari’.

Close had been the favourite to pick up the lead actress gong twice before, most recently for her role in ‘The Wife’ but lost to Olivia Colman.

Those disappointments brought her equal to the record set by the late Peter O’Toole, who also received eight unsuccessful Academy Award nominations over the course of a stellar career. He was first nominated in 1962 for the titular role in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, and received his last for 2006′s ‘Venus’.

However the career of the actor, who turned down a knighthood, wasn’t completely overlooked by the Academy. O’Toole received an Academy Honorary Award in 2002 for his combined body of work spanning five decades, but replied with a letter insisting he was “still in the game” and that he wanted to “win the lovely bugger outright.”

Major actors who have not won an Oscars

Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Laura Linney, Edward Norton, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sigourney Weaver have all been nominated three times but have never received a golden statuette. Sir Ian McKellen has been nominated twice, as has Robert Downey Jr, but neither has yet been successful.

Annette Benning and Michelle Williams have picked up four Oscar nominations but never won gold. Amy Adams is the third most nominated actor that has never won an Oscar with six to her name, five for Best Supporting Actress and one in 2014 for ‘American Hustle’ which earned her first nomination for Best Actress. Cate Blanchett who is once again up for the prize in 2023 snatched the prize that year.

While the disappointment of not winning an Oscar can be harsh, not even being nominated despite years of critically acclaimed performances must be galling. None of Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and Michael Keaton have ever received a nomination for the Oscars.

Which film received the most Oscars nominations without winning?

Close and O’Toole boast an impressive eight win-less nominations, but they fall short of the most-nominated films to fail to win an Oscar.

Both ‘The Turning Point’ (1977) and ‘The Color Purple’ (1986) picked up 11 Academy Award nominations without winning a single one, sharing the record for films.

The 1978 Oscars ceremony was dominated by ‘The Goodbye Girl’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Julia’ and ‘Annie Hall’, denying ‘The Turning Point’ in all 11 categories. ‘The Color Purple’ was also shortlisted for 11 awards in the 1986 Oscars but also failed to reach a top spot, losing out to ‘Platoon’ in a number of categories.


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