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20 Stars Who’ve Never Won Oscars

From Samuel L. Jackson to Marilyn Monroe, the Hollywood legends who’ve been routinely dissed by the Academy

actor; actress; never won; oscar; Director

From Samuel L. Jackson to Marilyn Monroe, Sergio Leone to Ridley Scott — 20 movie legends who've surprisingly never won Oscars.

Everett Collection (2)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may have their origins in self-congratulatory PR (and, if you dig deeper, union-busting) but, by and large, it does a reasonably good job of providing a signal boost for quality films. Brooklyn isn’t going to win anything this year — but more people are going to know about that modest little story of an Irish immigrant making her way to America as a result of this year’s broadcast. Maybe they’ll give it a stream some night and enjoy a worthwhile drama that would have otherwise been forgotten. See? The Bataan Death March of “awards season” press events may have been worth it after all.

But the organization is far from infallible. This is a relatively small group of industry insiders who skew to a particular demographic, and they make mistakes. Many of cinema’s true masters have never won the award they deserved. Alfred Hitchcock never took home an Oscar for directing; neither did Stanley Kubrick. (Hitch got a lifetime achievement, however, and Stanley won for the special effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey.) Don’t bellyache for Brad Pitt ignored as a thespian – he’s got his trophy for producing 12 Years a Slave.

But what about those worthy film artists who never got anything — not even a category curveball or the end-of-career salute? Who will recognize the Hollywood greats standing in the shadow of the Full Oscar Diss? Many of them still have a shot, while some have already left this mortal coil, forever denied access to that Great Luncheon in the Sky.

So let’s commiserate with the tragically, perpetually Oscar-Denied. We list them in alphabetical order, because why shame them any more with a countdown?

actor; actress; never won; oscar

ALIENS, Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, 1986 TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

Everett Collection

Sigourney Weaver

As time marches on it becomes clearer just how revolutionary the Sci-Fi Queen's role of Ripley in the Alien films really were, especially in James Cameron's sequel. And Weaver's dramatic turns in Death and the Maiden and The Ice Storm prove she isn't just about Hollywood blockbusters, either. We're betting she's eventually taken off this list, and not just for an honorary award.

Nominations: Two for Best Actress (Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist) and one for Best Supporting Actress (Working Girl).
Should Have Won For: Aliens.
Maybe This Is All Punishment For: Chappie.

actor; actress; never won; oscar

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) Directed by Stephen Daldry Shown: Max von Sydow


Max von Sydow

When European arthouse cinema was the height of modernist intellectual topics, Max von Sydow was its face — its tormented, Nordic face. Starring in many of Ingmar Bergman's masterpieces (The Seventh Seal, Through a Glass Darkly, The Passion of Anna), Von Sydow transitioned to Hollywood by creeping us all out in The Exorcist, Flash Gordon, Minority Report, Shutter Island … the list goes on. Somehow, the actor has managed to be a go-to old man for over 40 years.

Nominations: One for Best Actor (Pelle the Conquerer) and one for Best Supporting Actor (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close).
Should Have Won For: Hannah and Her Sisters or Winter Light.
Maybe This Is All Punishment For: Beating death at chess.