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Top 10 Actors who Never Won an Oscar

Updated on October 7, 2014

10- Liam Neeson

Nominations: Academy award for best actor in a leading role (Schindler's List).

Liam John Neeson, (born 7 June 1952) Liam Neeson is an Irish actor known for his strong leading-man roles and for his role as Qui-Gon Jinn in the three prequels to Star Wars.After 15 years of acting, Liam Neeson landed the lead in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List in 1993, for which he was nominated for an Oscar and which cemented his status of leading man. After a slew of memorable roles, in 1999, Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the eagerly awaited prequel to the Star Wars trilogy of 1977–83, was released, and his move to the mainstream was complete.

Empire magazine ranked Neeson among both the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History" and "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time."

9- Harrison Ford

Nominations: Academy award for Best actor in a leading role

Harrison Ford (born July 13, 1942) Once deemed the highest-grossing actor of all time, Harrison Ford almost languished in thankless walk-on roles when he began his career in the early 1960s. Instead of accepting any role that came along, Ford was picky about his choices right from the start, despite a severe lack of Hollywood clout. While he made ends meet as a carpenter, Ford patiently pursued his career - even turning down several roles over the objections of his manager. But his persistence paid off with a memorable supporting role in "American Graffiti" (1973), George Lucas' 1960s coming-of-age tale. His struggle continued throughout the mid-1970s until Lucas reluctantly cast him as the cocky space pirate Han Solo in "Star Wars" (1977). From that moment on, Ford struggled no more, taking on some of the biggest movies of the 1980s, including genre classics "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) and "Blade Runner" (1982), as well as the finely crafted "Witness" (1985). By the time he starred in the heart-pounding thriller "The Fugitive" (1993), Ford was widely recognized as being one of the biggest stars in the world and the sole throwback to Golden Age swashbucklers like Clark Gable and Errol Flynn. Despite a few duds like "The Devil's Own" (1997), "Hollywood Homicide" (2003) and "Firewall" (2006) on his résumé, Ford continued to remain a top box office draw while remaining relevant with a new generation of fans.

8- Joaquin Phoenix


2 academy awards for best actor in a leading role (The Master, Walk the Line).

1 academy award for best actor in a supporting role (Gladiator).

Joaquin Rafael Phoenix (born October 28, 1974).

Joaquin Phoenix in a film actor, and the younger brother of actor River Phoenix. His parents were missionaries for a Christian cult called Children of God, a group often alleged to have condoned pedophilia and used sex as a means of proselytizing. The Phoenix family eventually withdrew from the group. Phoenix was about six when they settled in Los Angeles. His parents hired an agent for their children, and all five kids worked in TV commercials. Home-schooled, Phoenix quit his studies in ninth grade. Like most of the Phoenix family, Joaquin is vegan. A scar on his lip seems to be the remnant of a harelip operation. Phoenix claims it is merely a birthmark.

He grew tired of having his first name mispronounced ("wah-keen" is correct), and called himself "Leaf Phoenix" as a child actor. Alongside Scatman Crothers and Fred Savage, he was a regular on the 1986 show Morningstar/Eveningstar, and his movies include SpaceCamp, Gladiator, and I Walk the Line. He was seduced by Nicole Kidman in To Die For, played the Emperor in Gladiator, crossed boundaries in The Village, and defended the world with a baseball bat in Signs.

Joaquin's brother, River Phoenix, went on to great stardom and sudden death by drug overdose. They were together when he died, at Johnny Depp's Los Angeles nightclub, The Viper Room. River was 23 and Joaquin, just a few days past his 19th birthday, called 9-1-1. Tapes of the call were played repeatedly on tabloid television. After his brother's death, Phoenix retired the name "Leaf" and became again Joaquin. After portraying Johnny Cash in I Walk the Line he either decided that he was more a musician than an actor or staged an elaborate prank to that effect, announcing in 2008 that the romantic drama Two Lovers with Gwyneth Paltrow would be his last film. He has since returned to acting.

7- Samuel L. Jackson

Nominations: 1 academy award for best actor in a supporting role (Pulp Fiction).

Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American actor and film producer. He achieved prominence and critical acclaim in the early 1990s with films such as Jungle Fever (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Amos & Andrew (1993), True Romance (1993) and Jurassic Park (1993). He is a highly prolific actor, appearing in over 100 films, but best known for his frequent collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction (1994), Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Jackie Brown (1997), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), The 51st State (2001), The Incredibles (2004), Black Snake Moan (2006), Snakes on a Plane (2006), the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999–2005), and his role as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008–present).

With Jackson's permission, his likeness was used for the Marvel Comics character Ultimate Nick Fury. He cameoed as Fury in a post-credits scene from Iron Man (2008), and went on to sign a nine-film commitment to reprise this role in future films, including major roles in Iron Man 2 (2010), Marvel's The Avengers (2012), and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and minor roles in Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). He is set to reprise the role again in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron and has appeared in two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

6- Jude Law


1 academy award for best actor in a leading role (Cold Mountain).

1 academy award for best actor in a supporting role (The Talented Mr. Ripley).

David Jude Heyworth Law (born 29 December 1972), known professionally as Jude Law, is an English actor, film producer and director.

He began acting with the National Youth Music Theatre in 1987, and had his first television role in 1989. After starring in films directed by Andrew Niccol, Clint Eastwood and David Cronenberg, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1999 for his performance in Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley. In 2000, he won a Best Supporting Actor BAFTA Award for his work in the film. In 2003, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in another Minghella film, Cold Mountain. He is also known for his role as Dr. John Watson in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes and its 2011 sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

In 2006, he was ranked as one of the top ten most bankable film stars in Hollywood. In 2007, he received an Honorary César and was named a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. He was a member of the main competition jury at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

5- Will Smith

Nominations: 2 academy award for best actor in a leading role (Ali, The Pursuit of Happiness).

Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) Willard Carroll Smith, Jr. was born in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second of four children of Caroline (Bright), a school board employee, and Willard Carroll Smith, Sr., who owned a refrigeration company. He grew up in a middle class area in West Philadelphia called Wynnefield. Will attended the Overbrook High School located in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He got the nickname "Prince" because of the way he could charm his way out of trouble. Bright student Will also signed up with the high-status Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia.

Pursuing music, he met Jeffrey A. Townes at a party and they soon began performing together as "D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince". When the duo took off in popularity, Smith made and spent a lot of money on a house, cars and jewelry, leading to his near-bankruptcy in his early twenties.

Luckily, in 1989, he met Benny Medina, who had an idea for a sitcom based on his life in Beverly Hills. Smith loved the idea as did N.B.C. which put on the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990). The plot was simple - Will basically played himself; a street-smart West Philly kid transplanted to Beverly Hills. The series lasted six years. During that time, he ventured into movies where the critics took note of him in Six Degrees of Separation (1993). With the success that came with the action picture Bad Boys (1995), Will's movie career was set. He had a huge Blockbuster hit with Independence Day (1996), where he plays the alien-battling Marine Corps Captain Steven Hiller.

4- Johnny Depp

Nominations: 3 academy awards for best actor in a leading role (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Finding Neverland, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl).

John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II (born June 9, 1963) is an American actor, producer and musician. Johnny first rose to fame on the 1980s television series, 21 Jump Street. From there, Johnny focused on films and starred in hits such as Edward Scissorhands (1990), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Rango (2011) and the Pirates of the Caribbean film series (2003–present). Johnny has grossed over $3.1 billion at the United States box office and over $7.6 billion worldwide throughout his career. He has also won a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. Johnny has been married once and has two children.

Johnny is best known for playing various characters throughout his career, most notably as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise.

3- Tom Cruise


2 academy awards for best actor in a leading role (Jerry Maguire, Born on the Fourth of July).

1 academy award for best actor in a supporting role (Magnolia).

Thomas "Tom" Cruise (born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV; July 3, 1962) Tom Cruise as been one of Hollywood's biggest and most persistent leading men for three decades. He first made a strong impression in the teen comedy Risky Business (1983) and then had his first box-office smash as the fighter jock Maverick in Top Gun (1986). Cruise and his cocky grin were propelled higher onto Hollywood's A-list thanks to a string of successful movies: Rain Man (1988, with Dustin Hoffman), The Color of Money (1986, with Paul Newman), A Few Good Men (1992, with Jack Nicholson) and Jerry Maguire (1996, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. saying "Show me the money!"). His leading man good looks and a bantam rooster screen persona have helped him remain one of Hollywood's busiest actors, taking on blockbuster franchises such as Mission: Impossible (Cruise played superspy Ethan Hunt in the 1996 original and three sequels in 2000, 2006 and 2011) as well as more diverse dramas such as Magnolia (1999), Vanilla Sky (2001) and the Steven Spielberg movies Minority Report (2002, co-starring Samantha Morton) and War of the Worlds (2005). His other films include Tropic Thunder (2008, starring Ben Stiller), Valkyrie (2008, with Cruise as Nazi bigwig Claus von Stauffenberg) and Oblivion (2010, with Morgan Freeman).

Cruise is known for his support for the Church of Scientology and its affiliated social programs.

2- Edward Norton


1 academy award for best actor in a leading role (American History X).

1 academy award for best actor in supporting role (Primal Fear).

Edward Harrison Norton (born August 18, 1969) is the eldest of three children born to a lawyer father and a teacher mother. He first began acting at the age of five and attended a school for theatrical arts in the Baltimore area. Following undergraduate studies at Yale, he worked at the Enterprise Foundation in Japan, an organization founded by his grandfather that develops low-income housing. After moving back to the States he did the auditioning rounds while working as a waiter before being cast in the world premiere production of Eward Albee's stage play, Fragments. It wasn't long after that when Hollywood came calling.

"I tend to look at a part and wonder if 10 other young men can do it," Norton says. "I look for something I can bring a particular take to. But I don't like to talk about it."

This Yale University history major from Columbia, Maryland, doesn't have to. Talk about it, that is. He lets his acting do the talking for him. And it spoke volumes in his debut screen performance when he stole the movie Primal Fear (1996) out from under Richard Gere's nose. Although the movie as a whole wasn't very well-received, Edward Norton was stunning as the psychopathic killer who gets away with murder. He even got an Oscar nomination for his efforts. Suddenly Norton was a hot commodity.

But Norton doesn't want you to know more than he's willing to let you in on. "Every little thing that people know about you as a person impedes your ability to achieve that kind of terrific suspension of disbelief that happens when an audience goes with an actor and character he's playing. Anybody can ask me anything, but I firmly believe I have the right to answer or not."

Norton has since gone on to star in several notable films like Rounders (1998), Keeping The Faith (2000), The Italian Job (2003), the lead role of Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk (2008), and Scout Master Ward in Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and retired Colonel Eric Byer in The Bourne Legacy (2012). He most recently appeared in the documentary film, Salinger (2013).

Norton has been linked romantically to Courtney Love and Salma Hayek. An anti-smoking advocate, Norton refuses to smoke in his films

1- Leonardo DiCaprio


3 academy award for best actor in a leading role (The Wolf of Wall Street, Blood Diamond, The Aviator).

1 academy award of best actor in a supporting role (What's Eating Gilbert Grape).

Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio (born November 11, 1974) is an American actor and film producer. He has been nominated for five Academy Awards and ten Golden Globe Awards including winning Golden Globes for Best Actor in a Drama for The Aviator (2004) and the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). He has also been nominated by the Screen Actors Guild, Satellite Awards, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

DiCaprio started his career by appearing in television commercials prior to landing recurring roles in TV series such as the soap opera Santa Barbara and the sitcom Growing Pains in the early 1990s. His major movie debut was in This Boy's Life (1993) alongside Robert De Niro. DiCaprio obtained recognition for his subsequent work in a supporting role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), along with a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He gained further recognition with leading roles in The Basketball Diaries (1995) and Romeo + Juliet (1996), before achieving international fame in James Cameron's Titanic (1997), which became the highest grossing movie at the time.

Since the 2000s, DiCaprio has received critical acclaim for his work in such films as Catch Me If You Can (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), Blood Diamond (2006), The Departed (2006), Revolutionary Road (2008), Shutter Island (2010), Inception (2010), and Django Unchained (2012). DiCaprio owns a production company named Appian Way Productions. He is also a committed environmentalist.

Honorable Mentions:

Bruce Willis, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Bacon, Richard Gere, John Travolta, Ed Harris.

This list is based on my personal opinion, don't forget to share yours...


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