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8 Stars You Won't Believe Don't Have an Oscar

Glenn Close, Amy Adams, and six more actors who've never taken home an Academy Award.

The Academy Awards are considered one of the highest honors in film, so naturally, many of the most acclaimed actors of all time have at least one. Even when it comes to frequently nominated performers who have lost several Oscars—Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio come to mind—they have in some instances come out on top. But while many lauded performers have Oscar gold in their home, a surprising number of big-name stars do not. The eight stars below have never won Oscars, despite their legendary careers leading many to assume that they must have. Read on for eight stars who you won't believe don't have a single Academy Award—yet, that is.

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Glenn Close

Why is it so surprising that Glenn Close hasn't won an Oscar at this point in her career? Well, because she ties for the record for most nominations without a win with a whopping eight nods. (The other actor holding that record is the late Peter O'Toole.)

Close was nominated for Best Supporting Actress four times—for The World According to Garp (1982), The Big Chill (1983), The Natural (1984), and Hillbilly Elegy (2020)—and for Best Actress four times for Fatal Attraction (1987), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Albert Nobbs (2011), and The Wife (2018).

Amy Adams

Another star to be nominated many times without winning is Amy Adams, who has been nominated for six Oscars. The 48-year-old star was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Junebug (2005), Doubt (2008), The Fighter (2010), The Master (2012), and Vice (2018). She was nominated for Best Actress for the 2013 movie American Hustle.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise at the 2012 Oscars
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Being a major box office draw does not necessarily translate to an Oscar win, as many franchise stars will tell you. But Tom Cruise has been nominated for four Academy Awards—three for acting—without taking one home. He was nominated for Best Actor for Born on the Fourth of July (1989) and Jerry Maguire (1996), and for Best Supporting Actor for Magnolia (1999). In 2023, he was nominated for Best Picture as one of the producers of Top Gun: Maverick.

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson hasn't won an Oscar, but he does have one—because the Academy realized that he probably should have claimed a competitive statue at some point.

The 74-year-old was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Pulp Fiction (1994). Some of his many other film roles include Eve's Bayou, Jackie Brown, Star Wars, Django Unchained, the Avengers movies. And in 2022, Jackson received an Honorary Academy Award for being "a cultural icon whose dynamic work has resonated across genres and generations and audiences worldwide."

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Saoirse Ronan

She may only be 28 years old, but Saoirse Ronan has already become a favorite of the Academy—at least as it pertains to nominations. The Irish star was nominated for her first Oscar when she was just 14 years old, for Best Supporting Actress for Atonement at the 2008 awards show. Since then, she's been nominated for Best Actress three times: For Brooklyn (2015), Lady Bird (2017), and Little Women (2019).

John Goodman

John Goodman at the 2002 Oscars
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

As a character actor who has worked with Oscar-nominated directors and has had a lengthy, varied career, you would assume there would be a Best Supporting Actor Oscar to spare for John Goodman. But, not only has the star never won an Oscar, he's also never been nominated.

Some of Goodman's projects that have seen him honored by critics and at other awards shows include Barton Fink (1991), The Big Lebowski (1998), Argo (2012), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), and The Big Lebowksi.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp at the 2005 Oscars
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Johnny Depp has been nominated for three Academy Awards, but it was never his night, despite a strong run in the 2000s. The star was nominated for Best Actor for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Finding Neverland (2004), and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey at the 2005 Oscars
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Among her many accomplishments, it just seems as though Oprah Winfrey must also be a competitive Oscar winner, right? The longtime talk show host is also an actor and a producer, after all.

Winfrey has been nominated for two Oscars: for Best Supporting Actress in 1986 for The Color Purple and for Best Picture in 2015 as a producer on Selma. In 2011, she was honored with the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. This award, which go to someone "whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry," recognized Winfrey's philanthropic work instead of her acting career.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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