Who has the most Best Actor Oscars?

20 great actors who've never been nominated for an Oscar

19. John Cusack (1966– )

Many of his films (The Grifters, Bullets over Broadway, Being John Malkovich) have been rather big hits with the Academy, but Cusack’s neurotic protagonists never quite charge to the front. You feel he’s still waiting for the signature, mid-career role that will bring him into the fold.

Most robbed for: Supporting Actor, 1998 – There’s almost too much great ensemble work in The Thin Red Line for any one player to stand out, but Cusack’s Capt. Gaff is fatigued, watchful and invaluable.

John Cusack in The Thin Red Line

18. Joseph Cotten (1905-94)

Is he or isn’t he trustworthy? There’s a subtle decency to most of Cotten’s work, though it can curdle into cynicism pretty fast, and his characters often get crushed by the looming failure of their dreams. Even when cast against type, as the murderous Uncle Charlie in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, he’s a fascinating magnet for audience faith.

Most robbed for: Actor, 1949 – Holly Martins in The Third Man is the quintessential Cotten creation, and a man you betray at your peril.

Joseph Cotton in The Third Man Credit: Everett Collection/Rex Features

17. Peter Lorre (1904-64)

In fairness, Lorre’s famous child murderer in Fritz Lang’s M (1931) was in Oscar’s early days, when foreign films weren’t embraced. Still, he made quite a mark in Hollywood soon after, with his unsettling cherub face, bulging eyes and ability to conjure auras of unseen depravity with just a few quick strokes.

Most robbed for: Supporting Actor, 1941 – The cane-sporting, clearly homosexual Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon was an early classic among Lorre’s featured parts for Warner Bros

Peter Lorre (second from right) in The Maltese Falcon Credit: Warner Bros

16. Jim Carrey (1962– )

We needn’t pretend all of Carrey’s comic roles are nomination-worthy – The Grinch, anyone? – and he’s made a lot of dross amid the jewels. When he really digs deep, though, it’s surprising what emotional resources he finds to depict Everymen in sorry crisis, discovering the limits of what they’ve been handed.

Most robbed for: Actor, 2004 – There were other near-misses, but Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is Carrey’s most intimate and profound leading role.

Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Credit: Everett Collection/Rex Features

15. Steve Buscemi (1957– )

For years best-known as that weaselly guy in the films with all those other guys, Buscemi is legitimately the great American character actor of the 1990s, more or less the Elisha Cook, Jr of that era. No nominations for either? Some faces find it hard to get respect.

Most robbed for: Supporting Actor, 1996 – William H Macy was nominated, but Buscemi’s unforgettably scuzzy Carl Showalter in Fargo should have shared the honour.

Steve Buscemi in Fargo Credit: Gramercy/Everett/Rex

14. Jeff Daniels (1955– )

Daniels was about the only person not recognised for James L. Brooks’s Terms of Endearment (1983), and he’s managed to cruise his way though a durable Hollywood career, clowning it up here and there, supplying a bitter gravitas elsewhere, without bagging one.

Most robbed for: Actor, 2005 – He surely came closest for Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale (it's what his character, a pompous lecturer in mid-divorce, would call “the filet” of Daniels).

Jeff Daniels in The Squid and the Whale Credit: Gramercy/Everett / Rex

13. Ann Miller (1923-2004)

Song-and-dance legend Miller had the darnedest voice, and was almost always the best thing in her films. She could tap-dance fast enough to leave you dizzy, and really act, too. She retired in 1976, more or less, though David Lynch gave her a wonderful comeback cameo as Coco the landlady in Mulholland Drive.

Most robbed for:Supporting Actress, 1949 – No way she’d have beaten Mercedes McCambridge in All the King’s Men, but Miller’s good-time gal in On the Town was easily worth a nomination.

Ann Miller (left) in Mulholland Drive Credit: Everett/Rex

12. Myrna Loy (1905-1993)

The Academy felt so guilty about never nominating the exotic and versatile Loy that a lobbying campaign sprang up to set things right, and they gave her an honorary Oscar in 1991. She accepted via camera at home, saying simply, “You’ve made me very happy. Thank you very much.”

Most robbed for: Actress, 1934 – William Powell and director W.S. Van Dyke got in, so it seems particularly cruel that Loy’s half of the Thin Man sleuthing duo went unrewarded.

Myrna Loy in The Thin Man Credit: Everett/Rex

11. Raúl Juliá (1940-94)

The Puerto Rican actor’s career was cut short right in its prime, just when Gomez Addams propelled him to stardom. His Shakespeare playing was legendary, and he’d earned respect as the (superior) straight man to William Hurt’s Oscar-winning gay martyr routine in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985). But the biggest film accolade eluded him.

Most robbed for: Supporting Actor, 1990 – Deeply brilliant as Harrison Ford’s wily defence lawyer Sandy Stern in Presumed Innocent, Julia should have walked this.

Raúl Juliá in Presumed Innocent Credit: Moviestore/Rex

10. Hugh Grant (1960– )

Hugh Grant is amazing at what he does, and basically terrible, as he’d be the first to admit, at being asked to do anything else. His whole career hinges on seeming to make a pig’s ear of being a romantic lead, and making that hilarious, which he does with a natural skill and timing we admit without appreciating quite enough.

Most robbed for: Actor, 1994 – A word for his wonderfully snobbish support in Small Time Crooks (2000), but Four Weddings and a Funeral is clearly the movie Grant was born to own.

Hugh Grant with Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral Credit: Pictoral Press/Alamy

9. Emily Blunt (1983– )

In the mix this year for her tough, thwarted turn in Sicario, Blunt has managed four Golden Globe nominations in movies without getting on the Academy's shortlist once. She's becoming one of the most respected actresses of her generation, in an increasingly broad spectrum of parts. It can only be a matter of time.

Most robbed for: Supporting Actress, 2006 - Blunt had already broken through in My Summer of Love, but it was her pitch-perfect comic support as Miranda Priestly's hatchet-faced assistant in The Devil Wears Prada which should have catapulted her into the nominees' club.

Emily Blunt in Sicario

8. Isabella Rossellini (1952– )

Her mother Ingrid Bergman won three of the damn things, and while few would argue that Rossellini is anything like such a major star, she’s given several mesmerising performances. She’s into her sixties now: let’s hope for a juicy supporting turn in something mysterious and wonderful to get her in the club.

Most robbed for:Actress, 1986 – Out of this world as bewitching masochist Dorothy Vallens in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, Rossellini probably just scared everyone too much to vote for her.

Isabella Rossellini with Kyle McLachlan in Blue Velvet Credit: Columbia/Film Stills / EPD

7. Alan Rickman (1946–2016)

It’s hard to think of anyone who played villains more lovably than Rickman – they’re often secretly the hero, even if the actual hero hasn’t been told. He was also a marvellously grumpy romantic lead when required (not often enough) and the sort of British pro whom Oscar voters would usually get on their hands and knees to reward.

Most robbed for: Supporting Actor, 1988 – They say an action film’s only as good as its baddie. Thanks to the wickedly sardonic Hans Gruber, this means Die Hard is way up there among the best of all time.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Everett/Rex

6. John Barrymore (1882–1942)

Not just the head of a legendary Hollywood dynasty (he’s Drew’s grandfather) and one of the most important theatre actors of his day, but a major film star throughout the sound era and for the first decade of talkies, Barrymore drank too much and died too young. His brother Lionel won one (for 1931’s A Free Soul), but John’s was the greater talent.

Most robbed for: Actor, 1934 – His fits of magnificent diva outrage as fulminating Broadway impresario Oscar Jaffe in Howard Hawks’s Twentieth Century.

John Barrymore in Twentieth Century Credit: Everett/Rex

5. Meg Ryan (1961– )

Ryan’s in the Carrey/Grant category of someone whose ticks can grate in her lesser vehicles, but when she’s on, she’s really on – star wattage, comic timing, and nutso charm like no one else’s. Her CV’s missing one hand-slap-to-forehead non-nomination that would make up for everything.

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