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10 Of The Best In Hollywood Who Never Won An Oscar

Schiesl . . . Comments

This list contains men and women who never received Oscars in their respective fields but definitely at some point deserved one. This list does not include Honorary Oscars or Lifetime Achievement Award Oscars.


Albert Finney

039 43638~Albert-Finney-Posters

Albert Finney has been nominated for 5 Oscars in his lifetime. His most notable performance came in one of his first, Tom Jones. He was also nominated for Erin Brokovich, The Dresser, and Volcano. If you have never seen Finney in a film, I strongly recommend you watch him in The Browning Version – a lesser known but fantastic film about a teacher of classics.


Richard Burton


Richard Burton was nominated 7 times for an Oscar and of those 7; six were in the best actor category. His most famous role was in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf.


Angela Lansbury


Ah, Mrs. Lovett. How I love her, and how the Academy Awards do not. This star was nominated 3 times for Oscars, most notably for Portrait of Dorian Grey, and The Manchurian Candidate. She is probably most famous amongst the thespians as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (the GOOD one, not the crappy one with Helena Bonham Carter who I do usually enjoy).


Peter O’Toole


Peter O’Toole holds the record for most nominations without ever winning, he has been nominated 8 times, most recently in 2006 with his amazing performance in Venus. He would have won in 1962 for Lawrence of Arabia, if it had not been for Atticus Finch aka Gregory Peck.


Fred Astaire

Astaire Hat

He was nominated only once in his long career. He is ranked fifth on AFI’s best actors of all time. He was nominated for Towering Inferno but did not win. He was later awarded honorary awards. He was most famous for his musical movies with Ginger Rogers!


Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Recently ranked fifth on AFI’s greatest female stars of all time. She was the queen of silent film and is credited as having some of the most unforgettable movie performances ever. She was nominated four times and never won. The nominations were for films such as Anna Christie, Romance (nominated for both in 1930), Camille, and Ninotchka.


Deborah Kerr

039 34894~Deborah-Kerr-Posters

You may know Deborah Kerr best as Anna Leonowens from The King and I. She was nominated 6 times for an award and never won. She is considered one of the best female actresses of all time. She has the most nominations for a woman in the Best Actress role with six. She was also nominated for Edward My Son, From Here to Eternity, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, Separate Tables and The Sundowners.


Cary Grant


Cary Grant is ranked second on AFI’s best actors of all time. He is most known for some of the greatest movies of all time including North by Northwest, The Philadelphia Story, and To Catch a Thief.


Alfred Hitchcock


Hitchcock is widely viewed as one of the greatest directors of all time; he never won an Oscar. Known for classics such as Rear Window, The Birds, Rebecca, Lifeboat, and Spellbound (all of those movies where ones in which he was nominated), this Sultan of Suspense deserved one, if not all-5 Oscars he was nominated for…. Boo on the Academy!


Charlie Chaplin


SURPRISE! Charlie Chaplin never won an Oscar, EVER! This is rumored to be because of his public disdain for the Oscars. Nonetheless, Charlie Chaplin is considered by many to be the most influential and greatest actor of all time. He received 2 honorary Oscars, but as I said earlier those don’t count. No doubt he should have at least won ONE!

Notable omissions (and there are a few): Glenn Close, Orson Wells, Rosalind Russell, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Altman, D.W. Griffith, and King Vidor

Contributor: Schiesl

  • abby

    Great list!

  • Diogenes

    Great first comment!

  • Wow… a couple of these entries really surprised me – Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, and Charlie Chaplin. The others I don’t know enough about to have an opinion.

    Cool idea for a list Scheisl :-)

  • romerozombie

    Can’t argue with this list.

  • sarahenity

    very cool idea for a list, some of them really surprised me!

  • Drogo

    It is surprising that such well known celebrities have not received an Oscar, but they do only have one winner per year (and per category). As several nominee’s have said, “It’s an honor to be nominated.”

    Other notable omissions: Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise

    (just kidding, just kidding!)

  • andy

    robert mitchum

  • HandyMan

    Cool list, i didnt know they had oscars back in chaplins day.. and knowing hitchcock didnt get one is very dissapointing

  • geronimo

    hey where is arnold…… the greatest actor in the world… how many know that he is not of this planet..

  • dangorironhide

    Not a bad list, but not one of the best either.

    Regarding #8: I loved the Burton Sweeney Todd.

  • ohrmets

    Not bad but where is film genius STANLEY KUBRICK? He should be in the Top 3, not a notable omission!

    He was nominated for Best Director for the classic films Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and A Clockwork Orange. His filmography also includes other iconic works like Spartacus, Lolita, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket! Pretty much every film he directed is a gem!

    Anyone in Hollywood would agree that Kubrick deserves to be near the top of this list!

  • ohrmets

    Also, it’s worth mentioning that while notable omission D.W. Griffith certainly deserved an Oscar (Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, Broken Blossoms), pretty much everything he directed was done BEFORE the Academy Awards began in 1929!

  • stevenh

    ohrmets: As Schiesl wrote, this is “10 of the best”, not the top 10… therefore I suspect that it is in no particular order.

    Excellent Idea, Excellent List.

    Thank You!

    ps: can’t you find a more flattering picture of Mr. O’Toole?

  • JT

    Charlie Chapman won an Oscar for Best Score….and Kubrick for Best Visual Effects for 2001 IIRC.

    Also spelling mistake in no 6 ‘…did not won.’

  • oops

    jim carrey considering he won the golden globes and not the oscars

  • Ruairi

    I personally wouldn’t have given Chaplin the title of best actor of all time. I was kind of disappointed when Peter O’ Toole missed out on an Oscar again…how many more films is he going to be in? Also, I think if it’s a list in no particular order then it should go from 1-10.

  • andy

    It should be noted that Kubrick did, in fact, win an Oscar as part of the team who did the special effects for “2001.”

  • kittym

    Amazing list! Some of my favourite actors are on here, as well as directors (Hitchcock and Kubrick). The fact that greats like Cary Grant, Peter O’Toole and Charlie Chaplin haven’t won Oscars seems very wrong to me. It really is too bad that Peter O’Toole couldn’t win for Lawrence of Arabia, but Gregory Peck WAS incredible as Atticus. And I LOVE Cary Grant — The Philadelphia Story, His Girl Friday, Gunga Din, North By Northwest … gah, amazing!

    Excellent, excellent list, Schiesl!!

  • Kate

    Andy: Mitchum never won an Oscar? Wow. He certainly deserves to be- at least- number three on this list.

  • kowzilla

    Charlie Chaplin, Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles all won Oscars. They weren’t for acting or directing but they were Oscars never the less.

    What about Kevin O’Connell? He’s sound mixer who has been nominated 20 times and never one!

  • Anon

    Count the Americans.
    Count the non-Americans

  • Jenova4

    dangorironhide said:
    Regarding #8: I loved the Burton Sweeney Todd.

    Have you seen the one that Angela Lansbury and George Hearn were in? Even for a recording of a stage performance, I think it kicks the film out of the water. Tim Burton greatly disappointed me with this film because he didn’t do all he could’ve done with the film, instead choosing to emphasize a plot that became a skeleton after their cuts. If you’ve never seen the original, I reccommend you do. It shows that it is one of Sondheim’s finest pieces.

  • Anon



  • ChristineM

    Great list, I was very surprised about the last three.
    I think a list for the top most disappointing wins would be interesting just to show how silly the Academy is

  • Kreachure

    Anon: Count where Hollywood is at.

    I’ll wait…

  • Mom424

    Schiesl: Great idea and good choices. I would have preferred a little bit more flesh in the bio’s of each actor. A little more info for those not familiar with classic cinema would have been great. A note for next time eh?

  • Alex

    James Dean anyone????

  • evets

    This is one of the greatest lists of all time!

  • Anon


    It was a mere observation, a small detail that might otherwise have been overlooked. No big deal. There’s always Bob Hope, after all …

  • Anon

    And Sir Maurice Joseph Micklethwaite jr., inter alia.

  • Flock O’Seagulls

    Albert Finney was actually nominated for an Oscar for “Under the Volcano” a 1984 feature that starred he and Jacqueline Bissett–not that piece of crap movie “Volcano” from 1997 that starred Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche.

  • Blogball

    Nice list! I would like to add Ingmar Bergman & Fellini

  • Djb522

    A few notes on this list

    First off, Hitchcock’s film Rebecca did win best picture in 1940. I’m not sure if the Oscar went to him or the producers, but his film did win an Oscar.

    Second, in the honorable mentions you mentioned that Orson Welles hadn’t won an Oscar. However, he did win Best Original Screenplay for Citizen Kane, so he actually did win an Oscar.

    Thirdly, I think Sidney Lumet should be on this list, with classics like Network, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, and 12 Angry Men. He did get a Lifetime Achievement Award recently, but his genius was never truly rewarded.

  • Kreachure

    I think someone worth mentioning is Martin Scorsese, who almost made this list. He only won his first Oscar last year for directing The Departed, despite it being almost 40 years of his renowned career in Hollywood.

    His Best Director Oscar was in fact something that the entire industry considered was long overdue for him, and some even cosidered it to be his “lifetime achievement Oscar”.

    The funniest thing of the story is that when it was time to give out the Oscar for Best Director that year, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas came out to present the nominees and present the award; they all happened to be Scorsese’s long time best friends and colleagues. Of course, everyone went “Gee, I wonder who will win this one *wink wink*!”, and sure enough, Scorsese finally got his Oscar. It was without a doubt one of the most touching and exciting moments in Oscar history.

  • HS

    She’ll most likely win one yet, but so far Kate Winslet has been nominated five times with no wins, which ties her with Olivia de Havilland for noms-w/out-wins. Both would be deserving for sure, though dear Olivia is in her 90’s now.

  • ohrmets

    Yeah it’s true that Kubrick and Welles both got Oscars, they were both in non-directing categories. They are first and foremost directors, after all, and two who made incredible achievements in film history. The fact that Welles’ screenplay for “Citizen Kane” (which was mostly written by Mankiewicz anyways) and “2001’s” nod for effects doesn’t detract from the fact that those two men, arguably two of the greatest directors of all time, never got proper recognition in the directing category. Kubrick in particular had a number of accessible, critically-acclaimed films that never got him the Oscar he deserved (same with Hitchcock).

    Djb522: While Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” did win Best Picture, in those days the award for that category was given to the film’s producer, which in this case was David O. Selznick at United Artists.

  • schiesl

    Chaplin Won in 1972 for a movie he made 20 years ago…it was an honorary award, and Hitchcock did not produce Rebecca, just directed it so he didnt win an oscar for it

  • schiesl

    looking back on it, i didnt even think of Kubrick till i was doing notable ommisions and thought how dumb i was. Sorry to all you Kubrick fans, he should be on the list.

  • Fruckert

    charlie chaplin lost a charlie chaplin lookalike contest

  • Kreachure

    Hey, be nice to Kubrick. It would’ve been his 80th birthday today!!

  • Kristie

    What a boring waste of a list. Cary Grant was great, the others are ok, but in general, a waste of space.

  • Csimmons

    great list, no arguments here

  • anthony p

    Im suprised Johnny Depp hasnt won an oscar yet, i find him one of the best Charachter actors of our generation and the guys range is phenomenal.

  • anthony p

    woops spelt character wrong

  • JT

    Chaplin won an academy award for Best Original Score in 1972. The film was made in 1952, but not released in LA until 1972, hence the delay. He still won the award though, even if it wasn’t for acting.

  • JT

    bah none of my commenst are showing

    how irritating

  • JT

    oh that one showed. Just want to say that Chaplin won an academy award for Best Original Score in 1972. The film was made in 1952, but not released in LA until 1972, hence the delay. He still won the award though, even if it wasn’t for acting.

  • fishing4monkeys

    What’s with all the movie/TV show/music lists? :/

  • Alok

    The oscars are rigged anyways by the Stonecutters.

  • StarDust

    I don’t know if anyone else has said this, but wouldn’t Angela Lansbury have been nominated for a TONY award since she did Sweeny Todd on the stage, not film?! Or am I mistaken and she did a film version?! Because she did win a TONY for her portrayal of Mrs.Lovett

  • Hannah

    I just watched “Amazing Grace” the other night and was thinking that Albert Finney is an excellent, underrated actor. Funny though, I’ll always think of him as “Daddy Warbucks” in the movie version of Annie the musical…Just goes to show what my childhood influences were! :)

    Great list BTW.

  • good list! surprising too. lol

  • Philip

    Let’s not forget Claude Rains.

  • warningdontreadthis

    Cant really argue wit this :) nice list.

  • QDV

    Lon Chaney, Sr.

  • schiesl

    i know she won a tony, i threw that in there because that i believe was an amazing performance, whether it was on stage or not (i am a theatre nerd…)

  • MPW

    Great list, all the entries make sense.

  • chershey

    *jaw drop*

    Helloooo, Buster Keaton?? I can’t believe Chaplin is #1 and Buster Keaton is nowhere to be seen. Wait, I can believe because Buster is *always* snubbed!

  • chershey

    StarDust – There is a filmed video release of Sweeney Todd with Angela and George Hearn; it wasn’t released theatrically and therefore ineligible for Oscar nominations. I think he meant that it is one of her stand out roles (supposedly Sondheim wrote the part for her specifically) among her lengthy career.

  • Vera Lynn

    I knew a lot of these, but still a fun list. Maybe to include who they lost to, and for which film would have added to this list. Only #7 (Peter O’Toole)was explained.

  • lomez

    Angela Landsbury is best known for Murder She Wrote. It’s alright to say it, it doesn’t take anything away from her talent. But there are so many people out there who know her from Murder She Wrote and only Murder She Wrote.

  • thepennymachine

    Stanley kubrick should have been on the actual list and not a notable omission. he did win a oscar and that was for visual effects in 2001 but he deserves much more.

  • smac

    I would add Barbara Stanwyck to this list. She is one of the greatest actresses of all time and lost all four of her Oscar nominations. How she didn’t win for ‘Double Indemnity,’ is something I’ll never understand.

  • Momopuff

    Really? Alfred Hitchcock never got an oscar???

  • Anon

    ‘The General’. In 2002 voted the 15th best film of all time!!!

    WOT, NO OSCAR FOR BUSTER ? NO BUSTER HERE? (Excuse the flabbergasted caps.)

    You’ve got it, Chershey.

    So may his neglectors be pursued by hordes of relentless women in full cry and great bouncing boulders for all eternity.

  • whatiswrong

    First off, it’s unfortunate that the Oscars are a joke. I’ve worked with numerous voting members of the academy, and I’ve heard, literally hundreds of times, the phrase, “Oh, I always vote for my friends.” That’s after they’ve been asked who they were voting for.

    That said, D.W. Griffith was such a racist, it’s OK with me, him not getting anything. But, what about Glenn Close? She holds the record for most nominations. Her peers literally bow in her presence.

  • Anon

    Well yes. O.K. So he did get a Special Award in 1959. And that certainly does disqualify him from this list.

    Wasn’t that though a bit like saying, “Hey, this genius of the cinema might die without an Oscar. What would everyone say about us then? We’d better give him something quick.”?

    So the women and boulders will still do for before 1959.

  • Craig

    Very good list, it makes you realise that even the best of the best miss out.
    Another good list I think would be stars that you would expect to have been nominated for an Oscar but never have, for example Kevin Bacon, John Cusack, Martin Sheen, Steve Martin, Donald Sutherland, Scarlet Johansen…

  • revolver0410

    Check out Mr. Chaplin receiving his Honorary Award from the Academy. A very touching, moving moment. To make it easier, check out my YT page ( It’s in my Favourites.

  • schiesl

    Ah, i love the General and yeah it was to bad that in 1927 it didnt win any. It didnt gain its fame till we saw its influence on cinema. Like “It’s a Wonderful Life” Bombed at the box office but now is one of the most cherished movies of all time

  • Anon

    I’m so glad you do too, schiesl. Thank goodness we have it on DVD. What you say reminds me of the old saying about geniuses and the exceptionally talented often not being fully appreciated in their own lifetime.

    Reaction here suggests that Oscars may perhaps be just another kind of controversial LV list!!

  • QDV

    (Putting on my glasses and boater hat)

    Chershey, Anon: I thought it was always _Harold Lloyd_ who got the snub when it was time to talk about the early greats. :-D Sure enough, Lloyd got the “We forgot” Honorary Oscar in ’53.

  • Anon


    I felt guilty about Harold Lloyd even as I was writing. Thanks for salving my conscience.

    Lloyd neglectors can be condemned to cling on to a high-building clock hand for eternity.

    A list of such Honorary Oscar ‘conscience’ winners might also be revealing.

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  • dirtyrockerbarbie

    great list, i was surprised to see many of the names. charlie chaplain for sure was a shock.

    what angela landsbury wasn’t nominated for bedknobs and broomsticks? i guess being the woman behind murder she wrote isn’t good enough for the committee. :)

  • Chris

    Stanley Kubrick definitely deserves a place on this list and not just on the bottom in smaill letters.

  • Saint Cad

    Great list except Charlie Chaplin won THREE Oscars, two of which should count. In 1928, his special Oscar for “The Circus” was the Academy’s way of saying the film was so good, no one else would have won if it was in the running for the regular awards. 1971 was an honorary award but in 1972, Chaplin won an honest to goodness non-honorary Oscar for Best Original Score for “Limelight”.

  • schiesl

    which was made in 1952…so i am really confused on it and therefore didnt count it…i think it was more of an honorary oscar then a “real” one

  • Anon

    Alan Bates turned in some pretty nifty performances: ‘Butley’, ‘The Go-Between’, ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’,’The Fixer’ (nominated)and so on.

  • unterrecd

    Angela Lansbury will always be Jessica Fletcher to me. Also, The Birds still scares me to this day.

  • sue

    Leo DiCaprio

  • Iain

    I have to say, I’ve always thought Richard Burton was a giant ham!

  • AmazingThor

    Cary Grant should have won for Philadelphia story instead of Jimmy Stuart. In fact, wasn’t Stuart not even going to the Oscars that year until someone leaked it to him that he was going to win?

  • ohrmets

    QDV and Anon : Harold Lloyd wasn’t “snubbed” by the Oscars. When the Oscars first began, the vast majority of his acting, and certainly his best performances (Safety Last!, The Freshman) had already been done years before. He only had 4-5 acting credits in the Academy Award era, in films that just weren’t as good as his previous works. They couldn’t have given him an award if he was no longer making movies! They did the right thing with the special award later on.

    whatiswrong : D.W. Griffith really wasn’t as bad a racist as everyone has made him out to be. Sure, the undeniable overtones present in “Birth of a Nation” are difficult for modern audiences to defend. But his follow-up film “Intolerance” roundly denounced slavery in an effort to silence his critics. Even more telling is his later work “Broken Blossoms,” which tells the moving story of a romantic relationship between a white woman and a Chinese man. This was made in 1919, well before others in Hollywood seriously explored concepts like interracial marriage (“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” was released in 1967). This article from Slate talks about how Griffith was actually pretty apolitical, certainly not the raving racist modern critics often portray him as.

  • Riya B.

    Regarding this list, I was shocked to learn that Hitchcock never one an Oscar,nor the late,great Charlie Chaplin ( but he did lose a Chaplin look-alike contest so…) but you forgot the greatest actor of all time…ME!!! Granted, I’m still not an actress but I swear I will win one Oscar for those great talents that never got one!

  • QDV

    Ohrmets: Knew that, and agree with you about “the right thing.” Lloyd tends to be forgotten, though, when there are discussions of early comic geniuses like Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin. Pardon me for being loose and fast with my metaphors. :-D

    It IS a crime against humanity, though, that Peter O’Toole doesn’t have an award. :-/

  • ohrmets

    QDV : You’re absolutely right, Lloyd always gets third billing to Chaplin and Keaton, even though they are all great in their own ways. I think Lloyd’s “The Boy” character is often much more relatable than Chaplin or Keaton–he’s always plucky and optimistic, not quite as lamentable and depressing as the Little Tramp.

    And even if the only thing Peter O’Toole ever did was “Lawrence of Arabia,” he would still deserve to be on this list!

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  • Anon

    81, Iain,

    Struggling to disagree.


    Completely unspecialised though I am as a very low-level cinephile, the historical aspect did worry me, so thanks for adding a bit of perspective on Harold Lloyd. Perhaps though it’s simply a good opportunity to trumpet forgotten heroes.

    Presumably people’s concepts of what amounts to a suitable film or role for an Oscar may have changed over the years as well? (A question, not a statement.)

  • Randall

    Oh my god, PLEAZZE… Richard Burton most definitely was NOT one of the “best in Hollywood” and most definitely never DESERVED to win an oscar.

    Please check your facts. And watch some of Burton’s performances. He did a handful that were good. Almost none were of a caliber higher than that. And he did a boatload of performances that were godawful. He was a screeching, overacting ham. But don’t take MY word for it… back in the early 80s Burton was nominated one of the top–if not THE top, memory escapes me now–bad actor of all time by Harry and Michael Medved in their book “The Golden Turkey Awards.” You’ll know Michael Medved from his stint on TV as a film critic. The Medveds are not alone in this appraisal of Burton’s “talents” (or lack thereof). He’s been panned by some of the top critics in the biz, including the ever-tasteful and ever hard-to-please but always on-the-money John Simon. Do not be mistaken by any hack, middlebrow, midcult critics who may have *liked* Burton (Pauline Kael, perhaps? But I don’t know what her opinion of him was) all one need do is watch some of his films, and pretty soon you know you’re in the presence of acting awfulness in line with Victor Mature or John Agar. Worse, in fact, since as the Medveds pointed out, Burton came from a respected background on the stage.

    But on film, he truly sucked.

  • amoondoo

    Albert Finney looks like William Shatner

    good list :-)

  • Tony S

    Charlie Chaplin did win one Oscar (for Best Musical Score) for a film 20 years after it was made. It qualified in the 1970s because it was never shown in Los Angeles for at least one week when it was originally made … a requirement for Oscar.

    Coincidentally, I just created a list on Friday of Fun Facts about Chaplin, else I wouldn’t have known about the Oscar bit.

    You can read more at:

    7 Things You May Not Know About Charlie Chaplin:

  • Anon

    They might create a new occasional (posthumous) Oscar category honouring and commemmorating those who were never honoured, and whom we now consider should have been. Eisenstein would also come immediately to mind. Who would collect their statues though, and where would they be lodged?

  • ohrmets

    Anon : Yes, the Academy’s standards and general notions of what constitutes a great film have certainly changed over the years. The most obvious example is the snubbing of Charlie Chaplin. When the Academy Awards first began, the Academy and Hollywood in general were no longer keen on silent films. The “talkie” age had begun and most in the industry moved to embrace that format, deeming silent films as outdated. This, in part, explains why Chaplin did not win any awards (or even nominations) for two of his greatest works (City Lights and Modern Times).

  • Movie_Fan

    [quote]She’ll most likely win one yet, but so far Kate Winslet has been nominated five times with no wins, which ties her with Olivia de Havilland for noms-w/out-wins. Both would be deserving for sure, though dear Olivia is in her 90’s now.[/quote]

    Hi HS:

    Actually, Olivia de Havilland was nominated for five Oscars —

    1950 — Best Actress — The Heiress (1949)
    1949 — Best Actress — The Snake Pit (1948)
    1947 — Best Actress — To Each His Own (1946)
    1942 — Best Actress — Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
    1940 Best Actress in a Supporting Role — Gone with the Wind (1939)

    and won two:
    The Heiress
    To Each His Own
    (Both EXCELLENT films, btw.)

  • robneiderman

    HAH! That picture of Peter O’Toole makes me think of when Bill Hader did him on Saturday Night Live. “Once, while gloriously drunk, I stole a train!”

  • Clashman320

    Harrison Ford needs to be mentioned here. I believe he was only nominated once for The Witness. Other films include the Star Wars franchise, the Indiana Jones franchise, Patriot Games, and Blade Runner among more.

    Interesting list though.

  • Em

    #8, while I like Angela Lansbury, I highly disagree with the swipe at Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd, which I enjoyed very much. I tried to watch the Broadway with Lansbury, and I just kept thinking of Ms. Potts. And now, I keep thinking of Craig Ferguson going ‘HAS THERE BEEN A MURRRDER?!’
    Just because you didn’t like Burton’s version doesn’t mean you should mention it in an unrelated list.

  • Reza

    Charlie: Oscar is a gift that hold beside door for don’t closed door!

  • RL

    Richard Burton sucks? Sorry Randall but in his WORST performance, he was better than anything Tom Hanks ever did, or will do, for instance – Ever see Burton perform Shakespeare? I thought not – He was peerless –

    Cary Grant was so versatile, everything he did was GREAT. He could play any role, and to perfection consistently. No actor today, none, can even come close to being as good as he was –

    Compare Kate Winslet with Olivia De Havilland? I hope you meant for Academy Award nominations only. If not, it just goes to show you that most people today have no clue about how great the actors of the past were.

    Others mentioned here as deserving Oscars are so laughable: Harrison Ford, Alan Bates, Kevin Bacon, John Cusack, Martin Sheen, Steve Martin (you’ve got to be kidding!), Donald Sutherland, Scarlet Johansen et al. Hey, if they’re your only frame of reference, I feel sorry for what you’ve missed.

    Charles Chaplin was ignored due to the politics of the times and his sordid personal life – some of you lament about Harold Lloyd not winning an Oscar – He was a result of what Chaplin did – Chaplin singlehandedly created an art form in film comedy, whereas, none existed before he came on the scene – everyone else save for Buster Keaton, my personal favorite, was an afterthought. Both Keaton and Chaplin respected each other tremendously, but both actors had totally different styles – Lloyd was mildly funny, but just regurgitated Chaplin. He even knew that.

    This list is pathetic – It’s obvious that it was made with little or no knowledge of truly great actors – Where is Kirk Douglas (Paths Of Glory, The Bad & The Beautiful, Lust For Life, Lonely Are The Brave, not to mention that he gave jobs to blacklisted Hollywood writers like Dalton Trumbo, and insisted that he be billed using his real name in Spartacus – a completely underrated actor)? Tony Curtis? Edward G. Robinson, and many others you failed to list or are not aware of.

    Actors back in the day HAD to be more versatile than the next guy – the competition was fierce – They all could sing, dance, and perform almost any role – they fought their way up from Vaudeville and hundreds of one-night-stands, they tread many boards honing their talents like the professionals they were – the actors of today are all one-dimensional – they find something that works and then play variations of it in every role they take, i. e., Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford – they do not know what it was like to work as hard as actors before them did – Today, you have a hit film and you’re an instant legend……..sad

    Even the character actors of the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s were leaps and bounds better than the top actors on the screen today. No, the bar has been set so low that a hole has been dug to accommodate it for what passes as talent today – How about a list of the greatest character actors of all time – I’ll bet that if you are honestly compiling a list of them, most would be from the Golden Age of cinema (Thomas Mitchell, Walter Brennan, Lionel Barrymore, to name a few). Oh, and by the way, whatever their personal politics were or how bizarre their personal lives were, that should not even figure in with their breadth of work. Old, lovable Walter Brennan was a virulent racist who danced a jig on the set of The Guns of Will Sonnet when informed that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. I still am able to watch and admire him for the superb actor that he was, even though I find him to be personally reprehensible.

  • Anon


    Actors of the past weren’t one-dimensional: John Wayne? Betty Grable?

    Actors of the present are one-dimensional and play variations of it in every role they play: Dustin Hoffman? Meryl Streep?

    Those are examples only. Lists could be compiled from both.

    Have you listened to past actor-laddies trying to speak with pathetic cockney, Scottish or German inflections, by the way, and then listened to the perfect renderings of the same kinds by the likes of Robin Williams and Meryl Streep? How do you suppose the Brit, Hugh Laurie, got chosen to play the American Dr House? Incidentally he also has other, utterly different roles to his credit. (No, I’m not putting him up for an Oscar!)

    Sorry, your post doesn’t in the slightest present itself as objective assessment, even to a minor, part-time film-buff with an enormous admiration for the past such as myself. That doesn’t prevent me from wholeheartedly backing your proposal of Kirk Douglas, for example.

    I’m sure there are many others better qualified to take up the cudgels for modern cinema. This is just to hold the fort.

  • Anon

    By the way, Sweeping generalisations are intellectually lazy and for the most part also tend not be true, except to the *converted*.

    But in particulars, I’m with you all the way on Buster Keaton.

  • DJ

    WTF?!?! Angela Lansbury never got an oscer. i’m only 17 not in here time and knows who she is. she’s an icon. why dosnt she have a oscer?

  • loop

    And, go figure, Walter Brennan was the first actor to win 3 academy awards!

  • Anon


    By the way, some while back, out of sheer laziness, we made the grave mistake of sitting through ‘The Wild Geese’ for the second time in our lives. In which Burton goes through the motions, though of course always better than anything of Hanks. More recently, and with great delight, we watched ‘Big’ again, in which Hanks gives a delicious performance, although always worse than anything Burton did. We shall be watching ‘Big’ again, and perhaps again and again. Poor taste and judgement, of course. We’ll leave ‘The Wild Geese’ for your more discerning palate.

  • DangermouseDavs

    I’m kinda surprised Johnny Depp wasn’t even mentioned.

  • fernbracken

    To my knowledge neither Marlene Dietrich nor Judy Garland received Oscars or honorary Oscars. And Deserved them.

    Alan Bates was a fine fine actor. Can’t figure why anyone would take a mean swipe at him.

    Hitchcock deserved a nomination, at least, for Psycho.

    Rod Taylor. Any nominations? Certainly better actor than that nut job Russell Crowe.
    Roddy McDowell. Any nominations…at least for supporting role?

    Who can figure that Cher gets the Oscar but none of the above. Although she gave a good performance.

  • traceytrae

    i know orson wells is considered a “notable omission”, but being a huge fan of his work, i believe he deserved a spot ont this list. overall nicely done, jf.

  • sgvaibhav

    very few ladies on list

  • schiesl

    There are three ladies on this list, which is more than most. Plus many of the best female actresses have gotten their credit, thank god

  • cb

    Ditto Robert Mitchum

  • Ashleigh

    Hitchcock never won an Oscar?
    Shameful… :|

    And wow Albert Finney
    I’ll only ever remember that guy as Daddy Warbucks xD

  • jen112

    Angela Lansbury must had been great as Ms. Lovett!! BUT I LOVE HBC!

  • Dillard

    Heath Ledger anyone? Although that will most likely change come Oscar time this year.

  • will42

    Stage and screen legend Angela Lansbury is a great actress. Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate is not only her best screen performance, but also one of the greatest female performances ever! It’s a shame she lost her third Oscar nomination to Patty Duke. Ms. Lansbury deserves to be recognized with an Honorary Oscar for her outstanding contribution to the art of film.

  • lilstvsmom

    RL get over your self…you are obviously not a film buff your just a fan of movies that richard burton has done.

  • BridgeTroll

    Hurrah! Finally someone who shares my love for Angela Lansbury’s Ms. Lovett!

  • DAC

    Harrison Ford
    Robert Redford-for acting

  • Angelique

    This is proof that the Oscars are worthless, they don’t even give it to ppl who REALLY deserve it.

  • Moh’d

    Hey there guys…
    i do agree with u about the oscar being a reward for great hits and not for masterpeices , this is shown in how my best films of all time has never won oscars, and actors in roles never won oscars, here is a little list that i want to add, and i want to know what do you think of it?

    Malcolm McDowell, for Alex Delarge in A Clockwork Orange
    Frank Darabont, For Both: the Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption
    Peter Sellers for Dr.StrangeLove
    David Fincher for Seven, and Fight club (Not Even Nominated)
    and ofcorse the most underrated Director in the view of the oscars, Stanly Kubrick…. for atleast 8 of his movies (A Clockwork Orange, Dr.Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Spartacus, Barry Lyndon)…I mean Com on??
    how did this man never won an oscar???
    he produced the best pictures of all time, his brilliancy in directing is just unachievable by any other director and the effect he leaves in his audince !!
    this is my friend few of many people i see who deserve to win oscars

  • I4gotmyMANTRA

    i am in a permenant state of releif that al pacino doesn’t have to be on this list.

  • nuriko

    I heart Angela Lansbury!!! Hope she’ll receive a Lifetime Achievement from the Academy!

  • Bert

    Gotta love Albert Finney! He may still have a shot too if his performances in movies like Big Fish and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead are any indications!

  • Saint Cad

    I just realized a second mistake in this list. Orson Wells is mentioned in the notable ommissions as never having won an Oscar.

    He did for his screenplay of “Citizen Kane”

  • Big Al

    Jim Carrey is the greatest actor without an Oscar

  • dunderminion07

    What about kirk douglass?

  • Tami

    Just repeating my heartfelt agreement – Robert Mitchum!!!

  • hinkle von dinkle

    @ohrmets (11): he did win one, for best visual effects for 2001: a space odyssey. it’s still not enough though.

    similarly, chaplin did win one as well, for best original song for lamplight (i think)

  • shingie

    Edward Norton & Ralph Fiennes deserve an Oscar too. x) But they probably aren’t the best of all time though.

  • Doc

    Given that he had the most nominations, Peter O’Toole should be higher. I think he is more deserving than any of those you listed ahead of him excepting maybe Chaplin (Keep in mind also, comedians do not tend to win Oscars no matter how deserving… Look at Bill Murray in 2003)

  • Andy_Warth

    Where THE HECK IS GARY OLDMAN???? I think he hasn’t even been nominated??? o.O great list as usual :D.

  • mullet

    Everything you need to know about the Oscars: Mira Sorvino has one, Greta Garbo does not.

  • hanta

    I saw Albert Finney and thought “This is going to be a good list”, and then I saw the rest of the list… Failure!

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  • CharlieMaryDoug

    This may be a little nit-picky, but Garbo "the queen of silent film"?!? Are you kidding me? Ever heard of Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Clara Bow, Mabel Normand, Gloria Swanson or Louise Brooks? I think they might have something to say about Garbo's new-found silent monarchy. Garbo was popular in silents, I'll give you, but she couldn't hold a candle to the public addoration of "America's Sweetheart", Mary Pickford. Little Mary was known to cause riots simply by appearing in public. Garbo was just a pretty face who refused to give interviews to build up her "mysterious" image…kinda like Theda Bara, except her career lasted longer.

    • Nakis

      Regarding the great Garbo. If ever there was an influential actress in the history of films this was Garbo. She literally changed the concept of screen acting and the image of women in films and fasion all aorund the world. No one has ever had a more lasting effect in shaping the image of women in films like Garbo. Sure, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford etc were absolutely marvellous, but Garbo was the first popular actress who could appeal equally to men and women and who brought a mature sensuality in her acting, the first truly modern screen actress. She definitely deserved to win the oscar. Shall I name some of her great performances to show that she was much, much more than a pretty face who did not give interviews and thus succeeded in building a mysterious image. Sure, she was mysterious but what made her famous in the first place were her films. She would never have lasted if it were not for her films and scren image which somehow matched and complemented her private image. So some fo her trully great performances: silents: "Flesh and the Devil", "Woman of Affairs", "The mysterious Lady". Talkies "Camille", "Queen Christina, "The painted veil", "Ninotschka", "Anna Karenina" etc. She was the greatest in my opinion and many people thought so as well including other movie greats like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Elia Kazan, Luchino Visconti, Louise Brooks etc

  • Aspartame

    Why is there a picture of Paul McCartney for #8?

    • oliveralbq


      jamie is a busy man, and sometimes he gets rushed and confused.

      but dont worry…… a later list he put a picture of angela landsbury singing 'band on the run', in lead for 'the wings'.

      it all evened out.

  • tbomb

    I don't think the Academy really knows how bad they look never giving Stanley Kubrick an Oscar. A true moviemaking genius!

  • jbjr

    Winslet got hers for the Reader. Depp, Ford, Nick Nolte, Mickey Rourke ……….Never Mind

  • carlota smith

    but albert finney really did won in tom jones,didn't he?

  • Ruth

    As Elizabeth said, Richard truly got robbed by not winning for “Who”s Afraid…” Clearly one of the best performances of all time!

  • Ruthless tooth

    Actually, chaplin got an oscar, lowl.

  • Ash

    I see alot of people saying Chaplin won an Oscar no he didn’t he was nominated numerous time but in what y’all are thinking of is in 1971 he was given an honarary award for his score in “Limelight”. and the score for Godfather would have won but was disqualified. so in short he never actually won an Oscar.

  • Bruno

    some of these were certainly surprises. Alfred hitch once said that actors should be treated like cattle. no wonder he never won an oscar!

  • The R

    Dude, did you seriously give D.W. Griffith a Notable Omission? The reason he probably never one an Oscar is because all of his movies were incredibly racist! Also, how come all your examples are actors who acted between 1930 and 1990? Are you like extremely old or something? There are many newer examples than the people you mentioned…

  • John

    What, Chuck Norris is not on the list????

  • Mackenzie

    Chaplin actually DID win a competitive Oscar. In 1973, Chaplin’s film Limelight was honoured with an Oscar for Best Original Score, which he himself composed.

  • peter8172

    No.2 Alfred Hitchcock never winning an Oscar is both mind blowing as well as stupidity on the part of the Academy Awards committee. Also, did Judy Garland ever win an Oscar ? I’m dying to find out.

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