Every year the Academy Awards are full of surprises and, on the other end of the spectrum, a fair amount of "sure-things". This year is no exception as safe bets include first-time acting winners to-be include Julianne Moore (Still Alice), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and Patricia Arquette (Boyhood). Not to mention another first time winner coming out of the Best Actor category, whether it be Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) or the potential spoiler, Bradley Cooper (American Sniper).
The Oscars always seem to provide plenty of first-time winners, that's why it's so shocking to pinpoint all of the gifted actors and actresses who have somehow managed to elude a prestigious Academy Awards victory. Hence, for February's Movie List of the Month I take a look at Hollywood's top 10 biggest stars who have never won an Oscar (click here for January's List).
Honorable Mention: Glenn Close, Robert Downey Jr., Ralph Fiennes, Joaquin Phoenix and Sigourney Weaver.
#10. Will Smith
The two-time Oscar Nominated star was once revered as the "King of Hollywood" after an impressive stretch of money-printing summer blockbusters in the late 90s. However, Smith has surprisingly never won an Oscar or fared well with the Academy whatsoever. His biggest opportunity at a gold statue came in 2007 when he lost for his role in The Pursuit of Happyness to Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland).
#9. Harrison Ford
Best known for hit franchises such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones as well as a brief stint as the iconic literary character, Jack Ryan, Harrison Ford is another Hollywood star who has never garnered much appreciation from the Academy. Having only been nominated once for his role in 1984's Witness, Ford ultimately lost out to Willian Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman) and has yet to make it back to the Oscars.
#8. Brad Pitt
Heartthrob Brad Pitt actually possess some exceptional acting skills, as illustrated by his trio of acting nominations. Unfortunately for Pitt, he's forced to fill this void with an Oscar win as producer of the Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave. Pitt's most upsetting defeat came as recently as 2012 when he lost for his role in Moneyball to Jean Dujardin's silent performance in The Artist.
#7. Bill Murray
It's impossible to ignore the great Bill Murray's comedic talents, but the versatile actor has proven that he has a knack for the dramatics as well. Murray's lone nomination came in 2004 for his work in the Sofia Coppola drama, Lost in Translation, where he was eventually beaten by Sean Penn (for another over-acted role in Mystic River).
#6. Annette Bening
While it's a widely-regarded fact that there are far more promising roles for men than women on a yearly basis, one actress that's failed to collect on a long overdue Oscar statue is Annette Bening. The four-time nominee still hasn't won "the big one" yet, but 2011's showcase was her most promising opportunity (for The Kids are All Right). Although she ultimately lost out to Natalie Portman in a deserving win for Black Swan, the Academy usually votes against darker-themed work, but not that time!
#5. Johnny Depp
Many will call into question Johnny Depp's versatility, as he regularly reprises similar characters in the many Tim Burton works which he's featured. However, no one can dispute his unforgettable turn as Captain Jack Sparrow in the original Pirates of the Caribbean. Much like the previously mentioned Bill Murray, the three-time nominated star's best chance at a win came in 2004 where Captain Jack Sparrow lost out to an undeserving Sean Penn.
#4. Tom Cruise
As one of my personal favorite actors of all-time, Tom Cruise also suffers from the same type-casted label that plagues Johnny Depp. But despite Cruise's pretty-boy stigma, the actor has earned himself a trio of nominations from the Academy throughout his long and prestigious career. The closest he's ever come to winning the highly coveted honor was in 1997 when Cruise (Jerry Maguire) fell to Geoffrey Rush (Shine). Don't worry, Tom. I still believe you're going to win one someday!
#3. Edward Norton
Edward Norton's career kicked off in grand fashion when he earned an Oscar Nomination for his first feature film, a brilliant role in the court-room thriller Primal Fear. After losing that year to Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), we all believed Norton would be an Oscar regular for the remainder of his career. Yet, Norton has come and gone in recent years, usually with exceptional work though. For example, he's the only entrant from this list with a chance at changing history for this year's role in Birdman. Although he's nominated and one of the top contenders, a win seems almost assured for his biggest competitor, J.K. Simmons. In fact, Norton should have won already for his turn in the drama American History X, but instead lost to Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) in 1999.
#2. Robert Redford
Upon doing my research for this list, I was utterly shocked to discover that the legendary talent, Robert Redford, had never won an Academy Award for acting. Equally mystifying is the fact that's he's only been nominated once, and that was in 1974 for The Sting. Another iconic performer, Jack Lemmon, took home the statue that year for his role in Save the Tiger, but I'm sure everyone believed Redford would have plenty of opportunities in his career. Unfortunately, the aging veteran refuses to play the campaigning game and it has hurt his chances as recently as last year for his gutsy portrayal in All Is Lost.
#1. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is the actor that lists like this are made for. The mega-star has garnered four Oscar Nominations without ever leaving the ceremony victorious, and it's truly an unjust reality. DiCaprio churns out spectacular work on almost a yearly basis, yet the Academy has yet to reward such a talented performer. Much like Will Smith who fell victim to Forest Whitaker in 2007, that was DiCaprio's year to win. Leo gave a brilliant turn as Danny Archer in Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond, but he was overlooked yet again. Although we can all anticipate that Leo's "big win" is coming, and hopefully soon, it's a major surprise that he (along with all of these other major talents) still hasn't claimed Oscar glory.