Richard Gere has been in several Oscar nominated films but has always been ignored by the Academy for reasons unknown. Having been nominated for four Golden Globes (winning one) as well as an Emmy, Gere has been somehow snubbed, despite turning in great performances in such Oscar-friendly films as An Officer and a Gentleman, Days of Heaven, and Chicago.
Martin Sheen has been pretty much nominated for and won almost every kind of acting award there is. Still, despite many memorable performances (including the playing lead in one of the greatest films of all time, Apocalypse Now) he has never been nominated for an Oscar. It probably does not bother him personally though, as Mr. Sheen has stated in the past that he does not believe that actors should compete against each other for awards.
Starting out as a horror movie scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis eventually moved into more prestigious territory, having been nominated for five Golden Globes (winning two), two BAFTAs (winning one), and an Emmy. Her comedic roles in Trading Places and A Fish Called Wanda were both critically acclaimed and considering her Wanda co-star Kevin Kline took home the Oscar, it's a surprise that she wasn't even nominated.
A lot of comedy has its roots in drama. Comedic actors are often very capable dramatic actors, as evidenced by the likes of Robin Williams, Steve Carell and Bill Murray. Jim Carrey definitely has dramatic chops, but has been ignored for critically acclaimed dramatic roles in films such as Man On the Moon, The Truman Show, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It seems that the Academy might be afraid of awarding him an Oscar, probably because he might give his acceptance speech by talking out of his own butt.
Sam Rockwell is one of those actors you look forward to seeing in everything because he always makes the absolute best of his part. Giving Oscar worthy performances in both Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Moon, Rockwell is way overdue for some love from the Academy. If only they gave Oscars for best dancing in a movie, then Rockwell and Christopher Walken would compete every year.
Marilyn Monroe is probably the most well known female actress in the history of film, but this is more due to her image, personality, social life, and premature passing. Disregarding all those things, she was actually a pretty good actress who won three Golden Globes and gave some great performances in several now legendary films like Some Like It Hot.
Jean Luc Godard is considered by many to be one of the most important filmmakers of all time and one of the founders of the French New Wave film movement of the 1960s. He completely changed filmmaking, and his influence is felt throughout cinema even today. That being said, he has never been nominated for a competitive Oscar and when the Academy tried to award him an honorary one, he declined to accept it, stating that he believed that the Academy had not even seen any of his films.
One of the greatest villain actors of all time, Alan Rickman is known to multiple generations of filmgoers as Hans Gruber from Die Hard and Severus Snape from the Harry Potter films. Rickman has won or been nominated for a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, an Emmy, a Tony and a SAG award, but never an Oscar. He has also been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Maria Bello has been acting for over 20 years and has been nominated for numerous awards, but has never seen been recognized by the Academy. This is despite excellent performances in films such as The Cooler, Thank You For Smoking, and A History of Violence. At the same time, she did appear in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which might be a career stain that may never wash out.
Having been nominated for four Golden Globes and winning one Emmy, Jeff Daniels is a very talented actor. With his gig on The Newsroom having just come to an end, it will be interesting to see if he parlays his current status into some Oscar-friendly film roles. He clearly has the acting chops as demonstrated by his classic Dumb and Dumber diarrhea scene.
Ridiculously popular, likable and cool, Jeff Goldblum is pretty much the opposite of what the stuffy Oscars like. Despite giving excellent performances in pretty much everything he's in, Goldblum has been ignored. Part of this might have to due with the fact that Goldblum tends to primarily appear in awesome genre movies, a category the Academy doesn't seem to care for. This is the only explanation for his lack of a nomination for his incredible performance in The Fly. Editor's Note: Technically Goldblum has been nominated for an Oscar for directing a short film, but for our purposes we're not counting that.
If you need someone to fully commit to a role and portray the more unpleasant parts of humanity, Jennifer Jason Leigh is your go-to actress. To give you some context, in order to play a girl suffering from anorexia, she once fasted until she weighed only 86 pounds. She'll soon be starring in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming, The Hateful Eight, and Tarantino has a habit of snagging his actors nominations, so here's to hoping she finally gets her due.
Just look at that photo. Brian De Palma is the guy in the middle. All those other directors consider him to be their peer or contemporary. They've all been nominated for Oscars except De Palma. That has seriously gotta suck. Carrie and The Untouchables are awesome.
Sergio Leone is the man who single handedly saved the Western, influenced countless filmmakers and made Clint Eastwood a star. Two of his Spaghetti Westerns, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Once Upon A Time In the West are widely considered to be two of the greatest movies ever made. Ironically, Leone achieved his success when foreign films were often dismissed by the Academy as cheap. Were he directing today, it's obvious that the Academy would be showering him with accolades simply for being from another country and making period pieces.
At one point, everything Meg Ryan touched turned to gold. She was America's Sweetheart (before that terrible movie with the same name came out) and was critically acclaimed, having been nominated for several awards. In particular, her classic role in When Harry Met Sally... had many predicting her to receive an Oscar nom, but it never happened.
Ewan McGregor's performance in Trainspotting is absolutely Oscar-worthy -- let's get that out of the way right now. The same argument could be said of his performance in Big Fish. Luckily, Ewan is still only in his early 40s, so he's got plenty of time to prove himself to the Academy.
The popularity of dramatic television these days has led to a lot of under-appreciated actors getting a lot of the success they deserve. Steve Buscemi's performance on Boardwalk Empire is a great example of this. But if you've been following Buscemi's career, you already know what a great actor he is, with great performances in Reservoir Dogs, Fargo, and Ghost World, among others.
Right behind Marilyn Monroe on the list of most recognizable classic ladies is Rita Hayworth. Hayworth's pictures are so famous that they inspired the novella and film, The Shawshank Redemption. Hayworth led a tumultuous life but still found time to turn in stellar performances in films like Gilda and Orson Welles', The Lady from Shanghai. She may never have been nominated for an Oscar, but the American Film Institute appreciates her skill, placing her on their list of the top 100 screen legends of all time.
John Cusack made the transition from teen heartthrob to leading man pretty smoothly. He's starred in some very critically acclaimed stuff over the years like High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich, The Grifters, and The Thin Red Line. Lately though, his career has devolved into a lot of direct-to-DVD stuff. Still, it's clear that when he wants to, Cusack can command the screen, and we're sure he's got a few great performances left in him.
You can connect Kevin Bacon to a lot of Oscar nominees, but he himself isn't one. Despite having acted in such movies as Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, Mystic River, JFK, and A Few Good Men, Bacon has consistently been the odd man out. He was name checked in Guardians of the Galaxy though, which is a lot cooler than winning an Oscar.
Mia Farrow has been nominated for five Golden Globes, two BAFTAs, and was the first American ever to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her performances in films like Rosemary's Baby, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose, Zelig, Alice, and Hannah and Her Sisters were all very critically acclaimed, but somehow, she came up empty on Oscar night.
Donald Sutherland is one of the most respected actors of his generation. He's been nominated for pretty much every award there is, but an Oscar has always eluded him. His performance in the film Ordinary People was somehow ignored, despite the fact that the Academy nominated two Best Supporting Actors from the film along with a Best Actress. That almost seems like spite.
In a perfect world, both Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis would have been nominated for Oscars for Die Hard. It is pretty much a perfect movie, and Willis gives a complete (at the time) against type performance, but the Academy can't seem to get past movies that go boom. Even taking away Die Hard, Bruce has been in several other great movies, like 12 Monkeys and Moonrise Kingdom. The biggest oversight is his lack of a nomination for The Sixth Sense, which, despite the fall of M. Night Shyamalan, remains a fantastic movie.
Scarlett Johansson is an extremely talented actress. She's so good that her entirely voice-over role in the film, Her, led to consideration of Scarlett being nominated for the Best Actress Oscar despite never even appearing onscreen in the film. She's already won a Tony, a BAFTA, and has been nominated for four Golden Globes even though she's only 30 years old. We won't be surprised to see her removed from this list in the next couple of years.
John Goodman has won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and has been nominated for countless other awards. He could have been Oscar-nominated for his performances in pretty much any Coen Bros. film in which he appears, and no one would argue. Outside of the Coens, he's turned in stellar performances in movies like Flight, Argo, and The Artist. The Coen Bros should just make a movie where he and Steve Buscemi are the leads -- that way they both get nominated.