Oscar winners are inherently popular. Winners are announced at the ceremony, given 45 seconds (or more) to give a speech, and a lot of press is devoted to covering their victory. Even after the Oscars show, coverage is dedicated to them as winners, with numerous retrospectives, lists and discussions centered around their successful achievements.
But what about the people who don’t win? What’s wrong with them? With the 2023 Oscars just around the corner, it’s time to shine the spotlight on those unlucky few who didn’t take home the golden statuette. The phrase “Oscar Loser” sounds harsh, but for these people on this list, it just highlights the injustices of the past. All the actors, actresses, directors, composers and sound engineers should have won at least one Oscar by now, and this list highlights all the great work they’ve done over the years.
8. Wes Anderson (7 nominations)
The Academy has a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, they’ve only nominated the director once in the field he’s best known for, directing. However, it has been nominated seven times in the past two decades in various categories. After being recognized for his original 2001 screenplay The Royal TenenbaumsAnderson was nominated for Best Animated Feature for his 2009 stop-motion film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Another Best Original Screenplay nomination came in 2012 Kingdom of the East of the Moon before the Academy fully embraced him in 2014 for Grand Budapest Hotel.
For that Ralph Fiennes comedy, Anderson received three nominations: Best Original Screenplay (of course), Best Picture, and (finally!) Best Director. It missed all the nominations and returned to recognition for its animated work with its second nod in the Best Animated Feature category of 2018 Isle of Dogs.
7. Richard Burton (7 nominations)
Like his friend and sometimes co-star Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton was always an Oscar best man and never a groomsman. The Welsh actor earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his breakthrough role in 1952 My cousin Rachel. He quickly earned another nomination the following year, this time for Best Actor, in the religious epic The robe.
After spending over a decade toiling on the stage, Burton dominated the 1960s with three consecutive nominations from 1964 to 1966 for Beckett, The spy who came in from the coldand Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Another Best Actor nomination for Anna of the Thousand Days 1969 ended the decade on a high. There would be only one more nomination, for its theatrical adaptation Equusin Burton’s last decade as an actor.
6. Glenn Close (8 nominations)
It’s hard to believe that Glenn Close has never won an Oscar. It’s harder and sadder to believe that she’s better known now as an Oscar loser than as a respected stage and screen actress. Chloe received her first Academy Award nomination for her film debut in 1982 The world according to Garp. After two more consecutive Best Supporting Actress nominations for 1983 The Big Chill and of 1984 The naturalthen graduated in the Lead category with nods for 1987 Fatal attraction and of 1988 Dangerous Links.
She should have won for the second one, if only to give an epic Oscar speech, but she came up short and had to wait 23 years for her next nomination in 2011 Albert Nobbs. After another seven years, he had his best shot at a win in 2018 The wife but fell victim to one of the biggest Oscar upsets when Olivia Colman won The favorite. Two years later, she received a humongous nomination for her supporting work in the awesome 2020s. Hillbilly Elegybut even she seemed tired of the whole thing and seemed grateful to lose to a worthy winner, Yoon Jung for Minary.
5. Peter O’Toole (8 nominations)
Peter O’Toole was one of the finest actors of his generation and was one of the rare actors to receive nominations in four different decades. In the 1960s, he received Best Actor nominations for his impressive work in 1962 Lawrence of Arabia1964 Beckett (with fellow Oscar loser Richard Burton), 1968 The lion in winterand the 1969 musical remake Goodbye, Mr. Chips. The 1970s had only one nomination for the 1972 satire The ruling classbut rightfully lost to Marlon Brando’s iconic work in the The Godfather that year.
In the 1980s O’Toole made a brief comeback with nominated works in the 1980s The Stunt Man and of 1982 My favorite year before nearly a quarter of a century passed before it was proposed again. After receiving an honorary Oscar in 2002, O’Toole managed another best actor nod for the emotional drama Aphrodite in 2006.
4. Bradley Cooper (9 nominations)
It’s kind of surprising to see Bradley Cooper on this list for a number of reasons. The first is that it’s hard to believe that the successful Cooper is a “loser” and the second is that while he’s still at the peak of his career, he’s already racked up an impressive number of nominations. This is largely due to his considerable talents as an actor, writer and producer. He received his first Best Actor nomination for 2012 Silver Linings Playbook and his second nomination, for Best Supporting Actor, a year later for American Hustle. He then had a huge hit with 2014 American sniperwhich earned him a nod for Best Actor and Best Picture.
He received multiple nominations for Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2018 remake A star Is Born, and many expected it to be nominated for Best Director as well. It then received two more Best Picture nominations: for 2018 Joker and, perhaps most surprisingly, for 2021 Nightmare Alley remake by Guillermo Del Toro, which failed at the box office.
3. Paul Thomas Anderson (11 nominations)
As one of the most respected directors of his generation, you’d think Paul Thomas Anderson would have earned something by now. The Academy has always loved him, nominating him for the original screenplays for his second (1997 Boogie Nights) and third (1999 Magnolia) movies. After ignoring Adam Sandler’s 2002 dark comedy-romance Punch-Drunk Lovethey embraced in 2007 There will be bloodwhich earned him nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Although it snubbed Best Director for 2014 Native Vice, was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. For the masterpiece of 2017 Phantom Thread, received recognition for Best Director and Best Picture. Just last year, the Academy spread the love again, nominating his Southern California coming-of-age story for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay Licorice pizza.
2. Thomas Newman (15 nominations)
It’s not just movie stars and directors who snub. They are people behind the camera who are also ignored by the Academy. Thomas Newman, a prolific film composer, comes from a family of Academy Award winners, as his father Alfred Newman and his cousin Randy have both received Academy Awards. Thomas wasn’t so lucky, winning Best Original Score for the following films: The Shawshank Redemption, Little women, Chords Heroes, american beauty, Road to destruction, Finding Nemo, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, The good German, WALL-E, Skyfall, Saving Mr. Banks, Bridge of Spies, Passengers, and 1917.
Newman also earned a nomination in the Best Song category for WALL-E ballad Down to earth, which he wrote with pop singer Peter Gabriel. Both lost to Slumdog Millionairehis catchy song Jai Ho by AR Rahman.
1. Greg P. Russell (17 nominations)
Chances are you’ve never heard of Greg P. Russell. That’s okay, because the sound engineer works behind the scenes in a low-profile category: sound. Over the years, the Academy has dedicated a category or two to the craft, and Russell has been nominated for 17 Oscars. He was nominated for Best Sound in 1989 for Black rain1996 for The rock1997 for Con Air1998 for both Zoro’s mask and Armageddon2000 for The Patriot2001 for Michael Bay’s saga Pearl Harborand 2002 for Spiderman.
It was nominated for Best Sound Mixing in 2004 Spider-Man 22005 for Memoirs of a Geisha2006 for Revelation2007 for Transformers2009 for continuity Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen2010 for the Angelina Jolie action film Salt2011 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon2012 for Skyfalland in 2016 for 13 Hours. The Academy rescinded the latest nomination because Russell had violated Oscar campaign rules. Still counting it though.