The 24 actors who have gotten the most Oscar nominations without winning one

SonySaoirse Ronan in ‘Little Women’
  • The Oscars have repeatedly nominated and neglected numerous actors.
  • Saoirse Ronan lost for the fourth time this year.
  • Joaquin Phoenix and Brad Pitt turned their luck around with acting wins on Sunday, though.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Each year, deserving performances lose out in the Oscars’ best acting categories. But there are a handful of great actors that the Academy has repeatedly nominated and neglected.

This year, Saoirse Ronan was nominated for the fourth time for “Little Women,” but lost the lead actress Oscar to Renée Zellweger, who won her second Oscar on Sunday.

Joaquin Phoenix and Brad Pitt turned their luck around this year, though. They both scored their first acting wins on their fourth nomination, Phoenix for lead actor for “Joker” and Pitt for supporting actor for “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.”

Others haven’t been so lucky.

Amy Adams (six nominations) and Glenn Close (seven nominations) lost last year to Regina King and Olivia Colman in the supporting actress and lead actress categories, respectively.

Both Bradley Cooper and Willem Dafoe were nominated for their fourth acting Oscars last year (Cooper has a total of seven nominations including for producing “American Sniper” and “A Star is Born,” and writing “A Star Is Born”). Both lost in the best actor race to Rami Malek for his performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

And all-time great Peter O’Toole, unfortunately, had it even worse.

John Lynch contributed to a previous version of this post.

Here are the 24 actors who have been nominated for at least four acting Oscars without winning once:

Saoirse Ronan — 4 nominations

Sony‘Little Women’

Best actress nominations: “Brooklyn” (2015), “Lady Bird” (2017), “Little Women” (2019)

Best supporting actress nominations: “Atonement” (2007)

Bradley Cooper — 4 nominations

Warner Bros.‘A Star Is Born’

Best actor nominations: “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012), “American Sniper” (2014), “A Star Is Born” (2018)

Best supporting actor nominations: “American Hustle” (2013)

Willem Dafoe — 4 nominations

CBS Films

Best actor nominations: “At Eternity’s Gate” (2018)

Best supporting actor nominations: “Platoon” (1986), “Shadow of a Vampire” (2000), “The Florida Project” (2017)

Michelle Williams — 4 nominations

Alliance Vivafilm‘My Week with Marilyn.’

Best actress nominations: “Blue Valentine” (2010), “My Week with Marilyn” (2011)

Best supporting actress nominations: “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), “Manchester by the Sea” (2016)

Barbara Stanwyck — 4 nominations

Samuel Goldwyn Productions‘Ball of Fire.’

Best actress nominations: “Stella Dallas” (1937), “Ball of Fire” (1941), “Double Indemnity” (1944), “Sorry, Wrong Number” (1948)

Stanwyck received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1981.

Rosalind Russell — 4 nominations

Warner Bros.‘Auntie Mame.’

Best actress nominations: “My Sister Eileen” (1942), “Sister Kenny” (1946), “Mourning Becomes Electra” (1947), “Auntie Mame” (1958)

Mickey Rooney — 4 nominations

United Artists‘The Black Stallion.’

Best actor nominations: “Babe in Arms” (1939), “The Human Comedy” (1943)

Best supporting actor nominations: “The Bold and the Brave” (1956), “The Black Stallion” (1979)

Rooney received the since-discontinued Academy Juvenile Award in 1938 and the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1982.

Claude Rains — 4 nominations

Warner Bros.‘Casablanca.’

Best supporting actor nominations: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Casablanca (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944), Notorious (1946)

Ed Harris — 4 nominations

Sony Pictures Classic‘Pollock.’

Best actor nomination: “Pollock” (2000)

Best supporting actor nominations: “Apollo 13” (1995), “The Truman Show” (1998), “The Hours” (2002)

Agnes Moorehead — 4 nominations

20th Century Fox‘Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.’

Best supporting actress nominations: “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942), “Mrs. Parkington” (1944), “Johnny Belinda” (1948), “Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (1964)

Marsha Mason — 4 nominations

Warner Bros.‘The Goodbye Girl.’

Best actress nominations: “Cinderella Liberty” (1973), “The Goodbye Girl” (1977), “Chapter Two” (1979), “Only When I Laugh” (1981)

Montgomery Clift — 4 nominations

Paramount Pictures‘A Place in the Sun.’

Best actor nominations: “The Search” (1948), “A Place in the Sun” (1951), “From Here to Eternity” (1953)

Best supporting actor nomination: “Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961)

Charles Boyer — 4 nominations


Best actor nominations: “Conquest” (1937), “Algiers” (1938), “Gaslight” (1944), “Fanny” (1961)

Annette Bening — 4 nominations

DreamWorks Pictures‘American Beauty.’

Best actress nominations: “American Beauty” (1999), “Being Julia” (2004), “The Kids Are All Right” (2010)

Best supporting actress nomination: “The Grifters” (1990)

Jane Alexander — 4 nominations

20th Century Fox‘The Great White Hope.’

Best actress nominations: “The Great White Hope” (1970), “Testament” (1983)

Best supporting actress nominations: “All the President’s Men” (1976), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979)

Arthur Kennedy — 5 nominations

Universal Pictures‘Bright Victory.’

Best actor nomination: “Bright Victory” (1951)

Best supporting actor nominations: “Champion” (1949), “Trial” (1955), “Peyton Place” (1957), “Some Came Running” (1958)

Albert Finney — 5 nominations

Universal Pictures‘Under The Volcano.’

Best actor nominations: “Tom Jones” (1963), “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974), “The Dresser” (1983), “Under the Volcano” (1984)

Best supporting actor nomination: “Erin Brockovich” (2000)

Irene Dunne — 5 nominations

RKO Pictures‘I Remember Mama.’

Best actress nominations: “Cimarron” (1931), “Theodora Goes Wild” (1936), “The Awful Truth” (1937), “Love Affair” (1939), “I Remember Mama” (1948)

Amy Adams — 6 nominations

Annapurna Pictures‘Vice’

Best actress nomination: “American Hustle” (2013)

Best supporting actress nominations: “Junebug” (2005), “Doubt” (2008), “The Fighter” (2010), “The Master” (2012), “Vice” (2018)

Thelma Ritter — 6 nominations

United Artists‘Birdman of Alcatraz.’

Best supporting actress nominations: “All About Eve” (1950), “The Mating Season” (1951), “With a Song in My Heart” (1952), “Pickup on South Street” (1953), “Pillow Talk” (1959), “Birdman of Alcatraz” (1962)

Deborah Kerr — 6 nominations

Warner Bros.‘The Sundowners.’

Best actress nominations: “Edward, My Son” (1949), “From Here to Eternity” (1953), “The King and I” (1956), “Heaven Knows, Mr Allison” (1957), “Separate Tables” (1958), “The Sundowners” (1960)

Kerr received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1994.

Glenn Close — 7 nominations

Sony Pictures Classics‘The Wife’

Best actress nominations: “Fatal Attraction” (1987), “Dangerous Liaisons” (1988), “Albert Nobbs” (2011), “The Wife” (2018)

Best supporting actress nominations: “The World According to Garp” (1982), “The Big Chill” (1983), “The Natural” (1984)

Richard Burton — 7 nominations

Warner Bros.‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’

Best actor nominations: “The Robe” (1954), “Becket” (1964), “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” (1965), “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966), “Anne of the Thousand Days” (1969), “Equus” (1977)

Best supporting actor nomination: “My Cousin Rachel” (1952)

Peter O’Toole — 8 nominations

Columbia Pictures‘Lawrence of Arabia.’

Best actor nominations: “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), “Becket” (1964), “The Lion in Winter” (1968), “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1969), “The Ruling Class “(1972), “The Stunt Man” (1980), “My Favourite Year” (1982), “Venus” (2006)

O’Toole received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 2002.

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