Never Won an Oscar: The Actors

Pantages Never Won an Oscar

With the Academy Awards ceremony coming up this Sunday, February 22, we decided to take a look at some of the best actors and actresses who never won an Oscar for their acting talents. In this gallery, we’ve collected images of a number of actors who either were nominated but never managed to claim the coveted golden statuette, and those who weren’t even honored with a nomination.

There are exceptions, though.

We’ve listed several actors who were eventually given Honorary Oscars for various career achievements. Although this is significant, let’s be honest: it’s not the same as a competitive Academy Award. Also there are a few actors who never won a competitive Oscar for their work most likely due to the fact that the bulk of their careers happened before the first Academy Award ceremony in 1929 (which honored films made in 1927-28). You’ll also find there are some who won competitive Oscars in other areas, such as original screenplay and musical score, but not in the acting category. Every actor on this list except for two (Albert Finney and Kirk Douglas) are no longer in the acting business because they’re no longer with us.

Here are 32 actors who never won an Oscar…but should have. Stay tuned for Never Won an Oscar, Pt. II: The Actresses.

Featured: Albert Finney, Cary Grant, Charles Boyer, Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Maurice Chevalier, Arthur Kennedy, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Edward G. Robinson, Buster Keaton, Fred MacMurray, James Garner, John Barrymore, Richard Burton, John Garfield, Kirk Douglas, Montgomery Clift, Orson Welles, Claude Rains, Leslie Howard, Mickey Rooney, Errol Flynn, James Mason, Peter O’Toole, Robert Mitchum, William Powell, Joel McCrea, Fred Astaire, Peter Sellers, Joseph Cotten, Dana Andrews,  & Peter Lorre. 
About Jill Blake 65 Articles
Jill Blake is a writer and researcher based in Atlanta, GA. She is the co-editor of The Retro Set and the co-host of the podcast DWT: Drinking While Talking. Jill has written for various outlets including Indicator, Netflix Film, Turner Classic Movies, and FilmStruck. She is currently writing a book on stage and screen actors Fredric March and Florence Eldridge.


  1. Some of those mentioned have received honorary Oscars. William Powell is so deserving of one. Just 1936 could be enough of a case for one, but his body of work really is amazing.

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