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    16 Brilliant Actors Who Have Shockingly Never Been Nominated For An Academy Award

    There are snubs and then there are SNUBS.

    1. Cameron Diaz

    Cameron Diaz with frizzy hair and bad skin in being john malkovich
    / ©USA Films/courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

    Active from: 1994–today

    Bio: The model turned actor is a top draw at the box office, with her films — including There's Something About Mary, Charlie's Angels, and Bad Teacher — grossing over $3 billion total. A great comic actor, she can also handle difficult, dramatic roles.

    Biggest snub: 1999's Being John Malkovich. The Academy nominated Charlie Kaufman for Best Original Screenplay and Catherine Keener for Best Supporting Actress, but — not to take anything away from Keener, who was fantastic — Diaz brought to life a more difficult and heartbreaking role as a woman who was awakened to her true gender identity after being inside the mind of John Malkovich. Despite being passed over by the Academy, she was nominated by the BAFTA Awards and the Screen Actors Guild.

    Diaz in the trailer for Being John Malkovich

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    ryy79 / youtube.com

    2. Jim Carrey

    Jim Carrey on stage as Andy Kaufman in man on the moon
    Universal Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection

    Active from: 1986–today

    Bio: Arguably the biggest comedy star of the '90s, Carrey starred on the popular sketch show In Living Color before headlining hit films like Ace Ventura: Pet DetectiveThe MaskDumb and Dumber, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He also starred in acclaimed, Academy Award–nominated dramatic films like The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    Biggest snub: 1999's Man on the Moon. Carrey received near universal praise for his uncannily on-point and moving performance as Andy Kaufman, the outrageous, real-life comic performance artist and actor who died of cancer at just 35, but he was passed over at the Oscars despite being nominated by the Screen Actors Guild and winning Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes.

    Here, Carrey as Kaufman squares off against wrestler Jerry Lawler on Late Night with David Letterman in Man on the Moon:

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    Movieclips / youtube.com

    3. Jennifer Lopez

    Lopez stripping on stage with a pole in hustlers
    Barbara Nitke / © STX Entertainment / courtesy Everett Collection

    Active from: 1983–today

    Bio: Like Carrey, Lopez made her start on In Living Color (as a dancer) before transitioning into being a massive star able to both drop hit songs (like "If You Had My Love" and "Jenny on the Block") and impress on the big screen (in films like Out of Sight and The Wedding Planner).

    Biggest snub: Yes, Lopez being passed over for Selena was pretty egregious, but her biggest snub was for 2019's Hustlers, where she played a New York City stripper who pulls a grift on her customers. She was honored by film critic's associations across the country — plus nominated by the Screen Actor's Guild and Golden Globes — but somehow left off the list of Oscar noms.

    Here's an emotional scene where Lopez realizes her scheme is crashing down around her in Hustlers:

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    Jennifer Lopez Network / youtube.com

    4. John Turturro

    Turturro wearing a suit and headphones a contestant in the quiz show
    Buena Vista Pictures / ©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Active from: 1980–today

    Bio: A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Turturro is regarded as an actor's actor and one of the best around. He first made his mark in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and the Coen brothers' early films (Miller's Crossing and Barton Fink), but later branched out from drama to appear in three Adam Sandler movies and The Big Lebowski.

    Biggest snub: 1994's Quiz Show — about the real-life cheating scandal that rocked quiz shows in the '50s — was a critical fave and earned four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. But Turturro's brilliant, fiery performance as Herb Stempel, the nebbish quiz contestant pushed aside for a more suave one, was ignored despite being honored elsewhere.

    Here, Turturro is told he has plateaued as a contestant and that the producers want him to take a dive in Quiz Show:

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    Josh Busfield aka bitterphase / youtube.com

    5. Kerry Washington

    A pregnant Washington and Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in the film ray
    Universal / ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Active from: 2000–today

    Bio: Washington is best known for playing Olivia Pope on the wildly popular television series Scandal, for which she was twice nominated for an Emmy. She's no stranger to movies either, having performed key roles in The Last King of Scotland, Ray, and Django Unchained, three highly acclaimed films the Academy loved...and awarded Oscars to her costars.

    Biggest snub: 2004's Ray. Jamie Foxx was terrific as soul singer Ray Charles and deserved his Academy Award for Best Actor, but some of his most dramatic scenes were opposite Washington, who played his long-suffering wife. She brought palpable emotion to her performance and helped elevate the fine work Foxx was doing even more.  

    Here, Washington discovers her husband is again using drugs in Ray:

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    kerry-washington.us / youtube.com

    6. Steve Buscemi

    Buscemi sitting on a couch in a bland robe in ghost world
    Mgm / ©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Active from: 1985–today

    Bio: The instantly recognizable and wonderfully idiosyncratic actor is a favorite of the Coen brothers (who have put him in five of their films, including Fargo), Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), and even Adam Sandler (Billy Madison and about a dozen more), but he may be best known for his Emmy-nominated turn as the lead of HBO's Boardwalk Empire

    Biggest snub: 2001's Ghost World. The film adaptation of Daniel Clowes' graphic novel — about a couple recent high school graduates who prank a lonely, middle-aged nerd played by Buscemi and then become his friend — is one of Buscemi's most affecting performances (and that's saying a lot). Critics loved the movie (it has a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and Buscemi was named Best Supporting Actor by The Chicago Film Critic's Association, The National Society of Film Critics, The New York Film Critic's Circle, The Toronto Film Critics Association, and The Independent Spirit Awards. But the Oscars didn't even nominate him. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Here, Buscemi has a disastrous night that reminds him he can't relate to most people:

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    Alexander The Great Stan Shady Arnold Stallone / youtube.com

    7. Kirsten Dunst

    Dunst looking sad in a stunning wedding gown in the movie melancholia
    Magnolia Pictures / ©Magnolia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Active from: 1989–today

    Bio: Dunst was arguably the biggest child star of the '90s (not named Culkin) thanks to her star turns in the massive hits Interview with the Vampire and Jumanji. She easily transitioned to a teen star (Bring It On) and then to acclaimed adult actor (On Becoming a God in Central Florida) without ever losing her ability to effortlessly convey both bubbly happiness and deep, deep sadness.

    Biggest snub: Dunst was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes for her breakout performance in Interview with a Vampire, and many were surprised when she wasn't nominated at the Academy Awards, but her biggest snub had to be for 2011's Melancholia, about a bride preparing for her wedding as news comes that a rogue planet is coming to collide with — and destroy — Earth. Dunst's emotion-filled performance won Best Actress at the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival and she was later named the year's Best Actress by The US National Society of Film Critics, but when the Oscar nominations were announced, Dunst's name wasn't called.

    Here, Dunst and her sister try to come to terms with their impending deaths in Melancholia:

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    Movieclips / youtube.com

    8. Alan Rickman

    Rickman angry as the sheriff of nottingham in robin hood prince of thieves
    Warner Bros.

    Active from: 1988-2016

    Bio: From his film debut as the immortal baddie Hans Gruber in Die Hard, to his equally unforgettable performances in Love, Actually and the Harry Potter film series, the British actor never failed to command the screen. A member of The Royal Shakespeare Company, Rickman was also a Tony-nominated stage actor and Emmy Award winner for Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.

    Biggest snub: 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I mean, you could say the Academy most blew it by not recognizing his work in Die Hard or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 (his performance as Severus Snape was highly lauded and truly Oscar-worthy), but their passing over Rickman for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham was unconscionable. This retelling of Robin Hood was overlong and plagued by Kevin Costner playing the title role with an American accent, but it nevertheless became a massive worldwide hit, largely thanks to Rickman's villain performance for the ages. He won Best Actor in a Supporting role at The British Academy Film Awards, but was ignored stateside.

    Here, Rickman angrily reacts upon learning that Robin Hood is giving the money he steals to the poor in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves:

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    Movieclips / youtube.com

    9. Jennifer Aniston

    Jennifer aniston sweating miserably in a hospital bed and looking at a birthday cake in cake
    Cinelou Releasing

    Active from: 1988–today

    Bio: Aniston will forever be famous for playing Rachel on Friends, but she's also had a very successful film career, starring in hit comedies like We're the Millers and Bruce Almighty, and dramas like The Good Girl.

    Biggest snub: 2014's Cake. Aniston turned in a powerful performance about a mother struggling with substance abuse after the death of her son in a car accident that also injured her, and she was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor by the Screen Actor's Guild, but the Oscars...not so much.

    Here, Aniston visits the location where her friend died by suicide:

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    info Peace / youtube.com

    10. Keanu Reeves

    Cool, bohemian Reeve rides a motorcycle with an equally cool River Phoenix on the back in my own private idaho
    Fine Line Features

    Active from: 1984–today

    Bio: Perhaps because of his stoner-y voice (famous for uttering "Whoa!"), Reeves has been unfairly labeled a bad actor by some, but Hollywood's greatest filmmakers, like Francis Ford Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci, have cast him, and his versatile filmography includes comedies (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure), romances (The Lake House), action (The Matrix and John Wick), drama (A Walk in the Clouds)  and even Shakespeare (Much Ado About Nothing).

    Biggest snub: 1991's My Own Private Idaho. Directed by Gus Van Sant, the film about two street hustlers and friends in Portland, Oregon was heralded by critics as groundbreaking, and stood out at that time as a rare example of two major movie stars (Reeves and River Phoenix) playing roles with gay themes. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine singled out Reeves' performance as "magnetic," and while the film is now considered a classic, Reeves didn't receive the Best Supporting Actor nomination he deserved.

    Here, Reeves and Phoenix have an emotional fireside chat in My Own Private Idaho:

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    marco antonio / youtube.com

    11. Thandiwe Newton

    Thandiwe Newton cries in a police officer's arms in crash
    Lion's Gate/Universal

    Active from: 1991–today

    Bio: The English actor has proven adept at starring in heavy dramas (like Beloved) as well as in films and TV shows with action elements, like Mission: Impossible 2 and HBO's Westworld, for which she won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress.

    Biggest snub: 2004's Crash. The Los Angeles–centered drama about tensions that erupt after a carjacking was nominated for six Academy Awards and even won Best Picture, but Newton, despite winning the British Academy Film Award for Best Supporting Actress — and despite incredibly performing some of the most difficult and harrowing scenes in the movie, including one where she was sexually assaulted and another where she was trapped in a burning car — was not nominated. 

    Here, Newton is trapped in a car crash and the police officer who previously sexually assaulted her is first on the scene to help in Crash:

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    NotImportantBecause / youtube.com

    12. Delroy Lindo

    Lindo screams, afraid, as he prepares to pull his son off a landmine in Da 5 Bloods
    Netflix

    Active from: 1975–today

    Bio: The 68-year-old actor was born in England but settled in San Francisco at age 16. A Tony Award nominee, Lindo has a great deal of experience on stage, but he's most famous for his work with Spike Lee, notably in Malcolm X and Clockers. He was also very memorable in Cider House Rules and Get Shorty.

    Biggest snub: 2020's Da 5 Bloods, directed by Spike Lee. If there were ever a year when a performance had a chance to be noticed, it was in the COVID-affected 2020, and Lindo's performance as a haunted vet who returns to Vietnam with his squad of Black G.I. vets in search of long buried treasure was the definition of "standout." However, while the film received incredible reviews and Lindo won a lot of early critics' association awards for Best Actor, he was left off the Academy's list of Best Actor nominees.

    Here, Lindo fights to save his son who has stepped on a landmine in Da 5 Bloods:

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    OK TV / youtube.com

    13. Jamie Lee Curtis

    Curtis crying in the film true lies
    20th Century Fox/Universal

    Active from: 1978–today

    Bio: The daughter of film legends Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Curtis made a major splash in her film debut playing Laurie in the horror classic Halloween. She's worked steadily since then, hitting high-water marks with A Fish Called Wanda and Knives Out.

    Biggest snub: James Cameron's True Lies wasn't exactly what you'd think of as an Oscar pic, but it was a massive global hit, and critics singled out Curtis — playing a bored wife in need of adventure who discovers her husband (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is secretly a US spy — as the best part of it. She was nominated by the Screen Actor's Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role and won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes. Somehow, despite all that, she didn't make the cut that year.

    Here, Curtis reveals she still loves her husband in True Lies:

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    Hollywood quotes. / youtube.com

    14. Kevin Bacon

    Bacon smiles as the prisoner in murder in the first with stained teeth
    Warner Bros.

    Active from: 1978–today

    Bio: Adept at supporting roles as much as leading man parts, Bacon has starred in everything from 1984's Footloose to 2011's X-Men: First Class. He might be most famous, though, for the six degrees of Kevin Bacon theory (and game), which, by virtue of Bacon's prolific career, postulates he is only a few connections away from having acted with any other Hollywood actor.

    Biggest snub: 1995's Murder in the First. The true story of an inmate (Bacon) who, after being abused in the jail to the point of losing his sanity, kills a fellow inmate. On trial, he fights for his life and to reveal the abuse he suffered. Bacon's powerful performance won him a Critic's Choice Movie Award and earned him a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, but he remained one degree away from an Oscar nomination. 

    Here, Bacon emotionally lashes out about spending three years in solitary confinement:

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    Movieclips / youtube.com

    15. Emily Blunt

    Blunt labors in a tub in the quiet place
    Paramount / ©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

    Active from: 2004–today

    Bio: The British actor, who originally got into acting as a child to help manage a stutter, became first well known for her breakout performance in The Devil Wears Prada. Since then, she's starred in many hits, like Edge of Tomorrow and Mary Poppins Returns.

    Biggest snub: Blunt received Golden Globe nominations — but no Oscar noms — for her performances in The Devil Wears Prada and Mary Poppins Returns, but she was most deserving for A Quiet Place. Her performance as a matriarch trying to keep her family together through impossible circumstances while grieving the loss of a child...while also being pregnant with another child...and then having to give birth to that child in silence....well, that is a lot to ask of an actor, and she nailed it. But despite winning Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Blunt didn't feel the love from the Academy.

    Here, Blunt labors to give birth to baby Abbot while being hunted by creatures:

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    T GCAX / youtube.com

    16. Oscar Isaac

    Isaac looks out the window of a subway sadly in inside llewyn davis
    StudioCanal / CBS

    Active from: 1998–today

    Bio: Isaac — who was named the 14th greatest actor of the 21st Century by the New York Times — played Poe Dameron in the latest Star Wars trilogy and supervillain Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse. He excels in drama, too, as seen by his performances in A Most Violent Year and the miniseries Show Me a Hero.

    Biggest snub: 2013's Inside Llewyn Davis. Isaac played the title role in this acclaimed Coen brothers film, and it wasn't easy — Davis was a hard-to-like character. But Isaac ably performed both the comedic and dramatic elements of the role, and sang and played the guitar like the pro the character was too. Isaac was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes (and was honored elsewhere too), but snubbed by the Oscars. 

    Here, Isaac is confronted about his poor choices and lack of direction in life:

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    Do you have a favorite, deserving actor who has never been nominated for an Academy Award? Let us know in the comments!

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