Do you miss Oscar season or are you glad it's over? I'm feeling a little bit of both right now, which is why this image that a reader sent me is so great. It's Glenn Close & Michelle Pfeiffer on Oscar night in 1989, when they both lost for their roles in Dangerous Liaisons (1988). Michelle did take the stage as a presenter that night (alongside Dennis Quaid).
Who knew that the Merquise de Merteuil and Madame Tourvel could exhibit any such tenderness for each other? (Or maybe the Merquise is just looking for the softest spot on Tourvel's neck in which to sink her fangs?)
So the picture got me to thinking about stars who've never won Oscars despite multiple nods. (Of course the most egregiously mistreated stars in Hollywood are the great actors who've never even been nominated... but that's a different list.) For this Tuesday Top Ten, I thought we'd do things a little differently and the rank will be determined not by my opinion but by Oscar's through the number of nominations. I determine the order if stars have the same number of losing nominations.
TOP TEN WORKING FILMS STARS
WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS WHO'VE
NEVER WON A COMPETITIVE OSCAR
Honorable Mentions: Mickey Rooney, Eleanor Parker, Kirk Douglas (yes, they're all still alive), Jane Alexander, Debra Winger, Diane Ladd and Marsha Mason each won three-to-four nominations but since none of these famous actors are working much or at all in features anymore, I decided to make this a list of top “working” stars instead. As for the bottom third of the top ten list, since there are a lot of stars who’ve earned three nominations without ever winning, I had to make judgement calls as to who to include. So my apologies to: Laura Linney, Joaquin Phoenix and Sigourney Weaver (and others with 3 nominations) who just-missed here.
Johnny Depp, The Dangerous Liaisons girls and more after the jump...
10 Johnny Depp
3 Nominations (2003-2007): The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Finding Neverland, Sweeney Todd
Closest He Came To Winning: Pirates, for which he snagged the SAG, probably got him to third place in a tough Oscar race. Despite the unfortunate calcification of his gift of late (does he any interest in recognizable humanity anymore?) there’s no denying the imaginative triumph of his first nomination, nor the turns preceding it that won him a devoted following prior to that theme park ride mainstream epiphany that he had a special gift.
Worst Snub: Either of his Edwards for Tim Burton
What He Should Have Won For: Edward Scissorhands (1990, maybe) or Pirates (2003), neither of which are anything like typical Oscar roles but that doesn't mean he wasn't Oscar worthy in both of them.
Will He Ever Win?: Five or six years ago who would’ve ever said no? But given the repetitive downward spiral of his career creatively he’ll have to break free of longtime collaborator Burton and his accompanying cartoon quirks to get a real shot again.
09 Joan Allen
3 Nominations (1995-2000): Nixon, The Crucible, The Contender
Closest She Came to Winning: She was probably a runner up with her first, losing to Oscar’s favorite throwback type (the hooker with the heart of gold) via Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite.
Most Universally Bitched About Snub: Pleasantville (1998)
What She Should Have Won For: The Upside of Anger (not nominated). The latter still stings since she was working on a level so far above nearly all of the nominees that year.
Will She Ever Win? Hollywood seems to have lost interest, which is a shame.
08 Michelle Pfeiffer
3 Nominations (1988-1992): Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Love Field
Closest She Came: in 1989 she was the presumed frontrunner until mass sentimentality swept Hollywood and made Jessica Tandy the oldest Best Actress winner ever for Driving Miss Daisy. Shame on everyone!
Worst Snubbings: Scarface and White Oleander
What She Should Have Won For: The Fabulous Baker Boys and White Oleander (not nominated). I’d add Batman Returns for a third Oscar (no, for real. it's clearly one of the most memorable turns of an entire decade) but it’s hard to quibble with Emma Thompson’s win for indelibly moving work in the majestic Howard’s End
Will She Ever Win? No. Oscar doesn’t have much use for women over 50 (sad but true) and Pfeiffer has always been too cool an actress to trade on sentiment, something you need to win when you’re past a certain age. (If you’re a woman, at least)
07 Amy Adams
4 Nominations (2005-2012): Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master
Closest She Came: That’s a tough call. I doubt she was actually close in any of those races though she might have been a distant second place for Junebug. But the ease with which she nabs nominations theoretically suggests I could be very wrong about this
Most Universally Bitched About "Snub": Enchanted
What She Should’ve Won For: She would’ve made a worthy if not definitively deserved winner on her first or third nominations but isn’t four nominations enough for that particular filmography?
Will She Ever Win? Only if it’s in the next few years and she hustles for a 5th nomination - Janis Joplin? – if so momentum could do half the work for her. Otherwise she's toast since Oscar streaks rarely last much longer than hers has.
06 Ed Harris
4 nominations (1995-2002): Apollo 13, The Truman Show, Pollock, The Hours
Closest He Came: 1998 was a strange Best Supporting Actor year but my guess is that he very narrowly lost his Truman Show bid to James Coburn in Affliction.
Was He Ever Snubbed? I'm not sure you could say so but he did nearly win a critics prize for The Right Stuff (1983)
What He Should’ve Won For: The Truman Show
Will He Ever Win? Something tells me no since he couldn't get winners traction for very baity parts like the ones he was nominated for.
05 Annette Bening (4 nominations)
4 Nominations (1990-2010): The Grifters, American Beauty, Being Julia, The Kids Are All Right
Closest She Came To Winning: She was, I'd guess, the runner up for three of her four Oscar races but I suspect it was American Beauty for which she came the closest to holding a statue of her own (oh you know she's held Warren's!). That film was possibly thisclose to joining The Silence of the Lambs and precious few other films as a winner of all five top Oscar prizes. Being Julia… her historic Round Two with Hilary Swank was probably the only time she wasn't in second place; the last minute surge that year was all about Vera Drake’s Imelda Staunton.
Most Obvious Snubbing? Bugsy (1991) which was otherwise a huge hit with Oscar
What She Should've Won For? Hmmmm. Runner up sounds right in many cases... but I would have voted for her on her first and fourth nominations given the state of those races.
Will She Ever Win? I think so …but in supporting. She works a lot still and hasn’t lost even a touch of her range or fire.
04 Julianne Moore
4 Nominations (1997-2002): Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, The Hours, Far From Heaven
Closest She Came: I doubt she’s ever been runner up even. For shame! Historically it helps to be double nominated in a given year but the late Best Actress surge in 2002 was all about Renee Zellweger in Chicago (who took the SAG prize) and Catherine Zeta Jones was so far out front for the same film in Supporting Actress that only Meryl Streep was a perceived challenger.
What She Should Have Won For: Safe (1995) maybe but that was such a strong Actress year that any number of women would have made satisfying winners. But definitely Boogie Nights (1997) for which I suspect she was in third place -- ridiculous since it might be THE Supporting Performance of its decade -- and Far From Heaven (2002... third place again). So anything short of two Oscars at this point is embarrassing. For the Academy, not for her.
Will She Ever Win an Oscar? I don't believe so. She’s been a respected actress for nearly 20 years but never the “it” girl which is when it’s easiest to win Oscars. I don't even think they'll hand her an Honorary since Oscar has a strange thing against women. (Only a small percentage of honorary Oscar winners are women... and yet Oprah has one. No, I don't get that either.)
03 Albert Finney
5 Nominations (1963-2000): Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Under the Volcano, Erin Brockovich
Closest He Came: Benicio Del Toro was a strong frontrunner in 2000 but I imagine Finney had the lions share of dissenting votes for that other Best Picture nominated Steven Soderbergh film. As for his debut nomination - Tom Jones did win Best Picture which is often pared with Best Actor but it's tough to imagine him even being runner up in that particular Best Actor year given the competition and the fact that he was only 27 and, thus, one of the youngest Best Actor nominees ever.
Will He Ever Win? He needs another role as good as the one he got in Brockovich
02 Glenn Close
6 Nominations (1982-2011): The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs
Closest She Came: Ouch does her Oscar history hurt. She was very obviously the close (excuse me) runner up in two consecutive years 1987-1988 after a gargantuan amount of momentum from her debut (Garp) onward.
Snubs?: Not really. The most noticeable miss was Reversal of Fortune (1990) since she had been so very popular with AMPAS for all of the 1980s. But by then AMPAS was probably embarrassed to keep stiffing her.
Will She Ever Win: Your guess is as good as mine but given that Meryl Streep gets nearly all the meaty roles for women over 60 and the bulk of female Oscars go to women in their late 20s/early 30s...
Consolation Prize: She's shares the most nominated losing women ever prize with Queen of Supporting Actresses Thelma Ritter and the legendary Deborah Kerr and none of them will be forgotten.
01 Peter O'Toole
8 nominations (1962-2007): Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye Mr Chips, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year, Venus
Closest He Came: You'd think the title character in Lawrence of Arabia would win you an Oscar but he had the misfortune of being up against another equally iconic role (Gregory Peck’s lawyer father in To Kill a Mockingbird) in a year in which he also had the "misfortune" of being too young (having just turned 30) and maybe even too beautiful (that's only welcome in actresses that young!) at the time for Hollywood's top male honor.
Consolation Prize: He already has an Honorary Oscar and the distinction of being the most nominated actor of all time, male or female, never to win the big prize.
WHICH OSCARS OR HOW MANY WOULD YOU GIVE THESE PEOPLE?
Do you take issue with the list?
Was Oscar too generous or not generous enough with each of them?
And what to do with Oscars huge back catalogue of mistreated ladies they never gave prizes too during the peak of their film careers?