We live in different times. Perhaps if the internet and social media came into existence several decades ago, we would have seen quite a few deserving actors take home the Oscar. Finally, DiCaprio has his golden man, an acknowledgement that has evaded quite a few, and sadly will never happen for some. Following “#giveLeoanOscar,” we put the spotlight on the fine actors who somehow failed to make the cut.
He was one of the greatest actors of all time, without a doubt. But the legendary Richard Burton was nominated a whopping 7 times but never won an Oscar. He received his first nomination in 1953 in the supporting actor category for My Cousin Rachel and his last in 1978 for Equus. It is said that he suffered a great complex because of this, particularly since Elizabeth Taylor to whom he was married twice had two Oscars to her name, one of which was for the film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in which she starred opposite Burton. Apparently Burton, aware of the fact, that the favourite in the best actor category that year (1967) was Paul Scofield for his portrayal in A Man for all Seasons, convinced Taylor not to attend the ceremony because he could not bear the humiliation of her winning and him not. She later said that not attending the event and accepting her second Oscar was one of her many regrets.
There is no doubt that Johnny Depp can step into any kind of a role, and he probably has. But Mr. Depp has never won an Oscar, despite being nominated three times. Perhaps, the characters for which he was nominated were a trifle too fantastical for the Academy – in 2004, for Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; in 2005 for Sir James Matthew Barrie in Finding Neverland and as Sweeney Todd in 2008. Perhaps he was just unlucky going against the likes of Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood) in 2008 and Sean Penn (Mystic River) in 2004. Interestingly, Depp received his first Golden Globe nomination in 1991 for Edward Scissorhands, a good 13 years before he received his first Oscar nomination.
He has a shared Oscar for producing 12 Years A Slave but Brad Pitt has yet to be acknowledged in the acting category though he was nominated three times, once in 1996, for supporting actor in Twelve Monkeys and twice in the lead actor category, in 2009 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and in 2012 for Moneyball but faced tough competition from Sean Pean (Milk) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist).
Perhaps he has been classified as being the “blockbuster” actor whose work is often seen as not being “serious” enough to be Oscar-worthy. Cruise has been nominated three times, twice in the lead actor category and once for best supporting actor. His first nomination came in 1990 for playing a wounded Vietnam War vet in Born on the Fourth of July and the second was in 1997 as the memorable sports agent Jerry McGuire. He was a favourite in 2000 when he was nominated in the supporting role category for playing a charismatic pick-up artist in Magnolia but lost to sentimental favourite Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules).
Perhaps in a bid to be taken seriously, Bradley Cooper has, in recent years, appeared in films that appear more “credible”. Who would have thought that the nerdy Will from Alias would eventually emerge as a strong Oscar contender? Cooper has received three Oscar nominations – four, including a shared one for producing American Sniper – two in the lead category, in 2015 for American Sniper and in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook. Cooper was nominated for best supporting actor in 2014 for American Hustle.
Matt Damon and Ben Aflleck
Both Matt Damon and Ben Affleck received Oscars early in their careers, 1998, but it wasn’t for their acting. Instead, they were recognised for their writing abilities, winning the Oscar for best original screenplay for Good Will Hunting. In 2013, Affleck won the best motion picture Oscar for Argo, a win he shared with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. Damon has received three other nominations, two in the lead actor category, most recently for The Martian and in 1998 for Good Will Hunting. He received a supporting actor nomination in 2010 for Invictus.
George Clooney has received two Oscars, a shared win for best motion picture for Argo and in 2008, he received a best supporting actor Oscar for Syriana. But he has yet to win a best actor Oscar despite being nominated three times – in 2012 for The Descendants, in 2010 for Up in the Air and in 2008 for Michael Clayton. He has also been nominated twice for writing, in 2012 for adapted screenplay for The Ides of March and in 2006, for original screenplay for Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), which also garnered him a directorial nod.