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02.22.2012by: Alejandro Stepenberg

10 Awesome People Who Have Never Won An Oscar

This list is about the good people who have carved out their hearts, melted them down, and poured a little bit of what remained into each film they were a part of without any official recognition from an organization that is, in theory, meant to both acknowledge and reward excellence in the field of filmmaking. We fans show our love as best we can, but... sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded. My only criteria for this list was that a person must 1) have been nominated for an Oscar at least once and 2) be above the age of 35, as that implies they've been working for a fair while now. And with that caveat, here we go.

Honorable Mention - Gary Oldman

There's a dark horse chance that Gary Oldman will get the gold this coming Sunday in reward for his extremely textured performance as George Smiley, in which case his place on this list would be rendered moot. Which should really happen if there's any justice in the world, though as we all know - there isn't. But still. Oldman has had a lifetime of phenomenal performances that deserves the highest of awards, from smaller films like SID AND NANCY and LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL to larger franchises like Nolan's Batman and Harry Potter. I would also say he deserves special commendation for making BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA bearable due to the sexy brilliance of his work therein. Called by the Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten "a bloody good actor" in the understatement of the century.

10. Leonardo DiCaprio

At 37 years of age, DiCaprio has had a impressively packed and varied career since he came on the scene in 1991. Within two years he had already secured his first Academy Award nomination, and the suave, intensive actor has not let up since. Specializing in characters being secretly torn apart from within by the demons of their past, when DiCaprio is involved you know you'll be seeing characters that burst with energy, life, and the desperate hope for redemption. Whether they achieve it or not is irrelevant - it's the humanity that DiCaprio constantly imbues them with that counts. Nominated once for Best Supporting Actor (WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE?) and twice for Best Actor (THE AVIATOR, BLOOD DIAMOND).

9. Sigourney Weaver

This is an actress who, under the direction of several titans in the film industry, managed to entirely redefine the way women are portrayed in movies and pop culture (the Alien Quadrilogy) by bringing a resourceful strength rarely seen before. Not to mention how she secured the love of audience members everywhere with her gleeful participation in such genre favorites as GHOSTBUSTERS, GALAXY QUEST, WALL*E, and AVATAR. Always earnest, responsive, and really trying her damndest, Weaver's talent is one that has gone unrewarded by the Academy for far too long. Nominated thee times for Best Actress (ALIENS; GORILLAS IN THE MIST, WORKING GIRL).

8. Johnny Depp

Yes, ALICE IN WONDERLAND happened. But everybody has their missteps, and the few Depp has had do nothing to change the quality of the fantastic and very alive roles he has played over a 28-year career. Alternating between roles rife with innocent wonder (EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, BENNY AND JOON), seductive mystery (CHOCOLAT, THE LIBERTINE), grieving desperation (SECRET WINDOW, PUBLIC ENEMIES), and channeled madness (FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN), Depp has proved time and time again that he is as skilled as they come. Nominated three times for Best Actor (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL; FINDING NEVERLAND; SWEENEY TODD).

7. Christopher Nolan

Speaking of having faith rewarded... While his films have been critical and commercial hits alike, and recognized by the Academy in certain situations (a total of twenty one nominations across five films), Nolan himself has rarely received recognition for his personal contribution to each and every one of those films. Why this might be the case is unknown to those of us who are convinced that his skills of character creation and story crafting are truly something special, but perhaps some consolation will be found in the other directors that make up this list. Too bad Scorsese couldn't be part of the cool club too. Nominated twice in 2002 for Best Original Screenplay (MEMENTO, INCEPTION).

6. Edward Norton

Every Schmoe on this site knows who Edward Norton is, which is how it of course should be. One of those rare talents that scored an Academy Award nomination with his very first film. It has been said that Norton is difficult to work with, to which I say I think he's just a guy who doesn't do anything unless he is struck by a sincere passion for it. So if you sign Edward Norton, know that he's not going to stop fighting until the project you're crafting together is the very best it can be. And if it isn't, he's going to say as much. When watching a Norton film, everybody is well aware that you go for the talent and stay for some more damn talent. Nominated twice for Best Actor (PRIMAL FEAR; AMERICAN HISTORY X).

5. Ed Harris

First noticed him in the one-two punch of A BEAUTIFUL MIND/ENEMY AT THE GATES and never looked back. Conflicted characters (Remy Bressant, GONE BABY GONE) and layered bastards (Carl Fogarty, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE) are Harris' forte, somehow managing always to instill them with humanity even in the face of tough times and human barbarity as they fight for what they believe to be right. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. THE ROCK. THE WAY BACK. No matter what, this is one guy you always want on your side - because if he's not? You may win the battle, but you're not leaving without some serious scars. Nominated three times for Best Supporting Actor (APOLLO 13; THE TRUMAN SHOW; THE HOURS) and once for Best Actor (POLLOCK).

4. Liam Neeson

From amateur boxing champion to Guinness truck driver to Oskar Schindler (SCHINDLER'S LIST) to Bryan Mills (TAKEN) to Ottway (THE GREY), Liam Neeson has had a wild and impassioned ride. And that's not even touching on all of the stellar and energized work in between, what with his turns in such roles as Michael Collins, Rob Roy, Jean Valjean, Ra's Al Ghul, Godfrey of Ibelin, and Aslan. Is currently employed full time as Hollywood's go-to badass, provided you also want said badass to be able to fiercely embody the hopes, fears, and very human troubles that haunt all of our lives. Nominated once in 1993 for Best Actor (SCHINDLER'S LIST).

3. Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick may have been an arrogant ass and obsessive to the point of insanity, but that cannot change the consistent quality of the work he produced. In fact nearly everything the man ever made can considered a classic for one reason or another, and anybody who is at all involved with filmmaking often finds that several of their very favorite films were made by Kubrick. His choices in terms of sound design, imagery, and text have also permeated society to a degree nearly unparalleled by any other film director. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY won an Academy Award for Best Special Effects in 1968, a fact that technically should disqualify Kubrick from this list seeing as how the man himself crafted so many of those effects. But he is included anyway because out of the nine nominations in his name for Best Director and Best Original/Adapted Screenplay over five films, he won exactly zero.

2. Viggo Mortensen

"The Humble Giant of Genre Movies and General Artistry." Lucifer (THE PROPHECY). Aragorn (LORD OF THE RINGS). Frank T. Hopkins (HIDALGO). Tom Stall (HISTORY OF VIOLENCE). Nikolai Luzhin (EASTERN PROMISES). The Man (THE ROAD). Sigmund Freud (A DANGEROUS METHOD). Also a Jazz musician, poet, and painter. Author of seventeen books. Your argument is invalid. Nominated in 2008 for Best Actor because of work in EASTERN PROMISES that redefined the kind of understated-acting-that-simmers-with-violent-life found in such films as UNFORGIVEN.

1. Alfred Hitchcock

That's SIR Alfred Hitchcock to you. Called "the Master of Suspense" because he was and is. If you erroneously believe this to be a misnomer, you may or may not be attacked by a rogue crop duster on your way out and about today. Yes, Hitchccock receive the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy in 1967. No, it doesn't matter.
Tags: The Ten Spot

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