The 24 actors who have gotten the most Oscar nominations without winning one

Glenn close the wife
Glenn Close in “The Wife.”

  • The Oscars have repeatedly nominated and neglected numerous actors.
  • Glenn Close lost for the eighth time on Sunday after being nominated for her role in “Hillbilly Elegy.”
  • Here are 24 actors, including Close, who have been nominated at least four times without winning.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Each year, deserving performances lose out in the Oscars’ best acting categories. But there are a handful of great actors that the Academy has repeatedly nominated and neglected.

This year, Glenn Close was nominated for the eighth time for her supporting role in Netflix’s “Hillbilly Elegy.” She lost again during the Oscars ceremony on Sunday to “Minari” star Yuh-Jung Youn, tying with Peter O’Toole as the actor with the most Oscar nominations without a win (though O’Toole won an honorary Oscar).

Close was also nominated two years ago in the lead actress category for “The Wife” and was the perceived frontrunner – until she lost to Olivia Colman.

Joaquin Phoenix and Brad Pitt turned their luck around last year. They both scored their first acting wins on their fourth nomination, Phoenix for lead actor for “Joker” and Pitt for supporting actor for “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.”

Others haven’t been so lucky.

John Lynch contributed to a previous version of this post.

Here are the 24 actors who have been nominated for at least four acting Oscars without winning once:

Saoirse Ronan – 4 nominations

little women
“Little Women”

Best actress nominations: “Brooklyn” (2015), “Lady Bird” (2017), “Little Women” (2019)

Best supporting actress nominations: “Atonement” (2007)

Bradley Cooper – 4 nominations

a star is born warner bros
“A Star Is Born”

Best actor nominations: “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012), “American Sniper” (2014), “A Star Is Born” (2018)

Best supporting actor nominations: “American Hustle” (2013)

Willem Dafoe – 4 nominations

at eternity's gate

Best actor nominations: “At Eternity’s Gate” (2018)

Best supporting actor nominations: “Platoon” (1986), “Shadow of a Vampire” (2000), “The Florida Project” (2017)

Michelle Williams – 4 nominations

my week with marilyn
“My Week with Marilyn.”

Best actress nominations: “Blue Valentine” (2010), “My Week with Marilyn” (2011)

Best supporting actress nominations: “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), “Manchester by the Sea” (2016)

Barbara Stanwyck – 4 nominations

barbara stanwyck
“Ball of Fire.”

Best actress nominations: “Stella Dallas” (1937), “Ball of Fire” (1941), “Double Indemnity” (1944), “Sorry, Wrong Number” (1948)

Stanwyck received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1981.

Rosalind Russell – 4 nominations

rosalind russell
“Auntie Mame.”

Best actress nominations: “My Sister Eileen” (1942), “Sister Kenny” (1946), “Mourning Becomes Electra” (1947), “Auntie Mame” (1958)

Mickey Rooney – 4 nominations

black stallion Mickey rooney
“The Black Stallion.”

Best actor nominations: “Babe in Arms” (1939), “The Human Comedy” (1943)

Best supporting actor nominations: “The Bold and the Brave” (1956), “The Black Stallion” (1979)

Rooney received the since-discontinued Academy Juvenile Award in 1938 and the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1982.

Claude Rains – 4 nominations

Claude rains

Best supporting actor nominations: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Casablanca (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944), Notorious (1946)

Ed Harris – 4 nominations

Ed Harris Pollock

Best actor nomination: “Pollock” (2000)

Best supporting actor nominations: “Apollo 13” (1995), “The Truman Show” (1998), “The Hours” (2002)

Agnes Moorehead – 4 nominations

agnes moorehead hush hush
“Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.”

Best supporting actress nominations: “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942), “Mrs. Parkington” (1944), “Johnny Belinda” (1948), “Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (1964)

Marsha Mason – 4 nominations

marsha mason
“The Goodbye Girl.”

Best actress nominations: “Cinderella Liberty” (1973), “The Goodbye Girl” (1977), “Chapter Two” (1979), “Only When I Laugh” (1981)

Montgomery Clift – 4 nominations

montgomery clift
“A Place in the Sun.”

Best actor nominations: “The Search” (1948), “A Place in the Sun” (1951), “From Here to Eternity” (1953)

Best supporting actor nomination: “Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961)

Charles Boyer – 4 nominations

charles boyer

Best actor nominations: “Conquest” (1937), “Algiers” (1938), “Gaslight” (1944), “Fanny” (1961)

Annette Bening – 4 nominations

annette bening
“American Beauty.”

Best actress nominations: “American Beauty” (1999), “Being Julia” (2004), “The Kids Are All Right” (2010)

Best supporting actress nomination: “The Grifters” (1990)

Jane Alexander – 4 nominations

the great white hope
“The Great White Hope.”

Best actress nominations: “The Great White Hope” (1970), “Testament” (1983)

Best supporting actress nominations: “All the President’s Men” (1976), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979)

Arthur Kennedy – 5 nominations

Arthur Kennedy Brigh
“Bright Victory.”

Best actor nomination: “Bright Victory” (1951)

Best supporting actor nominations: “Champion” (1949), “Trial” (1955), “Peyton Place” (1957), “Some Came Running” (1958)

Albert Finney – 5 nominations

under the volcano Albert finney
“Under The Volcano.”

Best actor nominations: “Tom Jones” (1963), “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974), “The Dresser” (1983), “Under the Volcano” (1984)

Best supporting actor nomination: “Erin Brockovich” (2000)

Irene Dunne – 5 nominations

Irene Dunne
“I Remember Mama.”

Best actress nominations: “Cimarron” (1931), “Theodora Goes Wild” (1936), “The Awful Truth” (1937), “Love Affair” (1939), “I Remember Mama” (1948)

Amy Adams – 6 nominations


Best actress nomination: “American Hustle” (2013)

Best supporting actress nominations: “Junebug” (2005), “Doubt” (2008), “The Fighter” (2010), “The Master” (2012), “Vice” (2018)

Thelma Ritter – 6 nominations

thelma Ritter
“Birdman of Alcatraz.”

Best supporting actress nominations: “All About Eve” (1950), “The Mating Season” (1951), “With a Song in My Heart” (1952), “Pickup on South Street” (1953), “Pillow Talk” (1959), “Birdman of Alcatraz” (1962)

Deborah Kerr – 6 nominations

Deborah kerr
“The Sundowners.”

Best actress nominations: “Edward, My Son” (1949), “From Here to Eternity” (1953), “The King and I” (1956), “Heaven Knows, Mr Allison” (1957), “Separate Tables” (1958), “The Sundowners” (1960)

Kerr received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1994. 

Richard Burton – 7 nominations

Richard Burton Woolf
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Best actor nominations: “The Robe” (1954), “Becket” (1964), “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” (1965), “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966), “Anne of the Thousand Days” (1969), “Equus” (1977)

Best supporting actor nomination: “My Cousin Rachel” (1952)

Glenn Close – 8 nominations

"Hillbilly Elegy"
“Hillbilly Elegy

Best actress nominations: “Fatal Attraction” (1987), “Dangerous Liaisons” (1988), “Albert Nobbs” (2011), “The Wife” (2018)

Best supporting actress nominations: “The World According to Garp” (1982), “The Big Chill” (1983), “The Natural” (1984), “Hillbilly Elegy” (2020)

Peter O’Toole – 8 nominations

lawrence of arabia
“Lawrence of Arabia.”

Best actor nominations: “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), “Becket” (1964), “The Lion in Winter” (1968), “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” (1969), “The Ruling Class “(1972), “The Stunt Man” (1980), “My Favorite Year” (1982), “Venus” (2006)

O’Toole received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 2002. 

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