The 30 Greatest Living Actors Who Have Never Been Nominated For An Oscar

20. Bill Nighy


A radio, TV, and stage actor of the highest esteem in Britain, Bill Nighy slowly gained momentum as a film actor in the 90s, but it was not until after 2000 that he established himself as a brilliant character actor in major US and UK movie productions.

He could have been nominated for “Still Crazy” (1998) or “Love Actually” (2003).

Selected filmography: Still Crazy (1998), Lawless Heart (2001), Love Actually (2003), I Capture The Castle (2003), Shaun Of The Dead (2004), The Constant Gardener (2005), Notes On A Scandal (2006), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), Arthur Christmas (2011), Page Eight (2011), About Time (2013), Pride (2014)


19. Colin Farrell

In Bruges (2008)

Colin Farrell is certainly not your typical Irish actor. He was discovered by Joel Schumacher when he was cast in “Tigerland” (2000), and became a household name ever since, as well as a notorious ladies’ man.

He could have been nominated for “In Bruges” (2008).

Selected filmography: The War Zone (1999), Tigerland (2000), Phone Booth (2002), Minority Report (2002), Intermission (2003), The New World (2005), In Bruges (2008), Crazy Heart (2009), The Way Back (2010), Seven Psychopaths (2012), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), The Lobster (2015)


18. Vincent Cassel


The son of French actor Jean-Pierre Cassel, Vincent Cassel is a multitalented performer of significant range and masculinity, who managed to surpass his father’s celebrated status and become one of the preeminent European actors of his generation.

He could have been nominated for “La Haine” (1995), “Read My Lips” (2001), or “Mesrine” (2008).

Selected filmography: La Haine (1995), The Apartment (1996), The Crimson Rivers (2000), Read My Lips (2001), Irréversible (2002), Eastern Promises (2007), Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Public Enemy #1 (2008), Black Swan (2010), A Dangerous Method (2011), Tale Of Tales (2015)


17. Harry Dean Stanton

Paris Texas (1984)

Jack Nicholson’s best man and close friend, semi-retired underground legend Harry Dean Stanton is the oldest member of the list, and one of the most subtle and sensitive actors in the history of the American movie industry.

He could have been nominated for “Paris, Texas” or “Repo Man” (both in 1984).

Selected filmography: Ride In The Whirlwind (1966), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Cock Fighter (1974), Straight Time (1978), Wise Blood (1979), Alien (1979), Escape From New York (1981), Paris, Texas (1984), Repo Man (1984), Fool For Love (1985), Pretty In Pink (1986), The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988), Wild At Heart (1990), The Straight Story (1999), The Green Mile (1999), Inland Empire (2006), Rango (2011)


16. John Turturro

barton fink

One of the most frequent collaborators of the Coen brothers and Spike Lee, and a praiseworthy director in his own right, Italian-American John Turturro is an all-around performer of supreme shiftiness, and one of the most characteristic figures of American indie cinema as well.

He could have been nominated for “Barton Fink” (1991) or “Quiz Show” (1994).

Selected filmography: To Live And Die In L.A. (1985), Five Corners (1987), Do The Right Thing (1989), Miller’s Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), Quiz Show (1994), Box Of Moonlight (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), He Got Game (1998), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Passione (2010), Mia Madre (2015)


15. Tony Leung Chiu-wai

Infernal Affairs

Arguably the most sought-after Asian movie star of the last 30 years, Hong Kong actor and singer Tony Leung Chiu-wai already has an impressive filmography behind him, highlighted by his long-time collaboration with the legendary filmmaker Wong Kar-wai.

He could have been nominated for “A City Of Sadness” (1989), “In The Mood For Love” (2000), or “Infernal Affairs” (2002).

Selected filmography: A City Of Sadness (1989), Days Of Being Wild (1990), Hard Boiled (1992), Chungking Express (1994), Cyclo (1995), Happy Together (1997), In The Mood For Love (2000), Infernal Affairs (2002), Hero (2002), 2046 (2004), Lust, Caution (2007), Red Cliff (2008)


14. Will Ferrell

Stranger than Fiction

Often criticized for his tendency to portray trademark big mouth personas on screen (a bit unfair, since he has done much more than that), Will Ferrell is still widely accepted as the most talented member of the “Frat Pack”, and a comedian with an uncanny ability to make everyone laugh, almost without even trying.

He could have been nominated for “Old School” (2003) or “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006).

Selected filmography: Zoolander (2001), Old School (2003), Elf (2003), Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004), Melinda And Melinda (2005),Wedding Crashers (2005), Stranger Than Fiction (2006), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Blades Of Glory (2007), Semi-Pro (2008), The Other Guys (2010), Everything Must Go (2010), Casa De Mi Padre (2012), The Lego Movie (2014)


13. Jeff Daniels

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

A rare do-it-all cat, Jeff Daniels is a stage, TV, and film actor of maximum versatility, and a musician as well. Do you need anything more? He is also the founder of the nonprofit Purple Rose Theatre Company in Michigan.

He could have been nominated for “The Purple Rose Of Cairo” (1985) or “The Squid And The Whale” (2005).

Selected filmography: Terms Of Endearment (1983), The Purple Rose Of Cairo (1985), Something Wild (1986), The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1988), Gettysburg (1993), Speed (1994), Dumb And Dumber (1994), Pleasantville (1998), The Hours (2002), The Squid And The Whale (2005), Good Night, And Good Luck (2005), The Lookout (2007), Steve Jobs (2015)


12. Olivier Gourmet


An unsung hero of modern European cinema, Belgian actor Olivier Gourmet brings such realism to his roles, that most of the first-time viewers of the Dardenne brothers’ films mistake him for another one of the real-life non-professionals the cine-duo usually employs.

He could have been nominated for “La Promesse” (1996), “The Son” (2002), or “The Minister” (2011).

Selected filmography: La Promesse (1996), Rosetta (1999), Read My Lips (2001), The Son (2002), L’Enfant (2005), Le Couperet (2005), Lorna’s Silence (2008), Black Venus (2010), The Minister (2011), The Kid With A Bike (2011), Grand Central (2013)


11. Stellan Skarsgård


A Swedish character actor that also managed to attract American audiences with his delicate but strong performances in the 90s, Stellan Skarsgård is the most frequent go-to guy of renowned Scandinavian filmmakers Lars von Trier and Hans Petter Moland.

He could have been nominated for “The Simple-Minded Murderer” (1982), “Breaking The Waves” (1996), or “Insomnia” (1997).

Selected filmography: The Simple-Minded Murderer (1982), Breaking The Waves (1996), Insomnia (1997), Good Will Hunting (1997), Amistad (1997), Aberdeen (2000), Taking Sides (2001), Dogville (2003), A Somewhat Gentle Man (2010), King Of Devil’s Island (2010), Melancholia (2011), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 (2013), In Order Of Disappearance (2014)