Oscars: Five Great Actors Who Have Never Been Nominated

For his role in “Tinker Tailor Solider Spy,” Gary Oldman is getting a lot of buzz as a potential Oscar nominee. It would be his first, if you can believe it. He’s popped up in so many memorable roles over the years, but he’s never received any adulation from the Academy.

In anticipation of the hopeful good news, we came up with a list of five other actors who’ve never gotten the call either.

Steve Buscemi
Despite a string of some of the most memorable supporting roles in film history like Mr. Pink in “Reservoir Dogs” and Carl Showalter in “Fargo,” the bug-eyed Brooklynite has never been nominated. With most of his work these days coming in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” Buscemi might have to settle for a Golden Globe or an Emmy. Maybe after that, the Academy will start appreciating what they’ve been missing all along.

John Goodman
Perhaps pigeonholed for his role in “Roseanne,” John Goodman has never received much official love for his memorable appearances in movies like “The Big Lebowski” and “Barton Fink.” In fact, that’s probably part of the problem. Goodman’s an immensely talented actor, but his roles on the big screen are usually a little light-hearted, work with the Coens and Kevin Smith aside. He’ll receive some attention as part of the ensemble for “The Artist,” but he’s never really commanded a prominent dramatic role in a big movie. That should change, obviously.

Val Kilmer
Kilmer has always been one of the more impressive Method actors of his generation, dazzling in plenty of big, meaty roles. The Academy has never shown any love, though. Maybe because he’s such an eccentric figure off the camera, but also, he’s not very choosy with his roles. Just check out his IMDb page and wince at all the second-rate street crime movies he’s been involved with (for example, 2009’s “Streets of Blood” starring 50 Cent). Maybe he should hold off on the resume filler, but that wouldn’t be very Val Kilmer of him.

Jim Carrey
Carrey predated Adam Sandler as a big, goofy guy who would periodically emerge from his shell every few years for a killer serious role. “The Truman Show” was the first “Punchdrunk Love,” obviously. But Carrey has taken on more ambitious movies like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and has still never been rewarded with the overwhelming critical love that usually follows a career change of such magnitude. With his star in recession, maybe now’s the perfect time for Carrey to re-emerge in a more serious state. Less “Yes Man,” more “Man on the Moon.”

Jennifer Jason Leigh
We know—there should be more women on this list. But the Academy recognizes most serious dramatic actresses at some point or other (Mia Farrow aside). Jennifer Jason Leigh is one of the rare dramatic actresses who has slipped through the cracks, despite notable roles in “Short Cuts,” “eXistenZ,” and “Margot at the Wedding.” They’re not very Academy-attractive roles, but she’s been acting forever and continues to deliver a reliable brand of dry, sardonic wit mixed with emotional gravitas. Sooner or later, she’ll get something that lets her knock it out of the park.

Who would you like to see nominated for an Oscar? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!