18 A-List Actors That Only Have One Oscar Nomination
With award season upon us, you’ve likely seen headlines about who is and isn’t nominated, what should and shouldn’t win, and so on and so forth. It feels like a lot of the same people win awards. It’s mostly straight, white, A-list men, while women, people of color and other minorities applaud from the crowd year after year. Although, we are slowly — emphasis on slowly — starting to see more representation and recognition emerge for groups of people who went without it for years in Hollywood.
Who knows what will happen at the show this year or who will bring home an award. Ahead of this year’s ceremony, you may be surprised to know that there are several A-list actors that you may think have won several awards, but haven’t even come close. Some have only been nominated once, and many didn’t even win.
18 Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford is an extremely famous actor with a long catalog of roles behind his name. He’s a cultural icon, specifically in the film industry, and is immediately recognizable on screen. He’s best known for playing Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise and Indiana Jones. But he also starred in Blade Runner, Jack Ryan, Ender’s Game, The Fugitive, Air Force One, and the new western drama on Paramount+, 1923.
With such an extensive filmography, you may be surprised to see Ford on this list of actors with only one Oscar nomination. But he was only nominated once, at the 1986 ceremony for Best Actor in the 1985 movie Witness. Witness is a crime thriller about a police detective (Ford) who is tasked with protecting an Amish woman and her son after they witness a murder at a train station. Witness was a well-received movie, with critics noting Ford’s performance, however at the Academy Awards Ford lost to William Hurt for his performance in Kiss of the Spider Woman and hasn’t been nominated again since.
17 Mark Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg is known as a very versatile, well-rounded actor, with roles spanning comedy, drama and action. He’s starred in major movies like A Perfect Storm, The Departed, The Fighter, Ted, two Transformers movies, Patriots Day and The Other Guys. He’s also done some work as an executive producer on shows like Entourage, Boardwalk Empire, and the 2020 documentary McMillions.
Wahlberg is an A-Lister and his movies always draw big crowds, but he somehow only has one Oscar nomination. He was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in The Departed, but was beaten by Alan Arkin for his performance in Little Miss Sunshine. Wahlberg also starred in The Fighter, which was nominated for Best Picture at the 2011 Oscars, but lost to The King’s Speech. Other than that, Wahlberg hasn’t been nominated for another Oscar since.
16 Stanley Tucci
Stanley Tucci is a beloved actor with great range who always stands out on screen, even if he’s just playing a supporting character. He’s starred in movies like Burlesque, The Lovely Bones, The Devil Wears Prada, Prizzi’s Honor, Easy A, and The Hunger Games. He’s also done voice work in animated movies like Robots, Space Chimps, and The Tale of Despereaux.
Despite all the outstanding performances Tucci has given over the span of his career, he has just one Oscar nomination. He received it for Best Supporting Actor at the 2010 awards for his role in The Lovely Bones. The Lovely Bones is a fantastic movie based on Alice Sebold’s novel of the same name about a girl who is murdered and watches over her family from a supernatural “in-between” space and deals with feeling torn between seeking vengeance on her killer (Tucci) and moving on to allow her family space to heal. The Lovely Bones received generally mixed reviews, but most people found it to be enjoyable. However, Tucci lost to Christoph Waltz for his performance in Inglourious Basterds.
15 Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman is also a very versatile actress who has taken on roles in a variety of genres including romantic comedies, dramas, action and sci-fi movies. She’s well-known for her roles in Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2, Batman & Robin, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. She’s an iconic actress who brought characters like Poison Ivy, Pulp Fiction’s Mia Wallace and Kill Bill’s The Bride to life in ways that are still talked about today.
All that said, Thurman has just one Oscar nomination. She received the nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Pulp Fiction at the 1995 Oscars. She lost to Dianne Wiest for her performance in Bullets over Broadway and hasn’t been nominated again since.
14 Florence Pugh
Florence Pugh is newer to the major film scene, but she’s quickly established herself as a dynamic powerhouse, bringing her talents to a range of movies in genres like horror, drama, action, romance, and comedy. She’s held roles in Little Women, Don’t Worry Darling, Midsommar, Malevolent, The Wonder, and Black Widow. She’s also set to appear in Dune: Part 2, which releases later this year.
Although Pugh doesn’t have as extensive of a portfolio yet as some of the other names on this list do, she’s still established herself as a major star capable of pulling big audiences. That said, she has just one Oscar nomination — for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Little Women. Pugh ended up losing to Laura Dern for her performance in the drama, Marriage Story. She hasn’t been nominated again since, but it’s likely there’s an Oscar somewhere in her future.
13 Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita Nyong’o has starred in several major movies like 12 Years a Slave, Us, Black Panther, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker. She thrives in every genre she’s cast in, from horror to drama to action and so on. She’s also another actress on this list that doesn’t have a massive filmography, but regardless has established herself as a force to be reckoned with as an actress.
Nyong’o only has one Academy Award nomination — for Best Supporting Actress at the 2014 award ceremony for her performance in 12 Years a Slave — which she won. She hasn’t been nominated for another Oscar since, although she’s given outstanding performances in some of her other roles, specifically as Nakia in Black Panther and her role in Jordan Peele’s Us.
12 Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson is another one of those immediately recognizable actors that have become a kind of cultural icon. His massive filmography includes movies like Schindler’s List, Les Misérables, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Love Actually, Batman Begins, Non-Stop, and the Taken franchise. He’s also done voice work in The Chronicles of Narnia franchise, The Lego Movie, and the English dubbing of Ponyo.
Despite his long list of performances in such major movies, Neeson only has one Oscar nomination. He received it at the 1994 award ceremony for Best Actor for his role in Schindler’s List. He didn’t win the award — Tom Hanks did for his performance in Philadelphia — but either way, he hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar again ever since.
11 Bill Murray
There likely aren’t many people who don’t know who Bill Murray is or who haven’t seen one of his movies. Murray’s career is primarily in the comedy genre, and he’s starred in movies like Caddyshack, Tootsie, the Ghostbusters franchise, Scrooged, Groundhog Day, The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation, and The Monument’s Men. He’s also given voice performances in Garfield: The Movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox and the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book.
Murray is an A-Lister with a massive fan base, but despite his box office pull and massive film portfolio, he’s only received one Oscar nomination. It was for Best Actor at the 2004 award ceremony for his performance in Lost in Translation. He unfortunately lost to Sean Penn for his role in Mystic River and hasn’t received another Oscar nomination since then.
10 Eddie Murphy
Well-known actor and comedian Eddie Murphy has had a wide-spanning career making us laugh for years now. He rose to fame on Saturday Night Live and has also performed in his own stand-up comedy specials. Murphy has starred in hits like Trading Places, the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, Mulan, Coming to America, The Nutty Professor, Dr. Dolittle, The Haunted Mansion, Daddy Day Care, the Shrek franchise and the new Netflix original You People.
Like everyone else on this list, though, Murphy’s extensive filmography hasn’t transferred over to Academy Awards as he has just one nomination. He received it at the 2007 awards for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dreamgirls — the same year Mark Wahlberg was nominated for The Departed and both were beaten by Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine.
9 Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey first became known for his roles in romantic comedies in movies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and The Wedding Planner. But he eventually expanded his horizons and has taken on more dramatic roles along with the occasional comedy. He’s starred in a long list of movies including Dazed and Confused, Dallas Buyers Club, Mud, Interstellar, Gold, Magic Mike, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Bernie.
McConaughey is an A-Lister with the power to bring people out to see his movies, regardless of what they’re about or what genre they are, simply because people like him. All that said, he has just one Oscar nomination. He received the nomination at the 2014 award ceremony for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey won the award — and it was well-deserved as his performance really was stellar. His supporting actor in the movie, Jared Leto, also won an Oscar that night, too.
8 Samuel L. Jackson
Arguably one of the most widely recognizable actors out there, Samuel L. Jackson is one of the highest grossing actors of all time. He’s starred in so many movies, it can be easy to forget which ones he held a role in. Some of his biggest include Pulp Fiction, several Star Wars movies, Coach Carter, The Incredibles, Snakes on a Plane, several Marvel movies as Nick Fury, Django Unchained, Glass and A Time to Kill.
His appearances in major franchises like the MCU and Star Wars have helped establish him as such a box office draw of an actor, but he still only has one Oscar nomination. He received it for Best Supporting Actor at the 1995 Academy Awards for his performance in Pulp Fiction, but lost to Martin Landau for his role in Ed Wood. However, he did receive the Academy Honorary Award in 2021, which is awarded to those who show extraordinary lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the motion picture arts and outstanding service to the Academy.
7 Hugh Jackman
Depending on the types of movies you enjoy, you may know Hugh Jackman for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, or maybe you know him for playing Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. He’s also starred in a variety of other movies including Van Helsing, Real Steel, Movie 43, The Greatest Showman, and The Son. He’s also had a successful career on stage, starring in theatre performances like The Music Man, Oklahoma!, and Carousel.
Though he’s a very recognizable actor and has had a great career, spanning a range of genres, he was nominated for an Oscar just once at the 2013 awards. The nomination was for Best Actor for his role in the musicalLes Misérables, but he lost to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance in Lincoln. Though Jackman hasn’t been nominated again since, The Greatest Showman was nominated in 2018 for Best Original Song.
6 Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson is another one of those actresses that has an immediately recognizable style and presentation on screen, and she brings a certain flair to all her performances that is really unmatched. She’s appeared in movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Think Like A Man, The Karate Kid, Acrimony, Hidden Figures, and Proud Mary. She’s also held various TV roles, too, in shows like Boston Legal, Person of Interest, and Empire.
Henson’s performances are always strong and delivered in such a genuine way, that said though, she hasn’t had an Oscar nomination since 2009, when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Penélope Cruz ended up winning in the category for her performance in Vicky Christina Barcelona. Though Hidden Figures — a movie she starred in — was nominated for Best Picture in 2017.
5 Salma Hayek
Salma Hayek began her career in Mexico starring in telenovelas and Hispanic dramas before breaking into Hollywood in the mid-late ’90s in movies like Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn and Dogma. She’s also appeared in Frida, Wild Wild West, Grown Ups, Eternals, House of Gucci, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard.
Despite being such a talented, well-known and beloved actress, capable of taking on just about any role, she still has just one Oscar nomination. She received it at the 2003 Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Frida Kahlo in Frida. However, she lost to Nicole Kidman for her performance in The Hours. Hayek hasn’t been nominated again since 2003, but it’s certainly not unrealistic to think she’ll have another shot at an Oscar sometime in the future.
4 Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas is a wildly famous actor and an equally talented producer who has worked on and starred in countless hit films over the years. Some of his roles include in movies like A Chorus Line, Fatal Attraction, Wall Street, Basic Instinct, Falling Down, A Perfect Murder and The Game. He’s also a part of the MCU, portraying Hank Pym in Avengers: Endgame and the Ant-Man movies. He also worked on several movies as a producer, specifically One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — which won Best Picture at the 1976 Academy Awards.
As an individual, though, Douglas has only been nominated for an Oscar once. It was Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 1988 Academy Awards for his performance in Wall Street. He won the Oscar, but hasn’t received another nomination as an actor since then.
3 Jamie Lee Curtis
Whether you know her from the Halloween franchise, Freaky Friday or her Activia yogurt commercials, it’s likely you know Jamie Lee Curtis in some capacity. She made her debut in Halloween in 1978, establishing herself as a scream queen and landing her a number of horror roles in movies like The Fog and Prom Night. She’s held a number of other roles in her career outside the horror genre including Trading Places, My Girl, Christmas with the Kranks, and Knives Out. She’s also set to appear in upcoming movies including Borderlands and the new Haunted Mansion remake.
Curtis just recently received her first Oscar nomination this year. She’s up for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Everything Everywhere All At Once. She’s up against Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Hong Chau (The Whale), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), and Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once).
2 Steve Carell
Steve Carell is best known for his role as Michael Scott in the U.S. adaptation of The Office, establishing himself as a beloved funny man in the industry. Outside of The Office, he’s starred in comedies like Bruce Almighty, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Evan Almighty, Get Smart, Date Night, Crazy Stupid Love, and Dinner for Schmucks. He’s also taken on more dramatic roles, too, like Little Miss Sunshine, Dan in Real Life, Beautiful Boy, Foxcatcher, and The Big Short.
Carell is a versatile actor with great range, and he’s established himself as someone that you flock to see every time he takes on a new role because you just know it’s going to be good. That said, it may be surprising that he only has one Oscar nomination. He received it at the 2015 Oscars ceremony for Best Actor for his role in the biographical sports drama Foxcatcher. However, he lost to Eddie Redmayne for his performance in The Theory of Everything.
1 Antonio Banderas
Like many of the other actors on this list, Antonio Banderas has incredible range, having held roles in a variety of genres throughout his career. He’s starred in movies like Interview with the Vampire, Desperado, Evita, The Mask of Zorro, Pain and Glory, the Spy Kids franchise, Acts of Vengenance, and Thick as Thieves. He’s also done voice work in the Shrek franchise as Puss in Boots and revived the character in the Puss in Boots spin-off franchise.
Banderas was nominated for an Oscar just once in 2020 for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Pain and Glory. However, Joaquin Phoenix took home the award that year for his performance in Joker. Banderas hasn’t had any other Oscar nominations in his career, which may be surprising, but it’s always likely he could receive another.