The late actress Deborah Kerr was nominated for six Oscars over the course of her distinguished career. She never won and, in fact, she currently holds the record for the most Best Actress nominations without a victory.
But, at least, Deborah Kerr was nominated!
The 16 actresses below have never been nominated for an Oscar, despite some excellent and compelling performances. 10 of them still have a chance to be nominated. Sadly, 6 of them are no longer with us.
- Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt came close this year. She received a SAG nomination for her performance in Girl On The Train and some of the critics groups also honored her work. However, when the Oscar nominations were announced, Meryl Streep was nominated for a film nobody saw and Emily Blunt was nowhere to be seen. This year, she’s in good company, as neither Amy Adams nor Annette Bening picked up expected nominations either. Personally, I didn’t care much for Girl on the Train. I would have much rather seen Blunt nominated for Looper, Sicario, or even Edge of Tomorrow. Blunt will be nominated eventually.
2. Dale Dickey
You may not know Dale Dickey’s name but you’d recognize her if you saw her. She usually plays characters who are strong, outspoken, and occasionally a little scary. You never want to get on the bad side of someone played by Dale Dickey. To date, Dickey’s most award-worthy role was in Winter’s Bone. She also had a memorable (if small) role in Hell or High Water, playing the bank teller who, when asked if the men who robbed her were black, replies, “Their skin or their souls?”
3. Kirsten Dunst
As a result of Bring It On, Dunst is often thought of as being the ideal cheerleader. But, by far, her most award-worthy turn was in a film that was about as different from Bring It On as possible, Melancholia. Dunst was just twelve when she was first mentioned, for her performance in Interview With A Vampire, as a potential nominee. She was also very good in Marie Antoinette and the overlooked Crazy/Beautiful. Dunst fell off the radar for a while but she’s been quietly making a comeback.
4. Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig is my spirit animal. She deserved a nomination for Francis Ha and for Damsels in Distress before that. She’ll be nominated some day.
5. Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall received some Oscar buzz last year for Christine. I haven’t seen Christine but I think that her performances in 2008’s Vicky Christina Barcelona and especially 2010’s Please Give were criminally overlooked.
6. Katharine Isabelle
Though Isabelle is best known for Ginger Snaps, I think she deserved a nomination for last year’s underrated 88. One of the best actresses working today, Isabelle will hopefully get a role worthy of her talents.
7. Scarlett Johansson
It’s a bit of a shock that Scarlett Johansson has yet to be nominated. Her work in Lost in Translation was just as important to that film’s success as Bill Murray’s. And her performance in Under the Skin remains one of the bravest pieces of acting to ever be put on screen.
8. Ashley Judd
Unfortunately, Ashley Judd now seems to be more concerned with political activism than acting. It’s been a while since she’s appeared in a really great role (and no, the Divergent movies don’t count). Judd’s best work came in the 90s, when she gave award-worthy performances in Ruby in Paradise, Heat, and especially Normal Life.
9. Kelly MacDonald
Scottish actress Kelly MacDonald doesn’t make enough movies but it’s still hard not to feel that she’s been overlooked by the Academy. Not only did she hold her own in Trainspotting but her performance in No County For Old Men provided that otherwise cold film with a much-needed heart.
10. Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart managed to survive the Twilight films and has emerged as a consistently interesting actress. Her work in Clouds of Sils Maria won her a Ceasar but was overlooked by the Academy. Before that, Stewart did excellent work in Into the Wild, Adventureland, Still Alice and Welcome to the Rileys.
Sadly, these six unnominated actresses are no longer with us:
- Rita Hayworth
That the wonderful Rita Hayworth was never nominated — not even for Gilda — is nothing less than mind-blowing.
2. Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy was an actress who was such a natural that she made it look easy. Perhaps that’s why she wasn’t even nominated for The Thin Man.
3. Marilyn Monroe
Perhaps one of the most tragic actresses in the history of Hollywood, Monroe was never nominated despite giving some of the most iconic performances in film history. I would even make the case that she deserved a nomination for her tiny cameo in All About Eve.
4. Maureen O’Hara
Despite great performances in classic films like The Quiet Man and Miracle on 34th Street, Maureen O’Hara was never nominated for the Oscar she deserved.
5. Ann Savage
You may not recognize the name but if you’ve ever seen Detour, you know Ann Savage. Savage largely appeared in low-budget noirs and she always gave performances that were just as fierce as her last name.
6. Edie Sedgwick
Sadly, Edie never got a chance to play a truly award-worthy role. Actually, since almost all of her films were underground Andy Warhol movies, it’s debatable whether she ever played a role at all. During the 1960s, as one of the top models in New York (a so-called “youthquaker”), Edie was best known for being herself. But, whenever I see Edie in an old Warhol film like Vinyl or even in something like Ciao! Manhattan, I see what a great actress she could have been if she’d only been given the chance.