Top 25 Actors Who Never Won an Oscar or An Emmy!

Posted by , Updated on June 23, 2024

Many talented actors never get an Oscar or an Emmy. It’s part of the fiercely competitive nature of the industry. Many award shows turn into popularity contests and political showcases, not just about movie excellence. Film lovers still love watching the Oscars or Emmys, always excited to see who wins. These events are like our own Superbowl, but with lots of bad jokes. When the buzz ends, it’s normal to feel bummed if your favorite actor doesn’t win. This list celebrates those great actors who came close but missed out. Let List25 show you the **Top 25 Actors Who Never Won an Oscar or an Emmy**!


Steve Carrell

Steve CarrellSource:

Steve Carrell has played numerous roles throughout his career, from a clueless boss in the comedy “The Office” to his riveting portrayal of murderous wrestling coach John du Pont. He’s proven he can adapt to both comedies as well as drama. Yet still, he has not received an Oscar or Emmy.


Edward Norton

Edward NortonSource:

Mr. Norton’s break out role was in the courtroom thriller “Primal Fear.” I still remember this performance and to this day, I still think it’s one of his best. He also played a reformed skinhead in “American History X,” which was absolutely brilliant.


Johnny Depp

Johnny DeppSource:

Johnny Depp’s acting knows no bounds. He first started out in teen beat shows, such as “21 Jump Street,” and the cult classic “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Since then, he has gone on to give great performances in “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” Depp continues to astound people with his performances, but sadly no Oscar yet.


Hugh Laurie

Hugh LaurieSource:

Most people associate Hugh Laurie with the medical drama “House M.D.” Yet before this, he was known to play bumbling idiots, who were usually in positions of power, such as the British comedy “Black Adder.” Hugh’s ability to switch from television comedy to drama so naturally makes it very surprising he’s never won an Emmy.


Red Foxx

Red Foxx

Considered by many to be one of the greatest comics ever, Red Foxx received three Emmy nominations for “Sanford and Son” but never won the award.


Angela Lansbury

Angela LansburySource:

“Tonight on Murder, She Wrote!” Every week, I tuned in to watch Anglea Lansbury use her wits to catch a killer. You may not know this but Ms. Lansbury was nominated 15 times for her role as Jessica Fletcher. Angela Lansbury was also great in the original “Manchurian Candidate.” She won a Tony, but still no Oscar or Emmy.


Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.Source:

When I think of Robert Downey Jr., I think of a brilliant actor who has had to overcome adversity and came out triumphant. Even before his troubles, he had some brilliant roles. I really hope he wins an Oscar soon. He deserves it.


Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin PhoenixSource:

With his brilliant portrayal as Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line,” one would think he would be a shoe-in for winner, but alas there has been no Oscar for the talented actor. I know I am looking forward to his role as The Joker.


Annette Benning

Annette BenningSource:

Ms. Benning has been in the movie industry for a while now, and one would think, in all that time, she would have won an Oscar. Her performance in “American Beauty,” among others, was riveting.


Bill Murray

Bill Murray

Perhaps many see Bill Murray as a comic actor, and this is true, but Bill Murray has also done some great dramatic roles such as “Lost in Translation” and the independent film “St. Vincent,” both amazing films everyone should see.


John Malkovitch

John MalkovitchSource:

John Malkovitch brings a certain charisma to every role he does that you can’t deny. You may get a chill up your spine when he plays a psychopath such as the role he did for the film “In The Line of Fire.” I swear these things are rigged.


Ed Harris

Ed HarrisSource:

He played famous artist Jackson Pollock in the indie film “Pollock,” as well as the sinister Christof in “The Truman Show.” Although he has been nominated numerous times, he still has not received an award for his performances.


Glenn Close

Glenn CloseSource:

Who can deny the talent of Glenn Close? You can try but one wouldn’t suggest it. “Fatal Attraction” is probably one of her best performances but a long with playing an unhinged woman, she also has played other characters that have been worthy of an Oscar.


Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. JacksonSource:

Although many people may think of “Pulp Fiction” when they think of this talented actor and his bible quoting hit-man character, Samuel L. Jackson has played some complicated roles, such as a grieving father whose daughter is killed by racists in the courtroom thriller “A Time to Kill.” He is a great actor and hopefully will win an Oscar.


Tom Cruise

Tom CruiseSource:

Tom Cruise is not just an action star; he also has played plenty of dramatic roles, such as “Born on the 4th of July” and “Jerry Maguire.” He might have been eccentric in the past, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a powerhouse performer.


Katey Sagal

Katey SagalSource:

How has she not won an Emmy yet? Both of her biggest roles on TV, Peggy Bundy on “Married, with Children,” and Gemma Taylor on “Sons of Anarchy” proves she’s a fantastic actress. Even Entertainment Weekly admitted she received “one of the biggest Emmy snubs of all time.”


Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia RashadSource:

Who can forget the wise mother/lawyer/wife of “The Cosby Show” Claire Huxtable? Every week, audiences tuned in to watch The Huxtables and the wisdom of Ms. Huxtable.


Tracey Morgan

Tracey MorganSource:

Although he might not have done much or any dramatic roles, Tracey Morgan’s comedic timing is pure genius.


Don Cheadle

Don CheadleSource:

One of the most versatile actors of our generation, Don Cheadle has played it all from Miles Davis to Iron Man’s sidekick. Don Cheadle has paid his dues and it’s high time he was acknowledged for that.


Angela Bassett

Angela BassettSource:

I think her portrayal of Tina Turner was riveting. Angela Bassett is an amazing actress and hopefully, she will win very soon. She’s only been nominated once.


Will Smith

Will SmithSource:

Will Smith is a great actor. I mean come on, “Ali,” “The Pursuit of Happiness,” and even certain scenes of “The Fresh Prince” really showed his acting prowess.


Amy Adams

Amy Adams

Amy Adams has been nominated several times for her roles but hasn’t won an Oscar. She was nominated this year for her role in the political biography “Vice” but did not receive the award.


Michelle Williams

Michelle WilliamsSource:

After getting her start on the teen drama “Dawson’s Creek” and a few teen comedies, Michelle Williams went on to star and costar in some powerful movies that showed she’s more than a pretty face.


Andy Griffith

andy griffithSource:

One of the greats who never won an Oscar or an Emmy, Andy Griffith sadly passed away in 2012. Griffith was known for playing the sheriff of Mayberry on “The Andy Griffith Show” and also lawyer Ben Matlock.


John Travolta

John TravoltaSource:

From Vinny Babarino on “Welcome Back Kotter” to Vincent Vega in “Pulp Fiction,” John Travolta is one of the greatest actors and comeback actors of all time.

Photo: Featured Image - (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 1. Vegafi, John Travolta deauville, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 2. Rogers & Cowan, Beverly Hills-publicity agency, Andy Griffith Andy Griffith Show 1960, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 3. Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, Michelle Williams(7587128222), CC BY-SA 2.0 , 4. Gordon Correll, Amy Adams 2016, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 5. Gage Skidmore, Will Smith by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 6. David Shankbone creator QS:P170,Q12899557, Angela Bassett by David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 7. Made In Hollywood from Hollywood, CA, United States, Don Cheadle at his Brooklyn's Finest Interview, CC BY 2.0 , 8. David Shankbone creator QS:P170,Q12899557, Tracy Morgan 3 Shankbone 2009 NYC, CC BY 3.0 , 9. The Heart Truth, Phylicia Rashad, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 10.,, CC BY-SA 2.0, 11. Georges Biard, Tom Cruise avp 2014 3, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 12. Tony Shek, Samuel L. Jackson TIFF, 2006, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 13. Mingle Media TV, Glenn Close - Guardians of the Galaxy premiere - July 2014 (cropped), CC BY 2.0 , 14. Lcsulla, Ed Harris at TIFF 2005, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 15. Elena Ringo, John Malkovich at a screening of "Casanova Variations" in January 2015, CC BY 4.0 , 16.,, CC BY-SA 2.0, 17.,, CC BY-SA 2.0, 18. Georges Biard, Joaquin Phoenix Cannes 2017, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 19. Paul Bird, Robert Downey, Jr. 2012, CC BY 2.0 , 20.,, CC BY-SA 2.0, 21. Coast Artists Inc. (management); photographer: John E. Reed, Hollywood., Redd Foxx 1966, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons, 22.,, CC BY-SA 2.0, 23. alotofmillion (Photo by Anna Altheide.), Johnny Depp 1, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 24. David Shankbone creator QS:P170,Q12899557, Ed Norton Shankbone Metropolitan Opera 2009, CC BY 3.0 , 25.,, CC BY 2.0