The 10 Longest Oscar Dry Spells -

The 10 Longest Oscar Dry Spells

 The 10 Longest Oscar Dry Spells

As we approach the weirdest, most muted Academy Awards in memory, Chloe Zhao is a heavy favorite to make history as the first Asian woman to win Best Director for Nomadland. On the other hand, Glenn Close stands to make an entirely different kind of history. She’s nominated for best supporting actress for Hillbilly Elegy, and although the category is considered one of the less predictable this year, she’s still considered a long shot, with Minari’s Yuh-Jung Youn the favorite; if Close doesn’t win, she’ll tie Peter O’Toole’s record for the most acting nominations without an Oscar. In fact, Close’s tally will stand an inch or two taller than O’Toole’s, who received an honorary award before he died in 2013.

Let’s look on the bright side: to lose a lot of Oscars, you do need to give a lot of incredible performances to get nominated in the first place. To commemorate Close’s possible anti-achievement, GQ took a look at the ten actors and directors with the longest dry spells in the history of the Oscars. (The technical categories do have some truly wild records: Greg P. Russell, nominated 17 times for sound mixing without a win, and Thomas Newman, nominated 15 times for best score and best song—our hearts go out to you.) We’re looking at people primarily known for their work acting or directing, but we’ll put nominations in any category towards their count. We may know Wes Anderson primarily as a director, but he gets nominations as a director, screenwriter, and producer.

It’s worth noting that there are different ways to count “biggest loser.” Technically, no actor or director has lost more Academy Awards than Meryl Streep—but that’s what happens when you’re nominated for every damn one. Streep is 3/21, with a 12 nomination dry spell between wins two (Sophie’s Choice in 1983) and three (The Iron Lady, 2012). And no one has lost more than composer John Williams, who has 5 wins out of an astounding 52 noms.

Below are the actors and directors who just could not seem to bring it all the way home.

10. Deborah Kerr, 0/6.The Scottish actress has the distinction of earning the most nominations in the lead actress category without a win—Kerr got six between 1950 and 1961. Best known for From Here to Eternity and The King and I, she faced stiff competition every year she was nominated, losing to the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and Elizabeth Taylor. The Academy didn’t leave her completely empty-handed though—she received an honorary award in 1994.

9. Amy Adams, 0/6. Adams has received five nominations for supporting actress and one for lead, and she’s had good opportunities to win, especially in 2010 for her role as Mark Wahlberg’s very Boston girlfriend in The Fighter and in 2013 for her portrayal of the woman behind the curtain in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. In the former case she lost to her very worthy co-star Melissa Leo, and in the latter she was robbed by Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables. Justice for Amy!

8. Thelma Ritter, 0/6. Ritter was a comedic character actor who worked in the 50s and 60s. She garnered six nominations for best supporting actress over the course of her career, most notably for her turn as Bette Davis’s maid in All About Eve.

7. Robert Altman, 0/7. If you were to judge Robert Altman solely by M*A*S*H, his influence on American culture would still be vast. He collected five nominations for best director and two for best picture, every year he was up for a prize, the competition was stacked: Steven Spielberg won Best Director with Schindler’s List over Altman’s late-career masterpiece Short Cuts, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest triumphed over early-career masterpiece Nashville. Oscar or not, Altman is a giant who influenced some of the best filmmakers working today, including other Oscar losers like Richard Linklater (0 for 5) and Paul Thomas Anderson (coming up). He did get a consolation honorary award in 2006.

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