For the last 93 years, winning an Oscar has been the biggest dream of any actor in Hollywood. The award’s prestige dates back to the early years of Hollywood cinema, and it is still regarded as the most significant award in the American entertainment industry.
Legends like Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Taylor, and Humphrey Bogart have all been rightfully accepted into the Academy’s highly prized Oscars club. We can’t believe the following classic Hollywood stars were snubbed.
Actress Natalie Wood first began acting at the age of four and received recognition for her role in Miracle on 34th Street when she was just eight years old. By the time Wood was a teenager, she earned her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Rebel Without a Cause, but the award was ultimately given to Jo Van Fleet for East of Eden.
Wood went on to star in some of the biggest musical films of the 1960s, including West Side Story and Gypsy. She also received Oscar nominations for Best Actress for her performances in Splendor in the Grass and Love with the Proper Stranger. While she never won an Oscar, Wood did win several Golden Globes before her tragic death in 1981.
Rita Hayworth was one of the biggest and most glamorous stars of the 1940s. Best known for her leading femme fatale performance in the 1946 film Gilda (opposite Glenn Ford), Hayworth went on to star in other major films like The Lady from Shanghai, Blood and Sand, and Separate Tables.
Surprisingly, she never earned an Oscar nomination for her work.
Richard Burton was not only an accomplished film star, but he was also a prolific stage actor and Shakespearean player. Celebrated as one of vintage Hollywood’s greatest male leads, it’s shocking that he never won an Academy Award.
Burton was nominated for an Oscar seven times for films like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?. Although his wife Elizabeth Taylor won Best Actress for the same film, he never won the award. Burton did receive two Golden Globes, a Grammy, and a Tony award.
Jayne Mansfield is mostly remembered for her 1950s sex-symbol status through her work as a model and Playboy Playmate, but she also enjoyed a successful acting career before her sudden death in a car crash in 1967.
Mansfield earned a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year, Actress for her role in The Girl Can’t Help It but was never given an Academy Award nomination. Who knows what might have happened if her life wasn’t cut short at the age of 34?
Australian-born actor Errol Flynn found major success in swashbuckling and tight-wearing roles like Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood. The American Film Institute even named him the 18th greatest hero in American film history, but he ultimately quit Hollywood and became embroiled in financial troubles before his death in 1959.
Flynn was never nominated for an Oscar or other major awards but remains a classic figure of Golden Age Hollywood.
Janet Leigh had been working in Hollywood since the 1940s, but it wasn’t until Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho that Leigh was truly put on the map as Hollywood’s original “scream queen.” Leigh won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for playing Marion Crane and was also nominated for an Oscar that same year. Ultimately the Oscar was awarded to Shirley Jones for her role in Elmer Gantry.
“I’ve been in a great many films,” Leigh commented on her career-defining role in Psycho. “But I suppose if an actor can be remembered for one role then they’re very fortunate. And in that sense I’m fortunate.”
It seems that an Oscar win has eluded the Curtis family, but all that may change at the 2023 awards ceremony. Janet Leigh’s husband and Some Like it Hot star Tony Curtis worked in Hollywood for six decades alongside legends like Sidney Poitier, Kirk Douglas, and Marilyn Monroe. Curtis won two Golden Globe awards and was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his role in The Defiant Ones. Ultimately David Niven won the award for his role in Separate Tables.
Curtis and Janet Leigh’s eldest daughter Jamie Lee Curtis was recently nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her hilarious role in Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. This is Curtis’ first Oscar nomination, and she could potentially make both her parents proud by bringing an Academy Award home.
German-American actress Marlene Dietrich was one of the biggest stars of the silent film era before tackling “the talkies” in the 1930s. Her incredible singing voice landed her roles like Amy Jolly, a cabaret singer in Morrocco. Her portrayal of Jolly earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 1932, but the award was given to Marie Dressler instead.
Dietrich remains an iconic Hollywood star. And even though she didn’t receive any major award wins during her career, the American Film Institute named her the ninth greatest female screen legend of classic Hollywood cinema in 1999.