At last year’s Academy Awards, Kevin O’Connell just broke the longest streak for Oscar nominations without a win. The 59-year-old New Yorker had been nominated 21 times in total, making 2017 a very good year for him.
Who else among Hollywood’s finest has had to weather a storm of nominations without a win? Well, even just keeping it to over 10 nominations, it’s a healthy list. Let’s take a look.
Greg P. Russell
O’Connell’s win must have been somewhat bittersweet for Russell, who’s directly behind the elder sound mixer in the category of most nominations without wins. A frequent soundman for Michael Bay, Russell has been nominated a total of 17 times; each year from 2010 to 2013, and before that for The Rock, Con Air, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. He was nominated this year for 13 Hours.
Hired as a sketch artist in the 1920s, Anderson was nominated 15 times for art direction during his tenure at Paramount, including for Moon River. He died in 1989 without ever having picked up a win.
Nominated as a composer for a stream of films starting with 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire (which the American Film Institute slated at no. 19 on its list of the greatest film scores — the Library of Congress also added it to the National Recording Registry), North was the first composer honored by the Academy with a Lifetime Achievement award, which happened in 1986, after 15 previous nominations failed to secure him a win. (Ennio Morricone is the only other composer to receive such an award.)
Loren L. Ryder
Rider holds the distinction of winning five “technical” and honorary Academy Awards without picking up any competitive trophies, even after 12 nominations. His best-known work includes ’50s classics like Rear Window, The War of the Worlds and Double Indemnity.
George J. Folsey
Folsey worked on 162 films between 1919 and his retirement in 1976. A director of photography, he was nominated 13 times for Best Cinematography but never won. Eight months before he died, however, the American Society of Cinematographers — which he served as President of in 1956-57 — honored him with its first Lifetime Achievement Award.
Deakins has served as cinematographer on some of the finest films of the past quarter-century, including The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou? No Country For Old Men, The Reader and True Grit. A frequent collaborator of the Cohen Brothers, their Oscar success has yet to touch him: He’s been nominated 13 times at the Oscars without a win.
Newman comes from an extremely musical family — Randy “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” Newman is his cousin, and his father Alfred won nine Oscars for composing. Thomas, however, has not fared as well: He’s been nominated for 14 Academy Awards during his career, including for The Shawshank Redemption (apparently just an unlucky film), American Beauty and Finding Nemo, all without a win.
Fellini joins Ingmar Bergman in the “legendary 20th century directors without a competitive Oscar” club, with 12 nominations. His first chance, after four nominations for writing, came in 1962 (La Dolce Vita). He did direct four Best Foreign Films and got an honorary Oscar in 1993, though those are typically counted separately from the “major” directing awards.
Another sound engineer consistently shut out (are you sensing a theme?), Kline has nonetheless worked on a host of legendary films, including Star Wars, The Godfather, Rocky, Rambo, Harry Potter, X-Men, Fast and Furious and Top Gun. All told, he’s got 11 nominations without a win.
Behlmer was the first woman nominated in the Best Sound category (for 1996’s eventual Best Picture winner Braveheart) and has been in the running for such films as L.A. Confidential, The Thin Red Line and Moulin Rouge!, among others, to the tune of 10 nominations without a win.
The head of his own animation studio, Lantz counts the creation of the first Technicolor cartoon and characters Chilly Willy and Woody Woodpecker to his credits. Despite ten Academy Award nominations, stretching from 1934 to 1956, he didn’t pick up an Oscar until 1979, when he was awarded an honorary statuette.
He won an Emmy (The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau) and a Golden Globe (Ben), but despite his ten Academy Award nominations, never took home an Oscar. He was nominated for his score for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as well as Ben (1972) and Funny Girl (1968).