With autumn on the horizon, the season's first Oscar contenders are here: There is buzz around "Wild," "The Judge," "Gone Girl" and a number of other films to be released in the coming months. Already, The Hollywood Reporter has speculated that the often-snubbed Julianne Moore could win for "Still Alice." Although before we get swept up in predictions, it's nice to remember that little gold men are not the reason we love the movies. They shouldn't be the primary reason for acting in them either.
Bill Murray knows this first hand. Murray was positioned to win his first-ever Academy Award for 2004's "Lost in Translation," but he lost the trophy to Sean Penn. Years later, Murray explained how he took the defeat in stride, and his words should act as a blueprint for anyone who has failed to curry favor with Oscar voters:
I went through it once before and it's nice to get nominated and win some prizes. You get to go to dinners and tell little stories and so forth. Then you get to get dressed up in a tux a couple of times. And then you get to be on TV, [which is] sweet. And you can either win or lose. Well you're not supposed to say lose when you talk about the Oscar. You are supposed to say 'not chosen' or something.
But I later realized, even though I didn't know it at the time, that I had gotten a little caught up in the possibility of winning. So, shame on myself for getting caught in it. But I won a lot of the prizes [for Lost in Translation]. So I thought it didn't seem unnatural to expect that I would be rewarded just one more time. So when it didn't happen, I thought, ‘Well that's kind of funny.’ But it's a funny thing and people get prizes. People don't get prizes. That's not why you work. It's nice when you do.
Murray isn't alone in those feelings. No mention of actors without Oscars would be complete without recognition of Leonardo DiCaprio, who said, "I don't think I ever expected anything like an Oscar ever, to tell you the truth. That is not my motivation when I do these roles. I really am motivated by being able to work with great people and create a body of work that I can look back and be proud of."
Perhaps neither Murray nor DiCaprio will ever be introduced as an Academy Award-winning actor, but winning an Oscar for acting shouldn't be the point. Here are 14 other amazing actors who have proved that countless times before.
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress, 1997, "Boogie Nights" (winner: Kim Basinger, "L.A. Confidential"); Best Actress, 1999, "The End of the Affair" (winner: Hilary Swank, "Boys Don't Cry"); Best Supporting Actress, 2002, "The Hours (winner: Catherine Zeta-Jones, "Chicago"); Best Actress, 2002, "Far From Heaven" (winner: Nicole Kidman, "The Hours").
Nominated for: Best Actor, 2011, "Moneyball" (winner: Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"); Best Actor, 2008, "The Curious Case of Benajmin Button" (winner: Sean Penn, "Milk"); Best Supporting Actor, 1996, "Twelve Monkeys" (winner: Kevin Spacey, "The Usual Suspects"). (Pitt did win an Oscar as a producer of "12 Years A Slave.")
Nominated for: Best Actor, 2003, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (winner: Sean Penn for "Mystic River"), Best Actor, 2004, "Finding Neverland" (winner: Jamie Foxx, "Ray"); Best Actor, 2007, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood").
Nominated for: Best Actress, 1986, "Aliens" (winner: Marlee Matlin, "Children of a Lesser God"); Best Supporting Actress, 1988, "Working Girl" (winner: Geena Davis, "The Accidental Tourist"); Best Actress, 1988, "Gorillas in the Mist" (winner: Jodie Foster, "The Accused").
Samuel L. Jackson
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actor, 1994, "Pulp Fiction" (winner: Martin Landau, "Ed Wood").
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress, 1988, "Dangerous Liasons (winner: Geena Davis, "The Accidental Tourist"); Best Actress, 1989, "The Fabulous Baker Boys" (winner: Jessica Tandy, "Driving Miss Daisy"); Best Actress, 1992, "Love Field" (winner: Emma Thompson, "Howards End").
Nominated for: Best Actor, 1989, "Born on the Fourth of July" (winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, "My Left Foot"); Best Actor, 1996, "Jerry Maguire" (winner: Geoffrey Rush, "Shine"); Best Supporting Actor, 1999, "Magnolia" (winner: Michael Caine, "The Cider House Rules").
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress, 1982, "The World According to Garp (winner: Jessica Lange, "Tootsie"); Best Supporting Actress, 1983, "The Big Chill" (winner: Linda Hunt, "The Year of Living Dangerously"); Best Supporting Actress, 1984, "The Natural" (winner: Peggy Ashcroft, "A Passage to India"); Best Actress, 1987, "Fatal Attraction" (winner: Cher, "Moonstruck"); Best Actress, 1988, "Dangerous Liasons" (winner: Jodie Foster, "The Accused"); Best Actress, 2011, "Albert Nobbs" (winner: Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady").
Nominated for: Best Actor, 1984, "Witness" (winner: William Hurt, "Kiss of the Spider Woman").
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress, 1990, "The Grifters" (winner: Whoopi Goldberg, "Ghost"); Best Actress, 1999, "American Beauty" (winner: Hilary Swank, "Boys Don't Cry"); Best Actress, 2000, "The Kids Are All Right" (winner: Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"); Best Actress, 2004, "Being Julia" (winner: Hilary Swank, "Million Dollar Baby").
Nominated for: Best Actor, 2000, "Ali" (winner: Denzel Washington, "Training Day"), Best Actor, 2005, "Pursuit of Happyness" (winner: Forest Whitaker, "The Last King of Scotland").
Nominated for: Best Actress, 2000, "You Can Count on Me" (winner: Julia Roberts, "Erin Brokovich); Best Supporting Actress, 2004, "Kinsey" (winner: Cate Blanchett, "The Aviator"); Best Actress, 2007, "The Savages" (winner: Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose").
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actor, 1996, "Primal Fear" (winner: Cuba Gooding Jr., "Jerry Maguire"); Best Actor, 1998, "American History X" (winner: Roberto Benigni, "Life is Beautiful").
Robert Downey Jr.
Nominated for: Best Actor, 1992, "Chaplin" (winner: Al Pacino, "Scent of a Woman"); Best Supporting Actor, 2008, "Tropic Thunder" (winner: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight").
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece misstated Martin Landau's name.