25 Actors and Actresses Who Really Should Have Won the Oscar

Jesse Eisenberg
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'The Social Network.' BUT LOST TO: Colin Firth in 'The King's Speech.' Firth's role had all the ingredients of a win, but Eisenberg mastered millennial aloneness as Zuckerberg.
Bill Murray
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Lost in Translation.' BUT LOST TO: Sean Penn in 'Mystic River.' Murray's career-changing role is perhaps the greatest embodiment of malaise that cinema has yet to see.
Ellen Burstyn
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Requiem for a Dream.' BUT LOST TO: Julia Roberts in 'Erin Brokovich.' Roberts' feel-good fight-the-power performance doesn't hold a candle to Burstyn's total self-destruction.
article continues below ad
Geoffrey Rush
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Quills.' BUT LOST TO: Russell Crowe in 'Gladiator.' Rush delivers a performance so wickedly clever that we can't quite fathom how Crowe's thick, heavy action hero got the trophy.
Emmanuelle Riva
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Amour.' BUT LOST TO: Jennifer Lawrence in 'Silver Linings Playbook.' Riva's superhuman transformation was easily the best performance of 2012.
Cate Blanchett
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Elizabeth.' BUT LOST TO: Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Shakespeare in Love.' Both duly sophisticated and expertly delivered was Blanchett's turn as Queen Elizabeth I.
article continues below ad
Matt Damon
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Good Will Hunting.' BUT LOST TO: Jack Nicholson in 'As Good as It Gets.' Nicholson played loose and light in Brooks' schmaltzy dramedy, whereas Damon got earthy and gritty.
Michelle Pfeiffer
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'The Fabulous Baker Boys.' BUT LOST TO: Jessica Tandy in 'Driving Miss Daisy.' Oscar-friendly material landed Tandy the win for this one, but Pfeiffer's the superior performance.
Demian Bichir
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'A Better Life.' BUT LOST TO: Jean Dujardin for 'The Artist.' Dujardin's one-dimensional flight of whimsy hardly parallels Bichir's gripping turn.
article continues below ad
Holly Hunter
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Broadcast News.' BUT LOST TO: Cher in 'Moonstruck.' While Cher's voluminous rom-com heroine is endearing, Hunter's emotionally chaotic reporter is the stuff of acting legend.
Sigourney Weaver
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Aliens.' BUT LOST TO: Marlee Matlin in 'Children of a Lesser God.' A sci-fi like 'Aliens' could never win Weaver an Oscar, but she sure does show magnetic talent in the film.
Bob Hoskins
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Mona Lisa.' BUT LOST TO: Paul Newman in 'The Color of Money.' The perpetually underrated Hoskins shone in this tight drama, but Newman's Scorsese-helmed role had the star power.
article continues below ad
Jack Nicholson
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Chinatown.' BUT LOST TO: Art Carney in 'Harry and Tonto.' We'd never lament the muted good time that is 'Harry and Tonto,' but Nicholson's cold detective deserved the win.
Robert De Niro
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'The Deer Hunter.' BUT LOST TO: Jon Voight in 'Coming Home.' De Niro's homecoming veteran not only deserved the Oscar in '78, but might just be the best performance of all time.
Al Pacino
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Serpico.' BUT LOST TO: Jack Lemmon in 'Save the Tiger.' We love Jack Lemmon (as you'll see), but how can you possibly overlook Pacino's most genius performance?
article continues below ad
Dustin Hoffman
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Midnight Cowboy.' BUT LOST TO: John Wayne in 'True Grit.' Hoffman embodied pure desperation and loneliness in this way-ahead-of-its-time New York drama.
Faye Dunaway
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Bonnie and Clyde.' BUT LOST TO: Katherine Hepburn in 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.' Dunaway made for one half of the greatest crime duo in film history, and did so with flare.
Michael Caine
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Alfie.' BUT LOST TO: Paul Scofield in 'A Man for All Seasons.' Today, we remember Alfie as a seminal Caine role, one that proved his abilities both comedically and dramatically.
article continues below ad
Peter Sellers
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Dr. Strangelove.' BUT LOST TO: Rex Harrison in 'My Fair Lady.' Is Sellers' loss the most egregious snub on the list? Well, he did play 3 characters in a single (hilarious) movie.
Shirley MacLaine
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'The Apartment.' BUT LOST TO: Elizabeth Taylor in 'BUtterfield 8.' MacLaine launched the rom-com heroine with 'The Apartment,' merging kooky charms with down-to-Earth sorrow.
Jack Lemmon
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'The Apartment.' BUT LOST TO: Burt Lancaster in 'Elmer Gantry.' And Lemmon was just as important, immortalizing the good-natured schnook with such hilarity.
article continues below ad
Elizabeth Taylor
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.' BUT LOST TO: Susan Hayward in 'I Want to Live!' Liz Taylor radiates in this smoky, haunting drama about the horrors of impending mortality.
Bette Davis
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'All About Eve.' BUT LOST TO: Ginger Rogers in 'Kitty Foyle.' One of the most wonderful character pieces ever created and neither of the two nominated stars got the trophy!
James Stewart
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Harvey.' BUT LOST TO: Jose Ferrer in 'Cyrano de Bergerac.' This might be a tad controversial, but Stewart really did nail the whole talking-to-an-invisible-rabbit thing.
article continues below ad
Joan Fontaine
SHOULD HAVE WON FOR: 'Rebecca.' BUT LOST TO: Judy Holliday in 'Born Yesterday.' Fontaine might be Alfred Hitchcock's greatest ever heroine, and was easily the best performance of 1940.