There’s a perception in Hollywood that respected actors with a huge body of quality work inevitably wind up with at least one Academy Award. Yet reality tells a much different story. Although B-listers like Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Goldie Hawn and Cuba Gooding Jr. have all walked away with a little gold statue, the following cinematic heavyweights are — inconceivably — still waiting in the wings…

Laura Linney

  • The Savages
  • You Can Count On Me
  • Kinsey
  • Mystic River
  • The Truman Show
  • Love, Actually
  • The Squid and the Whale

For the past 15 years, Ms. Linney has been the go-to gal for comedic and dramatic roles alike. She’s unflappable,¬†unparalleled, unstoppable. And as far as Oscars voters go, the idea of her nabbing an award is apparently unthinkable. Why? Hard to say. Maybe it’s because she’s not a “look at me!” scenery chewer bent on upstaging her co-stars. Or maybe it’s because she doesn’t take to shamelessly campaigning for a win like some other actresses we could name (et tu, Melissa Leo?).

Gary Oldman

  • Sid & Nancy
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Batman Begins/The Dark Knight
  • Immortal Beloved
  • True Romance

Prior to his nomination for last year’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Oldman’s been a veritable Oscar pariah. It’s a bit of a noodle-scratcher, especially since his career-defining turn as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy was way back in 1986. It seems Gary’s just one of those guys we all assume has won the darn thing several times over. Alas, not so much.

Amy Adams

  • Junebug
  • Doubt
  • The Fighter
  • Charlie Wilson’s War
  • Enchanted
  • Julie & Julia

Out of everyone on this list, Amy’s face is the freshest, her career having taken off a mere five years ago. Yet don’t let her relative newcomer status fool you: this woman’s got capital C chops. In that brief period of time, Amy’s transformed herself into a cartoon princess, a nun, a tough Boston bartender, and even Amelia Earhart (sure, why not?). If there’s a role she’s incapable of playing, Amy’s yet to give us proof it exists.

Johnny Depp

  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Ed Wood
  • Blow
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Finding Neverland
  • Sweeney Todd

The problem with being a pretty face is that it’s harder for the Academy to take you seriously (just ask the uber-talented Brad Pitt, who could have easily made this list). Earlier in his career — and heck, even to this day — Depp made a point of eschewing the beefy boy-toy roles in favor of far more quirky fare. The decision took a good decade to pay off, but now ol’ Johnny’s considered one of the most admired and fearless actors in the industry. If only he were a few shades uglier, my man would be backing up the Oscar truck to his front door on a regular basis.

Leonardo diCaprio

  • What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
  • J. Edgar
  • Inception
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • The Aviator
  • The Departed
  • Blood Diamond

You know what? I’ll say it: I think Leonardo DiCaprio was miscast in¬†Titanic, a.k.a. the role that made him a megastar. He was too young, too scrawny, and not experienced enough of an actor. Fortunately, he’s made up for it courtesy of every. Single. Other. Role. He’s. Ever. Played. Since his time served in James Cameron Penitentiary, Leo’s been physically unable to turn in a bad — or even mediocre — performance. He’s been robbed of an Oscar win at least twice, and it’s a trend that will likely continue a few more years. Poor guy. Fortunately, he still has an abundance of money, talent, and gorgeous supermodels to keep him happy. So hey, there’s that, I suppose.