The biggest sore losers in Oscars history: From Angela Bassett to Jack Nicholson

2 min

115 shares, 176 points

Losers can be as sour as lemons and as sore as a pulled hamstring.

The dream of many A-listers in Hollywood is to win a coveted Academy Award and add it to their shelves of accolades.

However, there are only a handful of lucky winners who grab the gold every year, and sometimes fellow nominees appear a bit salty about their loss.

When the time comes during the Oscars ceremony, the camera pans to the entertainers sitting in the audience to catch their reactions to their career defeat.

Actors are sometimes caught heaving heavy sighs, looking upset or appearing downcast when they’re overlooked.

Not everyone can be a winner — and many can be sore losers.

Across the decades, silver screen icons like Angela Bassett, Lauren Bacall, Jack Nicholson and more have lost out on securing golden, glittery glory — with their attitudes captured by candid audience cameras and hilariously broadcast all over the world.

Keep reading to see all-time best (or worst?) runner-up reactions at the Oscars.

Angela Bassett

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” actress Angela Bassett seemed defeated and appeared to look like she was about to break down in tears at the 2023 Oscars.

Bassett lost the Best Supporting Actress statue to Jamie Lee Curtis from “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Talia Shire

“Godfather” star Talia Shire looked visibly upset in 1977 when she was obliterated by Faye Dunaway for the award for Best Actress.

The “Bonnie and Clyde” star won for her role in “Network,” while Shire earned her nomination for “Rocky.”

Sally Kirkland

Cher scored the Best Actress trophy in 1988 for “Moonstruck,” but one of her fellow contenders, Sally Kirkland, appeared irate, rolled her eyes and briefly pursed her lips when she didn’t win.

“JFK” star Kirkland received a nod for her role in “Anna.”

Robert Downey Jr.

The “Iron Man” superstar initially couldn’t mask his disappointment when Al Pacino won Best Actor for “Scent of a Woman” in 1993.

Downey nabbed an Oscar nomination for his role as Charlie Chaplin in “Chaplin.”

Samuel L. Jackson

In 1995, the “Pulp Fiction” icon Samuel L. Jackson was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the Quentin Tarantino feature.

However, he seemed irritated — and even may have uttered an expletive — for losing out to Martin Landau, who scored the award for “Ed Wood.”

Burt Reynolds

For “Smokey and the Bandit” actor Burt Reynolds, the disappointment was readily apparent when he briefly contorted his mouth after he lost to Robin Williams at the 1998 ceremony.

The comedian secured the trophy for Best Supporting Actor for “Good Will Hunting,” while Reynolds was nominated for “Boogie Nights.”

Lauren Bacall

The screen legend offered up a noticeable scowl when Juliette Binoche won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1997.

French star Binoche won for “The English Patient,” while Bacall was in the running for “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”

Jack Nicholson and Nicolas Cage 

Double defeated losers Jack Nicholson and Nicolas Cage were dismayed in 2003 when Adrien Brody nabbed the Best Actor statuette for the Holocaust drama “The Pianist.”

“Something’s Gotta Give” star Nicholson expressed wide-mouthed shock, and “National Treasure” alum Cage seemed to utter a shocked, “What?” as Brody walked up to the podium to receive his accolade.

Brody, meanwhile, was especially ecstatic: When he hit the stage, he embraced astonished presenter Halle Berry and gave a seconds-long kiss to the winner of the 2002 Best Actress Oscar.

Cage was nominated for “Adaptation,” while Nicholson earned a nod for “About Schmidt.”

Bill Murray

“Saturday Night Live” funnyman Bill Murray quietly sulked in 2004 when he lost the Best Actor award to Sean Penn.

Penn triumphed at that year’s Academy Awards for his work in “Mystic River,” while Murray was nominated for “Lost in Translation.”

Ellen Burstyn

In 1974, Ellen Burstyn’s expression turned sour when Glenda Jackson emerged victorious in the Best Actress category for her flick “A Touch of Class.”

Burstyn was nominated for the classic horror flick “The Exorcist,” which won two Oscars on 10 nods.

Like it? Share with your friends!

115 shares, 176 points

What's Your Reaction?

Cute Cute
Fun Fun
Hate Hate
Confused Confused
Fail Fail
Geeky Geeky
Love Love
Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format