15 Oscar Winners Who Did Not Attend the Ceremony

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON April 25th, 2019


7. Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford

Image Source: independent.co.uk

Upon her nomination for Best Actress for her exceptional performance in Mildred Pierce, Joan Crawford was so convinced that her fellow nominee Ingrid Bergman would win that she did not even bother to show up at the ceremony.

As fate would have it, Crawford actually ended up winning the award. The highlight of the night was not the Academy Award ceremony but what happened when she found out about her victory. In true Hollywood fashion, she accepted the award by inviting paparazzi inside her own bedroom where she accepted her award. 


6. Michael Caine

Michael Caine

Out of all things to do so, the legendary English actor was busy shooting the critically panned Jaws: The Revenge when he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal in Hannah and Her Sisters.

Michael Caine definitely learned a lesson from his absence as he attended the ceremony upon his next nomination thirteen years later. The actor won for the same category for his performance in The Cider House Rules and gave a heartwarming speech.


5. Paul Newman

Paul Newman

Image Source: france24.com

You cannot blame Paul Newman for not attending the 1987 Academy Award ceremony. The actor had received six nominations for his astounding performances but always came up short.

Upon his seventh nomination and ultimately his first win for Best Actor due to his remarkable portrayal in Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money, the 62-year actor had refused to attend the ceremony and revealed,

“It’s like chasing a beautiful woman for 80 years. Finally, she relents, and you say, ‘I’m terribly sorry. I’m tired.'”


4. Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Image Source: heightline.com

When Hollywood icon and previous winner Elizabeth Taylor was nominated for Best Actress upon her performance for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, it was exceedingly obvious that she would end up as an easy winner.

However, she did not attend the ceremony because she was in Paris at the time along with her then-husband Richard Burton and the latter had a fear of flying. At least that was what the couple offered as an explanation but rumor has it that two refused to attend the ceremony as a sign of protest due to Burton being nominated four times prior and never winning once. The actor had been nominated again for the same movie and was once again not expected to win.

The speculation has often been backed up by the fact that Taylor never thanked the Academy following her victory. As for Burton, the actor lost again and same was the case upon his next two nominations.


3. Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

Image Source: france24.com

Truth be told, it was rather predictable that Roman Polanski would not be attending any Academy Award ceremonies. In 1977, the French-Polish director was drenched in controversy after pleading guilty to having sexual intercourse with an underage girl.

A year later, Polanski fled outside the United States in order to avoid his inevitable imprisonment. In 2002, he won the Academy Award for Best Director but wisely did not return to the country because he would have been immediately arrested. Despite his crime, the majority of the audience roared in applause once he was announced the winner.


2. Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

Image Source: vulture.com

Arguably the greatest movie ever made, The Godfather is a pinnacle of film-making. Revolving around an Italian-American family who have chosen crime as a profession, it was considered a masterpiece and one of the most lauded movies of the year notably due to Marlon Brando’s iconic performance.

When Brando won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role of Don Vito Corleone, he sent an American-Indian Rights activist named Sacheen Littlefeather – who wore an Apache attire – on stage to publicly announce his decision to boycott the award as a sign of protest against the mistreatment of Native Americans in Hollywood and the Wounded Knee incident.


1. Eminem


Image Source: channel24.co.za

There is no question about Eminem being the greatest rapper alive in recent years but the very idea of him winning an Academy Award seemed improbable. When his rap song “Lose Yourself” was nominated for Best Original Score at the 75th Academy Awards, the nomination itself was considered an achievement for the rapper while rock band U2 was widely expected as winners.

Nobody, even Eminem himself, thought that his song actually stood a chance of winning so he did not attend the ceremony. When he was announced as the winner, the audience blew the roof off the arena with applause as co-writer of the song Luis Resto accepted the award on Eminem’s behalf.

Believe it or not, at the precise moment when Eminem made history by becoming the first rapper to win an Oscar, he was spending the night at his home with his daughter watching cartoons on television.


Did we miss any of the Oscar winners who did not attend the ceremony? Please let us know in the comments below!