Glenn Close has been nominated for multiple Oscars over the course of 40 years, but she has never got ahold of a statuette. She kicked off her career on Broadway and had her breakthrough role in The World According to Garp in 1982 when director George Roy Hill asked her to audition with Robin Williams, and she earned her first Oscar nomination right away. Close has a natural talent for comedy and a flair for drama; that’s how her performances are so charming and easy to relate to.


Throughout her fantastic career, Glenn Close has earned three Emmys, three Golden Globes, three Tonys, and two SAG awards. If she ever wins an Oscar, she will be very close to earning an EGOT. Glenn Close’s best movies include blockbusters, comedies, and heavy dramas, ranging from Guardians of the Galaxy to The Wife, and she continues to find great roles, meaning it’s not too late for an Oscar win. So far, though, she’s been nominated eight times with zero wins. Here’s a look at each of Glenn Close’s Oscar nominations and who she lost to.

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The World According To Garp (1982)

Glenn Cloe in The World According To Garp

Few actors garner Oscar recognition for their breakthrough roles, but Glenn Close did, with a Best Supporting Actress nomination for The World According to Garp. At age 35, Close co-starred as Robin Williams’s mother, though she was only four years older than him. The movie offers interesting insights into two sides of the same coin: the perspective of a young aspiring writer and that of his mother, Jenny Fields (Close), whose best-selling book turns her into a feminist icon.

While Close swept some of the regional critics’ group awards, that year’s Oscar for Best Supporting Actress went to Jessica Lange for Tootsie. Lange was also nominated for Best Actress the same year, bringing a lot of attention to her and, consequently, granting her at least one win out of two. She had previously won the Golden Globe for her supporting role in Tootsie and didn’t win for Frances, where she was the lead, thus her Oscar was expected.

The Big Chill (1983)

The Big Chill

One year after The World According to Garp, Glenn Close joined The Big Chill‘s cast in what would be one of her most popular roles: Sarah Cooper, a sensitive young woman who let the past get over her head. In the film, seven college friends reunite after the funeral of Alex Marshall, whom Sarah had an affair with. Of all the talented actors in the cast, Close got the Best Supporting Actress nomination because Sarah — one of Close’s all-time best roles — offered the biggest emotional charge to the movie, bumping up the narrative with heartrending confessions of the past.

Although Close stole the show whenever she was onscreen, the Oscar went unsurprisingly to Linda Hunt, who played a Chinese-Australian man with dwarfism in The Year of Living Dangerously. By swapping genders and presenting a dynamic role, she bumped up the clout of Peter Weir’s drama, even with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver in the lead roles.

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The Natural (1984)

Glenn Close The Natural

The Natural is a heavy drama based on the fictional life of Roy Hobbs, a mysterious baseball player who changes the game. The movie received four Oscar nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Glenn Close, her third one in three consecutive Oscar ceremonies. The Natural would be just another movie about fictional baseball players if weren’t for Close, who plays Hobbs’s childhood girlfriend in a performance overflowing with nostalgia. She received a deserved nomination for bringing with her character Hobb’s painful childhood and replacing it with a warm love that gives him strength.

Even with Close’s charming performance, the Oscar went to Peggy Ashcroft for A Passage to India, a movie that was much stronger than The Natural in the competition, earning 11 nominations including Best Picture. It would’ve been a major shock if Ashcroft hadn’t won because she swept all the major awards of the season, bringing home the Golden Globes and the BAFTA with no clear contender in her way.

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Michael Douglas as Dan and Glenn Close as Alex fighting with a knife in Fatal Attraction

Close was 40 years old when she received her first Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, for one of the year’s most controversial contenders. In Fatal Attraction, Close plays a character considered one of the greatest villains in movie history: Alex Forrest, an unpredictable psychopath who turns her married lover’s life to hell when she begins to stalk him and threaten his family. Fatal Attraction wasn’t the typical Oscar bait, delivering a mix of romance and thriller and flirting with horror elements, a genre criminally overlooked by the Academy.

Even with the obstacles, the movie did reasonably well with the Academy, earning six nominations, including Best Picture, but it was ultimately the type of movie that wins over critics but can’t outperform the more serious competitors. The Best Actress Oscar that year went to Moonstruck‘s Cher and her more traditional performance as a young woman stuck in a love triangle. The rom-com was an absolute crowd-pleaser, and it was difficult not to fall in love with Cher’s character, although Close’s Alex has aged better than some of the other movie characters who’ve upheld the femme fatale archetype.

Related: 10 Movies To Watch If You Like Fatal Attraction

Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Glenn Close Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons delivered another twist in Glenn Close’s career. She went from a dangerous stalker to a seductive marquise in a period drama. Different from her other movies, Dangerous Liaisons was designed entirely around her performance. Her character, the Marquise de Merteuil, pulls every string in the narrative, a self-contained woman who gradually loses control of herself.

This looked like Close’s time to win the Oscar, but she faced a very tough competitor in 1989: Jodie Foster, for The Accused. In the disturbing drama, Foster plays a woman who seeks justice after being brutally raped. It was a tough race, but Foster brought the award home.

Albert Nobbs (2011)

Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs

Twenty years after Glenn Close’s nomination for Dangerous Liaisons, she returned to the awards game with a role playing a woman playing a man. In Albert Nobbs, Close is an Irish woman who decides to pose as a man to break free from the shackles of a conservative 19th-century society. Close nailed all the flaws and controversial idiosyncrasies of her character, making Nobbs look real and relatable, but the film suffered from a weak script and was received with 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics stating that incredible performances couldn’t carry the movie alone.

Close’s biggest competition in the Best Actress race was Meryl Streep, who came from an equally weak movie. The Iron Lady tells the story of Margaret Thatcher, one of the world’s most famous political personalities. Streep, meanwhile, was one of the most-nominated actresses of the 21st-century, and she’d already had two wins and 17 nominations in total at the time. The odds had never been so against Close.

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The Wife (2017)

Glenn Close The Wife

With The Wife, Glenn Close again delivered an outstanding performance in a weak movie, being the primary reason why the movie received any attention at all. Because critics weren’t head over heels for the film, there was a debate going on about whether Close would make it to the Oscars or not, but her SAG Award win sealed the deal for her, ensuring a Best Actress nomination. The movie offers an intimate look into Close’s character, a wife who travels to Stockholm with her author husband, who is set to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

That year, Olivia Colman received her first Oscar nomination, for The Favourite, and was sweeping every single critic’s prize during awards season. The Favourite is loosely based on a true story, with Colman playing an exaggerated portrayal of Queen Anne, an unpredictable monarch who suffered from gout. While Close had very high odds of winning, and even she seemed to expect to finally take home the Oscar, Colman’s name was called in one of the night’s big surprises.

Hillbilly Elegy (2020)

Haley Bennett, Glenn Close, and Owen Asztalos in Hillbilly Elegy
Haley Bennett, Glenn Close, and Owen Asztalos in Hillbilly Elegy

Glenn Close’s career took a turn in the 2010s. While she remained an incredible actress, she took part in many projects that, unfortunately, weren’t on her level, which explains why she would get nominated but never win. With her nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Hillbilly Elegy, Close became the most overdue actress in the Academy’s history, with eight chances, but Oscar voters still didn’t come through for her. Interestingly, Close’s co-star Amy Adams, is known for many Oscar nominations and no wins, as well.

The Oscar for Best Supporting Actress that year went to Youn Yuh-Jung. The Korean actress gained recognition for her strong performance in an equally powerful movie: Minari, a charming film that went all the way from the Sundance Film Festival to the Academy Awards without losing steam.

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