13 Pop Icons Who Did (& Didn’t) Win Oscars

Anyone who’s seen the latest remake of A Star Is Born shouldn’t be surprised that Lady Gaga is nominated for a best actress Oscar. Though we’re used to seeing the pop star in outrageous costumes, she’s stripped down and vulnerable in the role of Ally. But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a pop star cross over into Academy Awards territory. In fact, many singers have been nominated for Oscars, either as actors or for their song on a movie’s soundtrack.

In honor of the upcoming 2019 Academy Awards on Sunday, let’s take a look at some of our other favorite pop stars who have flirted with — or went home with — Oscar. Maybe Lady Gaga will join the winners’ circle soon.

1. Kendrick Lamar and SZA

The song “All the Stars” from 2018’s Black Panther is performed by Kendrick Lamar and SZA. Black Panther is also the first comic book movie to ever be nominated for best picture. So, what are the odds of the film winning either Oscar? To quote Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) in Black Panther, “My son, it is your time.”

2. Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake brought family-friendly music back with his song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the adorable animated film Trolls. Though he gave a great performance at the Oscars ceremony in 2017, he lost out to “City of Stars” from La La Land.

3. Sam Smith

Sam Smith’s song “Writing’s on the Wall,” which he cowrote for the James Bond film Spectre, took home the Oscar for best original song in 2016 (beating out Lady Gaga for her song “Till It Happens to You” from the documentary The Hunting Ground). Smith dedicated the statuette to “the LGBT community all around the world.”

4. Common and John Legend

In 2014, Common and John Legend’s soulful power ballad “Glory” from the film Selma won for best original song. Common gave an inspirational speech about performing the song on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where civil rights activists marched in 1965.

5. Adele

Who can forget the haunting lilt of Adele’s voice in the song “Skyfall” from the James Bond movie of the same name? In 2013, the pop icon was nearly in tears as she accepted the golden honor.

6. Jennifer Hudson

After giving a powerhouse performance in the 2007 musical Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson won the best supporting actress Oscar, putting Beyoncé, who also starred in the film, in the proverbial corner. Don’t worry — we bet Queen Bey got over it.

7. Eminem

Detroit native Eminem won an Oscar for his song “Lose Yourself” from his film 8 Mile in 2002. His cowriter accepted the award alone because, apparently, Eminem was sleeping.

8. Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in the musical Chicago in 2003. She lost not to fellow nominee Meryl Streep but to Chicago castmate Catherine Zeta-Jones.

9. Cher

The audience gave Cher a standing ovation when she strutted to the podium in a sheer black lace gown to receive her Oscar for best actress, for her role in Moonstruck in 1988. In her speech, she thanked fellow nominee “Mary Louise Streep” (otherwise known as Meryl Streep) for being in her first film (Silkwood), now that Streep and Cher ended up being nominated together.

10. Prince

In 1984, Prince accepted his Academy Award for best original song score for Purple Rain, flanked by bandmates Wendy and Lisa, while wearing a glittery purple hoodie.

11. Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand has won two Oscars. In 1968, she won best actress for her performance in Funny Girl, and then she won best original song for “Evergreen” from A Star Is Born in 1977. Hey, Lady Gaga, this bodes really well for you.

12. Madonna

Though Madonna won a Golden Globe for acting in the title role of Evita, when it came to the 1996 Academy Award for best actress, Oscar never called. Evita’s “You Must Love Me” did win the Oscar for best original song, though. Sorry, Madge.

13. Björk

In the film Dancer in the Dark, Björk gave a determined, earnest and sob-inducing performance in the lead role. But the Academy didn’t acknowledge her acting. Instead, her duet with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, “I’ve Seen It All,” was nominated for best original song. She, Yorke and that iconic swan dress lost out to Bob Dylan and his song “Things Have Changed” from the film Wonder Boys.

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