“There are 44 Oscar nominees who have appeared in a Star Wars movie.”
~Our Staff, All Week, They Literally Won’t Shut Up About it
This article is very pointless and dumb for most people, and our writers are obsessed with it. Let’s talk about Star Wars, you buncha nerds.
Since 1977, the world has been gifted (and in some case, begrudgingly offered as a cash grab) eleven different films in the Star Wars Universe. There are also some animated tv shows out there if you really want to get deep into that shit.
During that time, many well-regarded actors with numerous accolades have appeared in a Star Wars film. Specifically, the Star Wars universe features a staggering amount of Academy Award nominated individuals who appear, either onscreen or as voices, in these films. We counted. It’s 44.
Keep in mind, many other famous actors have appeared in these films who have not been nominated for an Academy Award. Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee have never received Oscar nominations, for example (though McGregor has Golden Globe nominations)
Frank Oz (a.k.a. Yoda) has an Emmy. Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa) has won a Golden Globe. By the way, did you know that Rose Byrne (2 Golden Globe nominations) was in Attack of the Clones? And Joel Edgerton, who was in the prequel trilogy as young Owen Lars, has a Golden Globe nomination to his name for Loving. They are not on this list. But a LOT of people are! Anyway! Let’s get into this nerd fest!
Every Oscar-Nominee Who Has Appeared in a Star Wars Film
Oh what’s that? You want more random people who you’ve heard of that you might not realize were in a Star Wars film? Treat Williams (3 golden globe noms) was in The Empire Strikes Back, Billy Dee Williams (obviously, Lando) has an Emmy nomination, Carrie Fisher, RIP, had three Emmy nominations, and no wins, which feels like a personal insult.
John Ratzenberger was in Empire before he was in Cheers, and Tony Cox, from Bad Santa, played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi. Why is no one talking about this?
While the prequels and the original trilogy have their fair share of well-known actors, when we make it to the new trilogy, we get oodles of stunt casting from names you know, but who have not been nominated for Oscars.
We feel we should at least list them off, though. Like, Judah Friedlander a.k.a. Frank from 30 Rock showing up as a “bar patron” in The Force Awakens, a movie that also features Simon Pegg, Golden Globe-nominee Andy Serkis, Emmy-nominee Gwendoline Christie, and Golden Globe Award-winner and the internet’s boyfriend, Oscar Isaac. They even snuck Golden Globe-nominee Daniel Craig and Emmy-winner Ben Schwartz as stormtroopers.
Michaela Coel appeared in The Last Jedi as a “resistance monitor” and considering the 2020 she’s had, she could be on the path to join this list as well, and we definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see her gather up some Emmys for I May Destroy You. Also appearing in Episode VIII in a voice-only capacity was two-time Golden Globe-nominee and Emmy-winner Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Edgar Wright, director of Hot Fuzz and Baby Driver, showed up as a resistance trooper, though he oddly enough has no Golden Globe or Emmy nominations to his name, just some BAFTA nods.
Rise of Skywalker included cameos from director J.J. Abrams (2-time Emmy-winner) and Dominic Monaghan (Emmy-nominee—lol, remember Lost? Well he wasn’t nominated for that, he was nominated for “Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program for Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan) It also featured Keri Russel (Golden Globe-winner, three time Emmy-nominee), Jodie Comer (Golden Globe-winner, two time Emmy-nominee), and, of course, Freddie Prinze Jr. (1996 “Mr. Golden Globe”) (yes that was a thing) (it was like, a young ambassador) (oh also Freddie Prinze Jr. voiced Kanan Jarrus).
Should we go on? Episode IX includes cameos by Kevin Smith as an inhabitant of Kijimi, Ed Sheeran, and Jeff Garlin (8-time Emmy Nominee).
And we almost forgot about the post-Disney-sale cash-grabs with a 50% success rate. Solo cast Clint Howard, Emmy-nominated Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany, 3-time Emmy-winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge, 2-time Golden Globe-nominee Thandie Newton, Emmy and Golden Globe-winner Donald Glover, and 4-time Emmy nominee Emilia Clarke.
Moving on to “the one people like” (Rogue One), there were performances from Golden Globe-nominees like Riz Ahmed and Ben Mendelsohn, Emmy-nominated Alan Tudyk, and how-has-he-not-had-a-major-nomination-Hannibal-is-an-all-time-great-show Mads Mikkelsen.
Also…did you all know that Hayden Christensen was nominated for a Golden Globe? Awards are WEIRD right?
Anyway, let’s get to the actual, honest to God, Academy Award-nominated performers you can find in the Star Wars cinematic universe.
Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala/Padmé (1 Oscar win, 3 nominations)
Natalie Portman survived the mulch-shredder that was “being cast as a young actor in a Star Wars prequel” better than just about anyone (RIP Jake Lloyd) (no he’s not dead but you believed that for a moment didn’t you). She won her Oscar for making out with Mila Kunis, we mean Black Swan, and also was nominated for her roles in Closer and Jackie..
James Earl Jones as Darth Vader (voice) (1 Honorary Oscar, 1 Nomination)
James Earl Jones was given an Honorary Oscar in 2012 for having an awesome voice and beating a stutter or something, but he also was nominated for his 1970 role in The Great White Hope, a good seven years before taking on the timeless voice of Darth Vader.
Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu (1 Oscar Nomination)
Samuel L. Jackson has been only nominated one time, for Snakes on a Plane. *checks notes three times, gets upset each time* never mind. We meant to say Pulp Fiction.
Kiera Knightley as Sabé (2 Oscar Nominations)
Maybe the key to award show success is to look sort of like Natalie Portman? Anyway, Kiera Knightly was in The Phantom Menace as the decoy Queen of Naboo. Lol that movie was so dumb.
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn (1 Oscar Nomination)
Liam Neeson’s one and only Oscar nomination was for Schindler’s List. The longer his career goes, the more surprising it is that he’s never won an Oscar. But the more films he does post-1999, the more surprising it is that he’s actually been nominated for one.
Keisha Castle-Hughes as Queen of Naboo (1 Oscar Nomination)
They actually nabbed her AFTER she had been nominated (lol remember Whale Rider?) but didn’t even bother to give her a name as the Queen of Naboo. Weak sauce if you ask us. But she appeared briefly in Revenge of the Sith.
Sally Hawkins as Villager (uncredited) (2 Oscar Nominations)
Before she fucked a fish in The Shape of Water, Sally Hawkins made her film debut as an uncredited villager in The Phantom Menace at the age of 23. We don’t know what to do with this honestly insane information.
Our new purpose in life is to run up to strangers on the street, grab them by each shoulder, and shout, “SALLY HAWKINS’ FIRST FILM CREDIT WAS THE PHANTOM MENACE!”
Just remember—twelve years after appearing as that arrow, Hawkins got her first Oscar nomination for Blue Jasmine. Never give up on your dreams.
George Lucas as Baron Papanoida (uncredited) (1 Honorary Oscar, 4 Nominations [for Directing and Writing])
Lol George you fucking dork. Anyway, he was in Revenge of the Sith. Fun fact—he’s received Oscar nominations for two different films. Star Wars: A New Hope and American Graffiti. Literally the only thing those to films have in common is Harrison Ford.
Now we’re going to go into the tech geeks who randomly were given roles or got voice credits in various Star Wars films. There are a lot of those!
Ben Burtt as Naboo Courier, ‘Freeze’ Officer in Endor Bunker and Tortured Power Droid (2 Oscar Wins, 2 Special Achievement Oscars, 10 Nominations [for Various Sound Effects Awards, Also Randomly for Best Documentary, Short Subject])
Ben Burtt is kind of an icon? His sound work on A New Hope (R2-D2? Yeah, that’s all Burtt) and Raiders of the Lost Ark got him Oscars that were basically like, “So we don’t have a category for what you did but you should get a statue.” He’s done sound for all the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, as well as Willow and WALL-E. He’s been nominated for most of those, as well as for a documentary short he did randomly.
He appears randomly, mostly in voice and sound capacities, in Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace.
Rob Coleman as Pod Race Spectator in Jabba’s Private Box (uncredited) and Opera House Patron (uncredited) (2 Oscar Nominations, for Visual Effects)
Matthew Wood as Battle Droids / General Grievous / Wat Tambor/ B1 / Guavians / Security Droid /Cai Threnalli (voice) / Stormtrooper #1 / Klik-Klak / Imperial Technician #1 /Magaloof / Seboca (voice, uncredited) /Bib Fortuna / Ody Mandrell (voice, uncredited) / various voices (5 Oscar Nominations [for Sound Editing])
Scott Squires as Naboo Speeder Driver (uncredited) (1 Honorary Oscar, 3 Oscar Nominations [for Visual Effects])
Grant McCune as Death Star Gunner (uncredited) (1 Oscar Win, 2 Nominations [for Visual Effects])
Christopher Scarabosio as Neumodian Senator (voice, uncredited) (3 Oscar Nominations [for Sound Editing/Mixing])
Roger Guyett as Opera House Patron (uncredited) (6 Oscar Nominations [for Visual Effects])
There’s a point where, basically, if you’re a sound or visual effects guy working on a Star Wars movie, you’re gonna get put in as some cameo bullshit role. Except for Matthew Wood, who legit put in a lot of voice work throughout the Star Wars series.
David Acord as Rabbit Droid / Poletecan Leader / Skakoan Scientist / Guavians / Chief Lt. / Stormtrooper #2 / Edrio Two Tubes / Imperial Technician #2 / Stormtrooper #1 /Rotta the Huttlet (voice) /GH-7 Medical Droid (voice, uncredited) (2 Oscar Nominations [for Sound Editing])
Lorne Peterson as Massassi Base Rebel Scout (uncredited) /Mos Espa Citizen (uncredited) (1 Oscar Win [For Visual Effects])
John Knoll as Lt. Rya Kirsch – Bravo 4 / Flag Bearer (uncredited) / Fire Ship Pilot (uncredited) (1 Oscar Win and 6 Nominations [for Visual Effects])
Phil Tippett as Cantina Alien (uncredited) / Rancor- Jabba’s Pet Monster (uncredited) (1 Oscar Win, 5 Nominations, 1 Honorary Oscar)
Joe Johnston as Death Star Trooper (uncredited) / Captain Shawn Valdez – Hoth Rebel (uncredited) (1 Oscar [for Visual Effects])
Yeah these are more just voice dudes and visual effects dudes. Let’s get into names you actually recognize, shall we?
Sofia Coppola as Saché (1 Oscar Win, 3 Nominations [Win for Screenplay, Nominations for Directing and Best Film])
Sofia Coppola, daughter of film royalty, writer and director of Lost in Translation and like 20 other films that are unfairly compared to Lost in Translation, was in The Phantom Menace as a favor to her dad, we mean, as a handmaiden to Padme. Lost in Translation came out four years later. Never give up on your dreams when you have a famous dad.
Roman Coppola as Senate Guard (1 Oscar Nomination, for Writing)
There are two Coppolas in The Phantom Menace! And one of them co-wrote Moonrise Kingdom!
Tony Gilroy as Rebel Flight Controller (voice, uncredited) (2 Oscar Nominations [for, Wait, Holy Shit, Best Director and Best Screenplay???]
Lol wait the guy who wrote Michael Clayton is in Rogue One? Granted, it’s because he wrote Rogue One. We should point out, this dude has one of the more random IMDB pages of all time. He wrote three of the Borne Identity films (the last three) as well as…Armageddon?
Steve Gawley as Death Star Trooper (uncredited) (1 Oscar Nomination [for Visual Effects])
For Back to the Future Part II. Which, sure!
Peter Allen as Geezum – Member of Jabba’s Gang (uncredited) (1 Oscar Win [for Best Song])
He was one of the writers of the theme song for the movie Arthur. This is easily one of the weirdest entries on this list.
Michael Giacchino as FN-3181 (1 Oscar Win, 2 Nominations [for Best Original Score])
Giacchino wrote the score for Ratatouille and Up, the latter earning him his statue. And he randomly was a stormtrooper in The Force Awakens.
Admittedly, it seems that the easiest way to show up in a Star Wars joint is to be friends with J.J. Abrams and be willing to wear a stormtrooper suit.
Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo (1 Oscar, 3 Nominations)
Laura Dern is the hero we need, not the hero we deserve.
Benicio Del Toro as DJ (1 Oscar, 2 Nominations)
Our staff are fans of The Last Jedi, but we have to admit that this casting decision was probably the worst one the film made. Or at least the weirdest. Anyway, this stuttering plot device won an Oscar for Traffic, and was nominated again for 21 Grams. Home boy benefited from the early 00s like he was Coldplay.
Chris Terrio as Colonel Aftab Ackbar (voice) (1 Oscar [for Adapted Screenplay]
The writer of Argo randomly showed up in Rise of Skywalker voicing a Mon Calamari resistance fighter. Now, he ALSO was a writer for Rise of Skywalker, so that might explain why he got cast.
Richard E. Grant as General *checks notes* *sighs* Pryde (1 Oscar Nomination)
Richard E. Grant was nominated for his role in Can You Ever Forgive Me which is also known as “the Melissa McCarthy serious movie.” He’s been in a lot of things, including Rise of Skywalker.
Max von Sydow as Lor San Tekka (2 Oscar Nominations)
RIP king. He was nominated for his supporting role in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and also his leading role in 1987’s Pelle Erobreren, which is not in English and is thus probably bad.
He appeared in the opening scene of The Force Awakens doing that thing where his character randomly appears for like three minutes, and somehow the moment the film comes out there’s a 5,000 word backstory about him already even though you never hear his character’s name.
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren (2 Oscar Nominations)
It’s not a question of if Adam Driver (nominated for Blackkklansman and Marriage Story) will win an Oscar, but when.
Linda Hunt as Lady Proxima (voice) (1 Oscar Win)
You might best know Linda Hunt from her role on The Practice, but she ALSO randomly won an Oscar playing a young Indonesian boy in 1982. The past was weird.
Woody Harrelson as Beckett (3 Oscar Nominations)
It’s okay to admit that you don’t really remember watching Solo. Anyway, Woody Harrelson has been nominated for his work on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Messenger, and The People vs. Larry Flynt.
Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera (1 Oscar Win)
The Last King of Scotland was a decent movie, and so was Rogue One.
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Soldier (uncredited) (1 Oscar Nomination [for Original Song)
To answer your question, it was for Moana.
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso (1 Oscar Nomination)
Rogue One was a much better movie than The Theory of Everything.
Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata (1 Oscar Win)
There was like a four year stretch where Lupita Nyong’o’s career is just super weird to think about. Her first major role won her an Oscar for supporting actress in 12 Years a Slave, and then, randomly, she found herself doing voice work for the next three years. Like, what? Producers don’t seem to know what they’re doing these days.
Rian Johnson as Imperial Technician (uncredited) (1 Oscar Nomination [for Original Screenplay])
Rian Johnson, who directed The Last Jedi and was nominated for his screenplay for the truly, we can’t be sincere enough, truly great Knives Out has a grand total of two acting credits on his IMDB page.
Outside of this, he’s been a voice in two episodes of Bojack Horseman. Pretty good resume, tbh.
Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi (1 Oscar Win, 5 Nominations, 1 Honorary Oscar)
Alec Guinness honestly thought that Star Wars was a bunch of bullshit. He also is the only actor who has been nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in a Star Wars film. He won a statue in 1958 for Bridge Over the River Kwai, and got a “you’re old, and you’re cool” honorary award in 1980.
The other three movies he’s been nominated for are ones you haven’t heard of, trust us on this one.
But that being said…we are blissfully close to completion of this very silly article. Just to more to go! Let’s keep the momentum going!
Harrison Ford as Han Solo (1 Oscar Nomination)
Harrison Ford’s one Oscar nomination came from his role in The Witness, where he plays a man who gets to see an Amish woman’s boobs. It’s a legitimate crime that he’s not had more Oscar nominations.
John Williams as Oma Tres (5 Oscars, 52 Nominations [for Original Song and Original Score])
Listen, John Williams is a straight-up God. He has the second most Oscar nominations in history, bested only by Walt Disney. And he decided to put on a goofy eye patch and do a bit cameo role in The Rise of Skywalker. Mad respect, honestly.
And there you have it! Of all the actors who have appeared in Star Wars films, there are 44 actors and actresses and sound people and visual effects gurus and what have yous that have been nominated for an Oscar. The final tally comes down to 149 Academy Award nominations and 29 actual statutes. What a pointless, ridiculous article this is!
John Williams as Oma Tres?