50 Ads Starring Oscar Winners

A few great spots, some amusing ones, and some real duds

Headshot of Tim Nudd

There's a lingering perception that actors who do commercials are either desperate or hacks. In fact, neither is necessarily true. Looking back at all the Academy Award winners since 1970—the cream of the crop in Hollywood—an outright majority have filmed ads at some point in their careers. Some stopped when their careers solidified—others continued to do commercial work even after reaching the pinnacle of their industry. We've collected 50 such ads starring Oscar winners, ranging from the '60s (Dustin Hoffman for Volkswagen) to the present day (Timothy Hutton and Cuba Gooding Jr. both for Groupon). There are a handful of great spots here, some amusing ones and more than a few duds. You'll notice a bunch from Europe and Japan, done by actors hoping to keep their reputations unsullied in America. And if you watch only one of these 50 ads, make it the Russell Crowe video for Avondale College. Words cannot convey its awesomeness.

  1. F. Murray Abraham

    Advertiser: Listerine

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 1984, for Amadeus

  2. Kim Basinger

    Advertiser: Peugot

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 1997, for L.A. Confidential

  3. Kathy Bates

    Advertiser: DirecTV

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 1990, for Misery

  4. Halle Berry

    Advertiser: Revlon

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 2001, for Monster's Ball

  5. Juliette Binoche

    Advertiser: Lancôme Poême

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 1996, for The English Patient

  6. Cate Blanchett

    Advertiser: Tim Tams

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 2004, for The Aviator

  7. Marlon Brando

    Voiceover for Pepsi

    Click to view. Oscars: Best actor, 1954, for On the Waterfront; Best actor, 1972, for The Godfather

  8. Jeff Bridges

    Voiceover for Hyundai

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 2009, for Crazy Heart

  9. Adrien Brody

    Advertiser: Stella Artois

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 2002, for The Pianist

  10. Nicolas Cage

    Advertiser: Sankyo Pachinko (Japan)

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 1995, for Leaving Las Vegas

  1. Cher

    Advertiser: Chicago Health & Raquetball Club

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 1987, for Moonstruck

  2. George Clooney

    Advertiser: Nespresso

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actor, 2005, for Syriana

  3. Jennifer Connelly

    Advertiser: Lux (Japan)

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 2001, for A Beautiful Mind

  4. Sean Connery

    Advertiser: Suntory Crest (Japan)

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actor, 1987, for The Untouchables

  5. Russell Crowe

    Advertiser: Avondale College

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 2000, for Gladiator

  6. Penelope Cruz

    Advertiser: Loréal

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 2008, for Vicky Cristina Barcelona

  7. Robert De Niro

    Advertiser: American Express

    Click to view. Oscars: Best supporting actor, 1974, for The Godfather Part II; Best actor, 1980, for Raging Bull

  8. Richard Dreyfuss

    Advertiser: American Motors

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 1977, for The Goodbye Girl

  9. Sally Field

    Advertiser: Boniva

    Click to view. Oscars: Best actress, 1979, for Norma Raw; Best actress, 1984, for Places in the Heart

  10. Jane Fonda

    Advertiser: L'Oréal

    Click to view. Oscars: Best actress, 1971, for Klute; Best actress, 1978, for Coming Home

  1. Jodie Foster

    Girl in McDonald's ad

    Click to view. Oscars: Best actress, 1988, for The Accused; Best actress, 1991, for The Silence of the Lambs

  2. Morgan Freeman

    Advertiser: Listerine

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actor, 2004, for Million Dollar Baby

  3. Whoopi Goldberg

    Advertiser: Poise

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 1990, for Ghost

  4. Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Advertiser: Groupon

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actor, 1996, for Jerry Maguire

  5. Dustin Hoffman

    Advertiser: Volkswagen

    Click to view. Oscars: Best actor, 1979, for Kramer vs. Kramer; Best actor, 1988, for Rain Man

  6. Anthony Hopkins

    Advertiser: Sky

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 1991, for Silence of the Lambs

  7. Jennifer Hudson

    Advertiser: Weight Watchers

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 2006, for Dreamgirls

  8. Timothy Hutton

    Advertiser: Groupon

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actor, 1980, for Ordinary People

  9. Angelina Jolie

    Advertiser: Integrate (Japan)

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 1999, for Girl, Interrupted

  10. Tommy Lee Jones

    Advertiser: Suntory Boss (Japan)

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actor, 1993, for The Fugitive

  1. Nicole Kidman

    Advertiser: Chanel

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 2002, for The Hours

  2. Marlee Matlin

    Advertiser: Apple

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 1986, for Children of a Lesser God

  3. Paul Newman

    Advertiser: Maxwell House (Japan)

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 1986, for The Color of Money

  4. Al Pacino

    Advertiser: Vittoria Coffee

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 1992, for Scent of a Woman

  5. Jack Palance

    Advertiser: Skin Bracer

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actor, 1991, for City Slickers

  6. Gwyneth Paltrow

    Advertiser: Martini

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 1988, for Shakespeare in Love

  7. Anna Paquin

    Advertiser: Network MCI

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 1993, for The Piano

  8. Joe Pesci

    Voiceover for Pepsi

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actor, 1990, for Goodfellas

  9. Julia Roberts

    Advertiser: Lavazza

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 2000, for Erin Brockovich

  10. Susan Sarandon

    Advertiser: "Got milk?"

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 1995, for Dead Man Walking

  1. Kevin Spacey

    Advertiser: Olympus

    Click to view. Oscars: Best supporting actor, 1995, for The Usual Suspects; Best actor, 1999, for American Beauty

  2. Hilary Swank

    Advertiser: Guerlain Insolence

    Click to view. Oscars: Best actress, 1999, for Boys Don't Cry; Best actress, 2004, for Million Dollar Baby

  3. Charlize Theron

    Advertiser: Martini

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 2003, for Monster

  4. Emma Thompson

    Advertiser: Human Trafficking Awareness

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 1992, for Howards End

  5. John Wayne

    Advertiser: Coors Light

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actor, 1969, for True Grit

  6. Rachel Weisz

    Advertiser: L'Oréal

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 2005, for The Constant Gardener

  7. Kate Winslet

    Advertiser: American Express

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 2008, for The Reader

  8. Reese Witherspoon

    Advertiser: Avon's U by Ungaro (Japan)

    Click to view. Oscar: Best actress, 2005, for Walk the Line

  9. Catherine Zeta-Jones

    Advertiser: Deutsche Bahn Werbung

    Click to view. Oscar: Best supporting actress, 2002, for Chicago

  10. Multiple winners

    Advertiser: Apple iPhone

    Click to view. Spot the Oscar winners in the very first iPhone commercial.


@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: April 15, 2011 https://dev.adweek.com/creativity/50-ads-starring-oscar-winners-130593/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT
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