Academy Award for Best Director

The Academy Award for Best Director (officially known as the Academy Award of Merit for Directing) is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of a film director who has exhibited outstanding directing while working in the film industry.

Academy Award for Best Director
The 2021 recipient: Chloé Zhao
Awarded forExcellence in Cinematic Direction Achievement
CountryUnited States
Presented byAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
First awarded1929 (for direction in films released during the 1927/1928 film season)
Most recent winnerChloé Zhao
Nomadland (2020)
Websiteoscars.org

The 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with the award being split into "Dramatic" and "Comedy" categories; Frank Borzage and Lewis Milestone won for 7th Heaven and Two Arabian Knights, respectively.[1] However, these categories were merged for all subsequent ceremonies.[2] Nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the directors branch of AMPAS; winners are selected by a plurality vote from the entire eligible voting members of the Academy.[3][4][5]

For the first eleven years of the Academy Awards, directors were allowed to be nominated for multiple films in the same year. However, after the nomination of Michael Curtiz for two films, Angels with Dirty Faces and Four Daughters, at the 11th Academy Awards, the rules were revised so that an individual could only be nominated for one film at each ceremony.[6] That rule has since been amended, although the only director who has received multiple nominations in the same year was Steven Soderbergh for Erin Brockovich and Traffic in 2000, winning the award for the latter. The Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture have been very closely linked throughout their history. Of the 93 films that have been awarded Best Picture, 67 have also been awarded Best Director.[7]

Since its inception, the award has been given to 72 directors or directing teams. John Ford has received the most awards in this category with four. William Wyler was nominated on twelve occasions, more than any other individual. Damien Chazelle became the youngest director in history to receive this award, at the age of 32 for his work on La La Land. John Singleton became the youngest director to be nominated for this award, at age 24 for his work on Boyz n the Hood. Two directing teams have shared the award; Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story in 1961 and Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men in 2007. The Coen brothers are the only siblings to have won the award.[8] Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to have won the award, for 2009's The Hurt Locker. Bong Joon-ho is the first Korean director to win in this category for 2019's Parasite. As of the 2020-21 ceremony, Chloé Zhao is the most recent winner in this category for her work on Nomadland.

Winners and nominees

In the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, and generally correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County, California; the ceremonies are always held the following year.[9] For the first five ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned twelve months from August 1 to July 31.[10] For the 6th ceremony held in 1934, the eligibility period lasted from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933.[10] Since the 7th ceremony held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.[10]

Table key
  indicates the winner
Indicates the winner of Best Picture

1920s

Frank Borzage won in the "Dramatic" category at the first ceremony and later received a second award for Bad Girl.
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
1927/28
(1st)
[note 1]
Frank Borzage (Dramatic Picture) 7th Heaven [11]
Herbert Brenon (Dramatic Picture) Sorrell and Son
King Vidor (Dramatic Picture) The Crowd
Lewis Milestone (Comedy Picture) Two Arabian Knights
Ted Wilde (Comedy Picture) Speedy
1928/1929
(2nd)
[note 2]
Frank Lloyd The Divine Lady [12]
Lionel Barrymore Madame X
Harry Beaumont The Broadway Melody
Irving Cummings In Old Arizona
Frank Lloyd Drag
Weary River
Ernst Lubitsch The Patriot

1930s

Lewis Milestone won in the "Comedy" category at the first ceremony and later received a second award for All Quiet on the Western Front.
Frank Lloyd won two awards in this category for The Divine Lady and Cavalcade.
Frank Capra won three awards in this category, for It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and You Can't Take It with You.
John Ford has the most Best Director wins with four, winning in 1935, 1940, 1941, and 1952.
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
1929/1930
(3rd)
Lewis Milestone All Quiet on the Western Front [13]
Clarence Brown Anna Christie
Romance
Robert Z. Leonard The Divorcee
Ernst Lubitsch The Love Parade
King Vidor Hallelujah!
1930/1931
(4th)
Norman Taurog Skippy [14]
Clarence Brown A Free Soul
Lewis Milestone The Front Page
Wesley Ruggles Cimarron
Josef von Sternberg Morocco
1931/1932
(5th)
Frank Borzage Bad Girl [15]
King Vidor The Champ
Josef von Sternberg Shanghai Express
1932/1933
(6th)
Frank Lloyd Cavalcade [16]
Frank Capra Lady for a Day
George Cukor Little Women
1934
(7th)
Frank Capra It Happened One Night [17]
Victor Schertzinger One Night of Love
W. S. Van Dyke The Thin Man
1935
(8th)
John Ford The Informer [18]
Henry Hathaway The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Frank Lloyd Mutiny on the Bounty
1936
(9th)
Frank Capra Mr. Deeds Goes to Town [19]
Gregory La Cava My Man Godfrey
Robert Z. Leonard The Great Ziegfeld
W. S. Van Dyke San Francisco
William Wyler Dodsworth
1937
(10th)
Leo McCarey The Awful Truth [20]
William Dieterle The Life of Emile Zola
Sidney Franklin The Good Earth
Gregory La Cava Stage Door
William A. Wellman A Star Is Born
1938
(11th)
Frank Capra You Can't Take It with You [21]
Michael Curtiz Angels with Dirty Faces
Four Daughters
Norman Taurog Boys Town
King Vidor The Citadel
1939
(12th)
Victor Fleming Gone with the Wind [22]
Frank Capra Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
John Ford Stagecoach
Sam Wood Goodbye, Mr. Chips
William Wyler Wuthering Heights

1940s

William Wyler has the most nominations with twelve, winning in 1942, 1946, and 1959.
Michael Curtiz won for directing Casablanca.
Billy Wilder (right) was nominated eight times, winning twice.
Elia Kazan won in 1947 for Gentleman's Agreement and again in 1954 for On the Waterfront.
John Huston received the award in 1948 for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
1940
(13th)
John Ford The Grapes of Wrath [23]
George Cukor The Philadelphia Story
Alfred Hitchcock Rebecca
Sam Wood Kitty Foyle
William Wyler The Letter
1941
(14th)
John Ford How Green Was My Valley [24]
Alexander Hall Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Howard Hawks Sergeant York
Orson Welles Citizen Kane
William Wyler The Little Foxes
1942
(15th)
William Wyler Mrs. Miniver [25]
Michael Curtiz Yankee Doodle Dandy
John Farrow Wake Island
Mervyn LeRoy Random Harvest
Sam Wood Kings Row
1943
(16th)
Michael Curtiz Casablanca [26]
Clarence Brown The Human Comedy
Henry King The Song of Bernadette
Ernst Lubitsch Heaven Can Wait
George Stevens The More the Merrier
1944
(17th)
Leo McCarey Going My Way [27]
Alfred Hitchcock Lifeboat
Henry King Wilson
Otto Preminger Laura
Billy Wilder Double Indemnity
1945
(18th)
Billy Wilder The Lost Weekend [28]
Clarence Brown National Velvet
Alfred Hitchcock Spellbound
Leo McCarey The Bells of St. Mary's
Jean Renoir The Southerner
1946
(19th)
William Wyler The Best Years of Our Lives [29]
Clarence Brown The Yearling
Frank Capra It's a Wonderful Life
David Lean Brief Encounter
Robert Siodmak The Killers
1947
(20th)
Elia Kazan Gentleman's Agreement [30]
George Cukor A Double Life
Edward Dmytryk Crossfire
Henry Koster The Bishop's Wife
David Lean Great Expectations
1948
(21st)
John Huston The Treasure of the Sierra Madre [31]
Anatole Litvak The Snake Pit
Jean Negulesco Johnny Belinda
Laurence Olivier Hamlet
Fred Zinnemann The Search
1949
(22nd)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz A Letter to Three Wives [32]
Carol Reed The Fallen Idol
Robert Rossen All the King's Men
William A. Wellman Battleground
William Wyler The Heiress

1950s

Joseph L. Mankiewicz won back to back Oscars for, A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950)
George Stevens won for A Place in the Sun and Giant.
Fred Zinnemann won for From Here to Eternity and A Man for All Seasons
Vincent Minnelli won for Gigi in 1958
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
1950
(23rd)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz All About Eve [33]
George Cukor Born Yesterday
John Huston The Asphalt Jungle
Carol Reed The Third Man
Billy Wilder Sunset Boulevard
1951
(24th)
George Stevens A Place in the Sun [34]
John Huston The African Queen
Elia Kazan A Streetcar Named Desire
Vincente Minnelli An American in Paris
William Wyler Detective Story
1952
(25th)
John Ford The Quiet Man [35]
Cecil B. DeMille The Greatest Show on Earth
John Huston Moulin Rouge
Joseph L. Mankiewicz 5 Fingers
Fred Zinnemann High Noon
1953
(26th)
Fred Zinnemann From Here to Eternity [36]
George Stevens Shane
Charles Walters Lili
Billy Wilder Stalag 17
William Wyler Roman Holiday
1954
(27th)
Elia Kazan On the Waterfront [37]
Alfred Hitchcock Rear Window
George Seaton The Country Girl
William A. Wellman The High and the Mighty
Billy Wilder Sabrina
1955
(28th)
Delbert Mann Marty [38]
Elia Kazan East of Eden
David Lean Summertime
Joshua Logan Picnic
John Sturges Bad Day at Black Rock
1956
(29th)
George Stevens Giant [39]
Michael Anderson Around the World in 80 Days
Walter Lang The King and I
King Vidor War and Peace
William Wyler Friendly Persuasion
1957
(30th)
David Lean The Bridge on the River Kwai [40]
Joshua Logan Sayonara
Sidney Lumet 12 Angry Men
Mark Robson Peyton Place
Billy Wilder Witness for the Prosecution
1958
(31st)
Vincente Minnelli Gigi [41]
Richard Brooks Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Stanley Kramer The Defiant Ones
Mark Robson The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Robert Wise I Want to Live!
1959
(32nd)
William Wyler Ben-Hur [42]
Jack Clayton Room at the Top
George Stevens The Diary of Anne Frank
Billy Wilder Some Like It Hot
Fred Zinnemann The Nun's Story

1960s

Billy Wilder won for The Apartment (1960)
Robert Wise, co-won for West Side Story (1961), and for The Sound of Music (1965)
Jerome Robbins co-won for West Side Story (1961)
George Cukor won in 1964 for My Fair Lady.
Mike Nichols won for 1967's The Graduate.
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
1960
(33rd)
Billy Wilder The Apartment [43]
Jack Cardiff Sons and Lovers
Jules Dassin Never on Sunday
Alfred Hitchcock Psycho
Fred Zinnemann The Sundowners
1961
(34th)
Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise West Side Story [44]
Federico Fellini La Dolce Vita
Stanley Kramer Judgment at Nuremberg
Robert Rossen The Hustler
J. Lee Thompson The Guns of Navarone
1962
(35th)
David Lean Lawrence of Arabia [45]
Pietro Germi Divorce Italian Style
Robert Mulligan To Kill a Mockingbird
Arthur Penn The Miracle Worker
Frank Perry David and Lisa
1963
(36th)
Tony Richardson Tom Jones [46]
Federico Fellini
Elia Kazan America America
Otto Preminger The Cardinal
Martin Ritt Hud
1964
(37th)
George Cukor My Fair Lady [47]
Michael Cacoyannis Zorba the Greek
Peter Glenville Becket
Stanley Kubrick Dr. Strangelove
Robert Stevenson Mary Poppins
1965
(38th)
Robert Wise The Sound of Music [48]
David Lean Doctor Zhivago
John Schlesinger Darling
Hiroshi Teshigahara Woman in the Dunes
William Wyler The Collector
1966
(39th)
Fred Zinnemann A Man for All Seasons [49]
Michelangelo Antonioni Blowup
Richard Brooks The Professionals
Claude Lelouch A Man and a Woman
Mike Nichols Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
1967
(40th)
Mike Nichols The Graduate [50]
Richard Brooks In Cold Blood
Norman Jewison In the Heat of the Night
Stanley Kramer Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Arthur Penn Bonnie and Clyde
1968
(41st)
Carol Reed Oliver! [51]
Anthony Harvey The Lion in Winter
Stanley Kubrick 2001: A Space Odyssey
Gillo Pontecorvo The Battle of Algiers
Franco Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet
1969
(42nd)
John Schlesinger Midnight Cowboy [52]
Costa-Gavras Z
George Roy Hill Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Arthur Penn Alice's Restaurant
Sydney Pollack They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

1970s

William Friedkin won in 1971 for The French Connection.
Bob Fosse won for Cabaret in 1972
Miloš Forman won for both 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and 1984's Amadeus.
Woody Allen received seven nominations in the category, winning for Annie Hall in 1977.
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
1970
(43rd)
Franklin J. Schaffner Patton [53]
Robert Altman M*A*S*H
Federico Fellini Fellini Satyricon
Arthur Hiller Love Story
Ken Russell Women in Love
1971
(44th)
William Friedkin The French Connection [54]
Peter Bogdanovich The Last Picture Show
Norman Jewison Fiddler on the Roof
Stanley Kubrick A Clockwork Orange
John Schlesinger Sunday Bloody Sunday
1972
(45th)
Bob Fosse Cabaret [55]
John Boorman Deliverance
Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather
Joseph L. Mankiewicz Sleuth
Jan Troell The Emigrants
1973
(46th)
George Roy Hill The Sting [56]
Ingmar Bergman Cries and Whispers
Bernardo Bertolucci Last Tango in Paris
William Friedkin The Exorcist
George Lucas American Graffiti
1974
(47th)
Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather Part II [57]
John Cassavetes A Woman Under the Influence
Bob Fosse Lenny
Roman Polanski Chinatown
François Truffaut Day for Night
1975
(48th)
Miloš Forman One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [58]
Robert Altman Nashville
Federico Fellini Amarcord
Stanley Kubrick Barry Lyndon
Sidney Lumet Dog Day Afternoon
1976
(49th)
John G. Avildsen Rocky [59]
Ingmar Bergman Face to Face
Sidney Lumet Network
Alan J. Pakula All the President's Men
Lina Wertmüller Seven Beauties
1977
(50th)
Woody Allen Annie Hall [60]
George Lucas Star Wars
Herbert Ross The Turning Point
Steven Spielberg Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Fred Zinnemann Julia
1978
(51st)
Michael Cimino The Deer Hunter [61]
Woody Allen Interiors
Hal Ashby Coming Home
Warren Beatty & Buck Henry Heaven Can Wait
Alan Parker Midnight Express
1979
(52nd)
Robert Benton Kramer vs. Kramer [62]
Francis Ford Coppola Apocalypse Now
Bob Fosse All That Jazz
Édouard Molinaro La Cage aux Folles
Peter Yates Breaking Away

1980s

Robert Redford won for Ordinary People.
Warren Beatty won in 1981 for directing Reds.
Richard Attenborough won in 1982 for his epic biopic, Gandhi.
Sydney Pollack won for Out of Africa in 1985
Oliver Stone earned two awards in this category in the 1980s—one for Platoon (1986), and the other for Born on the Fourth of July (1989).
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
1980
(53rd)
Robert Redford Ordinary People [63]
David Lynch The Elephant Man
Roman Polanski Tess
Richard Rush The Stunt Man
Martin Scorsese Raging Bull
1981
(54th)
Warren Beatty Reds [64]
Hugh Hudson Chariots of Fire
Louis Malle Atlantic City
Mark Rydell On Golden Pond
Steven Spielberg Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982
(55th)
Richard Attenborough Gandhi [65]
Sidney Lumet The Verdict
Wolfgang Petersen Das Boot
Sydney Pollack Tootsie
Steven Spielberg E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
1983
(56th)
James L. Brooks Terms of Endearment [66]
Bruce Beresford Tender Mercies
Ingmar Bergman Fanny and Alexander
Mike Nichols Silkwood
Peter Yates The Dresser
1984
(57th)
Miloš Forman Amadeus [67]
Woody Allen Broadway Danny Rose
Robert Benton Places in the Heart
Roland Joffé The Killing Fields
David Lean A Passage to India
1985
(58th)
Sydney Pollack Out of Africa [68]
Héctor Babenco Kiss of the Spider Woman
John Huston Prizzi's Honor
Akira Kurosawa Ran
Peter Weir Witness
1986
(59th)
Oliver Stone Platoon [69]
Woody Allen Hannah and Her Sisters
James Ivory A Room with a View
Roland Joffé The Mission
David Lynch Blue Velvet
1987
(60th)
Bernardo Bertolucci The Last Emperor [70]
John Boorman Hope and Glory
Lasse Hallström My Life as a Dog
Norman Jewison Moonstruck
Adrian Lyne Fatal Attraction
1988
(61st)
Barry Levinson Rain Man [71]
Charles Crichton A Fish Called Wanda
Mike Nichols Working Girl
Alan Parker Mississippi Burning
Martin Scorsese The Last Temptation of Christ
1989
(62nd)
Oliver Stone Born on the Fourth of July [72]
Woody Allen Crimes and Misdemeanors
Kenneth Branagh Henry V
Jim Sheridan My Left Foot
Peter Weir Dead Poets Society

1990s

Clint Eastwood won for Unforgiven (1992), and Million Dollar Baby (2004)
James Cameron won for Titanic (1997)
Sam Mendes won for his directorial debut, American Beauty (1999)
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
1990
(63rd)
Kevin Costner Dances with Wolves [73]
Francis Ford Coppola The Godfather Part III
Stephen Frears The Grifters
Barbet Schroeder Reversal of Fortune
Martin Scorsese Goodfellas
1991
(64th)
Jonathan Demme The Silence of the Lambs [74]
Barry Levinson Bugsy
Ridley Scott Thelma & Louise
John Singleton Boyz n the Hood
Oliver Stone JFK
1992
(65th)
Clint Eastwood Unforgiven [75]
Robert Altman The Player
Martin Brest Scent of a Woman
James Ivory Howards End
Neil Jordan The Crying Game
1993
(66th)
Steven Spielberg Schindler's List [76]
Robert Altman Short Cuts
Jane Campion The Piano
James Ivory The Remains of the Day
Jim Sheridan In the Name of the Father
1994
(67th)
Robert Zemeckis Forrest Gump [77]
Woody Allen Bullets over Broadway
Krzysztof Kieślowski Three Colours: Red
Robert Redford Quiz Show
Quentin Tarantino Pulp Fiction
1995
(68th)
Mel Gibson Braveheart [78]
Mike Figgis Leaving Las Vegas
Chris Noonan Babe
Michael Radford Il Postino: The Postman
Tim Robbins Dead Man Walking
1996
(69th)
Anthony Minghella The English Patient [79]
Joel Coen Fargo
Miloš Forman The People vs. Larry Flynt
Scott Hicks Shine
Mike Leigh Secrets & Lies
1997
(70th)
James Cameron Titanic [80]
Peter Cattaneo The Full Monty
Atom Egoyan The Sweet Hereafter
Curtis Hanson L.A. Confidential
Gus Van Sant Good Will Hunting
1998
(71st)
Steven Spielberg Saving Private Ryan [81]
Roberto Benigni Life Is Beautiful
John Madden Shakespeare in Love
Terrence Malick The Thin Red Line
Peter Weir The Truman Show
1999
(72nd)
Sam Mendes American Beauty [82]
Lasse Hallström The Cider House Rules
Spike Jonze Being John Malkovich
Michael Mann The Insider
M. Night Shyamalan The Sixth Sense

2000s

Steven Soderbergh won for Traffic in 2000
Ang Lee became the first Asian director to win for Brokeback Mountain (2005). He won again for Life of Pi (2012)
Martin Scorsese won once from nine nominations for The Departed in 2006.
Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win Best Director. She won for The Hurt Locker in 2009.
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
2000
(73rd)
Steven Soderbergh Traffic [83]
Stephen Daldry Billy Elliot
Ang Lee Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ridley Scott Gladiator
Steven Soderbergh Erin Brockovich
2001
(74th)
Ron Howard A Beautiful Mind [84]
Robert Altman Gosford Park
Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
David Lynch Mulholland Drive
Ridley Scott Black Hawk Down
2002
(75th)
Roman Polanski The Pianist [85]
Pedro Almodóvar Talk to Her
Stephen Daldry The Hours
Rob Marshall Chicago
Martin Scorsese Gangs of New York
2003
(76th)
Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [86]
Sofia Coppola Lost in Translation
Clint Eastwood Mystic River
Fernando Meirelles City of God
Peter Weir Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
2004
(77th)
Clint Eastwood Million Dollar Baby [87]
Taylor Hackford Ray
Mike Leigh Vera Drake
Alexander Payne Sideways
Martin Scorsese The Aviator
2005
(78th)
Ang Lee Brokeback Mountain [88]
George Clooney Good Night, and Good Luck
Paul Haggis Crash
Bennett Miller Capote
Steven Spielberg Munich
2006
(79th)
Martin Scorsese The Departed [89]
Clint Eastwood Letters from Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears The Queen
Paul Greengrass United 93
Alejandro González Iñárritu Babel
2007
(80th)
Coen Brothers No Country for Old Men [90]
Paul Thomas Anderson There Will Be Blood
Tony Gilroy Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman Juno
Julian Schnabel The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2008
(81st)
Danny Boyle Slumdog Millionaire [91]
Stephen Daldry The Reader
David Fincher The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant Milk
2009
(82nd)
Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker [92]
James Cameron Avatar
Lee Daniels Precious
Jason Reitman Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino Inglourious Basterds

2010s

Alfonso Cuarón became the first Mexican director to win this award for Gravity (2013). He won again for Roma (2018).
Alejandro G. Iñárritu won in consecutive years for directing Birdman (2014) and The Revenant (2015), the third director to accomplish this and the first since 1950.
Damien Chazelle became the youngest Best Director winner for La La Land (2016).
Bong Joon-ho became the first South Korean winner for Parasite (2019)
Year Director(s) Film Ref.
2010
(83rd)
Tom Hooper The King's Speech [93]
Darren Aronofsky Black Swan
Coen Brothers True Grit
David Fincher The Social Network
David O. Russell The Fighter
2011
(84th)
Michel Hazanavicius The Artist [94]
Woody Allen Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick The Tree of Life
Alexander Payne The Descendants
Martin Scorsese Hugo
2012
(85th)
Ang Lee Life of Pi [95]
Michael Haneke Amour
David O. Russell Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin Beasts of the Southern Wild
2013
(86th)
Alfonso Cuarón Gravity [96]
Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne Nebraska
David O. Russell American Hustle
Martin Scorsese The Wolf of Wall Street
2014
(87th)
Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman [97]
Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel
Richard Linklater Boyhood
Bennett Miller Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum The Imitation Game
2015
(88th)
Alejandro González Iñárritu The Revenant [98]
Lenny Abrahamson Room
Tom McCarthy Spotlight
Adam McKay The Big Short
George Miller Mad Max: Fury Road
2016
(89th)
Damien Chazelle La La Land [99]
Mel Gibson Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve Arrival
2017
(90th)
Guillermo del Toro The Shape of Water [100]
Paul Thomas Anderson Phantom Thread
Greta Gerwig Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan Dunkirk
Jordan Peele Get Out
2018
(91st)
Alfonso Cuarón Roma [101]
Yorgos Lanthimos The Favourite
Spike Lee BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay Vice
Paweł Pawlikowski Cold War
2019
(92nd)
Bong Joon-ho Parasite [102]
Sam Mendes 1917
Todd Phillips Joker
Martin Scorsese The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

2020s

Year Director(s) Film Ref.
2020/21
[103]
(93rd)
Chloé Zhao Nomadland [104]
Lee Isaac Chung Minari
Emerald Fennell Promising Young Woman
David Fincher Mank
Thomas Vinterberg Another Round

Multiple wins and nominations

Age superlatives

Record Director Film Age Ref.
Oldest winner Clint Eastwood Million Dollar Baby 74 [105]
Oldest nominee John Huston Prizzi's Honor 79 [105]
Youngest winner Damien Chazelle La La Land 32 [105]
Youngest nominee John Singleton Boyz n the Hood 24 [105]

Diversity of nominees/winners

Asian nominees/winners

Seven directors of Asian descent have been nominated a total of nine times in this category, and three individuals have won the award (with Ang Lee winning twice).

Black nominees

Six black directors have been nominated a total of six times in this category, and none have won the award.[106]

Latin American nominees/winners

Five Latin American directors have been nominated a total of eight times in this category, and three have won the award five times.

  • 1985 – / Héctor Babenco for Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • 2003 – Fernando Meirelles for City of God
  • 2006 – Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Babel
  • 2013 – Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
  • 2014 – Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman
  • 2015 – Alejandro G. Iñárritu for The Revenant
  • 2017 – Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water
  • 2018 – Alfonso Cuarón for Roma

Oceanic nominees/winners

Seven Oceanic directors have been nominated a total of eleven times in this category, and one has won the award.

Female nominees/winners

Seven female directors have been nominated in the category, and two have won the award.[107]

Non-English language nominees/winners

Thirty directors of non-English language films have been nominated a total of thirty-five times in this category, and two have won the award.

  • 1961 – Federico Fellini for La Dolce Vita, Italian
  • 1962 – Pietro Germi for Divorce Italian Style, Italian
  • 1963 – Federico Fellini for , Italian
  • 1964 – / Michael Cacoyannis for Zorba the Greek, Greek †
  • 1965 – Hiroshi Teshigahara for Woman in the Dunes, Japanese
  • 1966 – Michelangelo Antonioni for Blowup, Italian
  • 1966 – Claude Lelouch for A Man and a Woman, French
  • 1968 – Gillo Pontecorvo for The Battle of Algiers, Arabic & French
  • 1969 – / Costa-Gavras for Z, French †
  • 1970 – Federico Fellini for Fellini Satyricon, Italian
  • 1972 – Jan Troell for The Emigrants, Swedish †
  • 1973 – Ingmar Bergman for Cries and Whispers, Swedish †
  • 1974 – François Truffaut for Day for Night, French
  • 1975 – Federico Fellini for Amarcord, Italian
  • 1976 – Ingmar Bergman for Face to Face, Swedish
  • 1976 – Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties, Italian
  • 1979 – Édouard Molinaro for La Cage aux Folles, French
  • 1982 – Wolfgang Petersen for Das Boot, German
  • 1983 – Ingmar Bergman for Fanny and Alexander, Swedish
  • 1985 – Akira Kurosawa for Ran, Japanese
  • 1987 – Lasse Hallström for My Life as a Dog, Swedish
  • 1994 – Krzysztof Kieślowski for Three Colours: Red, French
  • 1995 – Michael Radford for Il Postino: The Postman, Italian & Spanish †
  • 1998 – Roberto Benigni for Life Is Beautiful, Italian †
  • 2000 – Ang Lee for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Mandarin Chinese †
  • 2002 – Pedro Almodóvar for Talk to Her, Spanish
  • 2003 – Fernando Meirelles for City of God, Portuguese
  • 2006 – Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima, Japanese †
  • 2007 – Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, French
  • 2012 – Michael Haneke for Amour, French †
  • 2018 – Alfonso Cuarón for Roma, Spanish †
  • 2018 – Paweł Pawlikowski for Cold War, Polish
  • 2019 – Bong Joon-ho for Parasite, Korean ‡
  • 2020 – Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, Korean †
  • 2020 – Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round, Danish

bold — Indicates winner
§ — Directorial feature film debut
† — Film nominated for Best Picture
‡ — Film won for Best Picture

Notes

  1. The Circus originally received a nomination for Best Director (Comedy Picture), as well as nominations for Best Actor and Best Writing (Original Story), all for Charles Chaplin. However, the Academy subsequently decided to remove Chaplin's name from the competitive award categories and instead to confer upon him a Special Award "for acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus". Chilton, Martin (May 16, 2016). "The first Oscars: what happened in 1929". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  2. The 2nd Academy Awards is unique in being the only occasion where there were no official nominees. Subsequent research by AMPAS has resulted in a list of unofficial or de facto nominees, based on records of which films were evaluated by the judges.

See also

  • BAFTA Award for Best Direction
  • Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Director
  • Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Director
  • Independent Spirit Award for Best Director

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Bibliography

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