Academy Award for Best Director

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Academy Award for Best Director
Awarded for "Excellence in cinematic direction achievement"
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
First awarded 1929 (for direction in films released during the 1927/1928 film season)
Currently held by Alfonso Cuarón,
Gravity (2013)
Official website oscars.org

The Academy Award for Best Directing (Best Director), usually known as the Best Director Oscar, is one of the Awards of Merit presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to directors working in the motion picture industry. While nominations for Best Director are made by members in the Academy's Directing branch, the award winners are selected by the Academy membership as a whole.

History[edit]

Throughout the past 86 years, AMPAS has presented a total of 89 Best Director awards to 66 different directors. At the 1st Academy Awards (1927/1928), there were two directing awards—one for "Dramatic Direction" and one for "Comedy Direction". The Comedy Direction award was eliminated the next year and, indeed, the awards have overwhelmingly favored dramatic films ever since. At both the 34th Academy Awards (1961) and the 80th Academy Awards (2007), Best Director was presented to a co-directing team, rather than to an individual director.

The earliest years of the award were marked by inconsistency and confusion. In the Academy Awards' first year, actors and others such as cinematographers were nominated for all of their films produced during the qualifying period. However, since the directing award was for "directing" rather than "best director", it honored the director in association with only a single film—thus Janet Gaynor has two Frank Borzage films listed after her Best Actress nomination, but only one of them earned Borzage a directing nomination. The second year, the directing award followed the others in listing all of a director's work during the qualifying period, resulting in Frank Lloyd being nominated for three of his films—but, even more confusingly, only one of them was listed on the final award as the film for which he won. Finally, for the 1931 awards, this confusing system was replaced by the current system in which a director is nominated for a single film.

The Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture have been very closely linked throughout their history. Of the 86 films that have been awarded Best Picture, 62 have also been awarded Best Director.[1] Only four films have won Best Picture without their directors being nominated: Wings (1927/28), Grand Hotel (1931/32), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and Argo (2012). The only two Best Director winners to win for films which did not receive a Best Picture nomination are notably during the early years; Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights (1927/28) and Frank Lloyd for The Divine Lady (1928/29).

Only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties (1976), Jane Campion for The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003), and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2009). Bigelow was the first, and to date the only, female director to win the Academy Award for Best Director.

Rules[edit]

Due to strict rules declared by the Directors Guild of America (DGA), only one individual may claim screen credit as a film's director. (This rule is designed to prevent rights and ownership issues and to eliminate lobbying for director credit by producers and actors.) However, the DGA may create an exception to this "one director per film" rule if two co-directors seeking to share director credit for a film qualify as an "established duo". In the history of the Academy Awards, established duos have been nominated for Best Director only four times: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (who won for West Side Story in 1961); Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (who were nominated for Heaven Can Wait in 1978), and Joel and Ethan Coen (who won for No Country for Old Men in 2007 and were nominated again for True Grit in 2010).

Multiple nominations[edit]

The following 91 directors have received multiple Best Director nominations. The list is sorted by the number of total awards (with the number of total nominations listed in parentheses).

Winners and nominees[edit]

Each Academy Award ceremony is listed chronologically below along with the winner of the Academy Award for Directing and the film associated with the award. In the column next to the winner of each award are the other nominees for best director. Following the Academy's practice, the films below are listed by the years of their Los Angeles qualifying run, which is usually (but not always) in the year of release; for example, the Oscar for Best Director of 1999 was announced during the award ceremony held in 2000.

For the first six ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned two calendar years. For example, the 2nd Academy Awards presented on April 3, 1930, recognized films that were released between August 1, 1928 and July 31, 1929. Starting with the 7th Academy Awards, held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.

1920s[edit]

23
Frank Borzage, co-winner of the first award.
23
Lewis Milestone, co-winner of the first award.
23
John Ford has the most awards with four.
23
William Wyler has the most nominations with twelve.
23
Norman Taurog is the youngest winner for directing Skippy.
23
Clint Eastwood is the oldest winner for directing Million Dollar Baby.
23
Alfonso Cuarón is the most recent recipient of the award.

In the first year only, the award was separated into Dramatic Direction and Comedy Direction.

Year Winner
film
Nominated
1927/28 (Dramatic) Frank Borzage
 – 7th Heaven
Herbert BrenonSorrell and Son
King VidorThe Crowd
1927/28 (Comedy) Lewis Milestone
 – Two Arabian Knights
Ted WildeSpeedy
1928/29 Frank Lloyd
 – The Divine Lady
Lionel BarrymoreMadame X
Harry BeaumontThe Broadway Melody
Irving CummingsIn Old Arizona
Frank Lloyd - Drag and Weary River
Ernst LubitschThe Patriot
1929/30 Lewis Milestone
 – All Quiet on the Western Front
Clarence BrownAnna Christie and Romance
Robert Z. LeonardThe Divorcée
Ernst LubitschThe Love Parade
King VidorHallelujah

1930s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
1930/31 Norman Taurog
 – Skippy
Clarence BrownA Free Soul
Lewis MilestoneThe Front Page
Wesley RugglesCimarron
Josef von SternbergMorocco
1931/32 Frank Borzage
 – Bad Girl
King VidorThe Champ
Josef von SternbergShanghai Express
1932/33 Frank Lloyd
 – Cavalcade
Frank CapraLady for a Day
George CukorLittle Women

(The Academy also announced that Capra came in second, and Cukor last.)

1934 Frank Capra
 – It Happened One Night
Victor SchertzingerOne Night of Love
W. S. Van DykeThe Thin Man

(The Academy also announced that Van Dyke came in second, and Schertzinger last.)

1935 John Ford
 – The Informer
Henry HathawayThe Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Frank LloydMutiny on the Bounty

(The Academy also announced that write-in candidate Michael Curtiz, for Captain Blood, came in second, and Hathaway third.)

1936 Frank Capra
 – Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Gregory La CavaMy Man Godfrey
Robert Z. LeonardThe Great Ziegfeld
W. S. Van DykeSan Francisco
William WylerDodsworth
1937 Leo McCarey
 – The Awful Truth
William DieterleThe Life of Émile Zola
Sidney FranklinThe Good Earth
Gregory La CavaStage Door
William A. WellmanA Star Is Born
1938 Frank Capra
 – You Can't Take It With You
Michael CurtizAngels with Dirty Faces
Michael CurtizFour Daughters
Norman TaurogBoys Town
King VidorThe Citadel
1939 Victor Fleming
 – Gone with the Wind
Frank CapraMr. Smith Goes to Washington
John FordStagecoach
Sam WoodGoodbye, Mr. Chips
William WylerWuthering Heights

1940s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
1940 John Ford
 – The Grapes of Wrath
George CukorThe Philadelphia Story
Alfred HitchcockRebecca
Sam WoodKitty Foyle
William WylerThe Letter
1941 John Ford
 – How Green Was My Valley
Alexander HallHere Comes Mr. Jordan
Howard HawksSergeant York
Orson WellesCitizen Kane
William WylerThe Little Foxes
1942 William Wyler
 – Mrs. Miniver
Michael CurtizYankee Doodle Dandy
John FarrowWake Island
Mervyn LeRoyRandom Harvest
Sam WoodKings Row
1943 Michael Curtiz
 – Casablanca
Clarence BrownThe Human Comedy
Henry KingThe Song of Bernadette
Ernst LubitschHeaven Can Wait
George StevensThe More the Merrier
1944 Leo McCarey
 – Going My Way
Alfred HitchcockLifeboat
Henry KingWilson
Otto PremingerLaura
Billy WilderDouble Indemnity
1945 Billy Wilder
 – The Lost Weekend
Clarence BrownNational Velvet
Alfred HitchcockSpellbound
Leo McCareyThe Bells of St. Mary's
Jean RenoirThe Southerner
1946 William Wyler
 – The Best Years of Our Lives
Clarence BrownThe Yearling
Frank CapraIt's a Wonderful Life
David LeanBrief Encounter
Robert SiodmakThe Killers
1947 Elia Kazan
 – Gentleman's Agreement
George CukorA Double Life
Edward DmytrykCrossfire
Henry KosterThe Bishop's Wife
David LeanGreat Expectations
1948 John Huston
 – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Anatole LitvakThe Snake Pit
Jean NegulescoJohnny Belinda
Laurence OlivierHamlet
Fred ZinnemannThe Search
1949 Joseph L. Mankiewicz
 – A Letter to Three Wives
Carol ReedThe Fallen Idol
Robert RossenAll the King's Men
William A. WellmanBattleground
William WylerThe Heiress

1950s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
1950 Joseph L. Mankiewicz
 – All About Eve
George CukorBorn Yesterday
John HustonThe Asphalt Jungle
Carol ReedThe Third Man
Billy WilderSunset Boulevard
1951 George Stevens
 – A Place in the Sun
John HustonThe African Queen
Elia KazanA Streetcar Named Desire
Vincente MinnelliAn American in Paris
William WylerDetective Story
1952 John Ford
 – The Quiet Man
Cecil B. DeMilleThe Greatest Show on Earth
John HustonMoulin Rouge
Joseph L. Mankiewicz5 Fingers
Fred ZinnemannHigh Noon
1953 Fred Zinnemann
 – From Here to Eternity
George StevensShane
Charles WaltersLili
Billy WilderStalag 17
William WylerRoman Holiday
1954 Elia Kazan
 – On the Waterfront
Alfred HitchcockRear Window
George SeatonThe Country Girl
William A. WellmanThe High and the Mighty
Billy WilderSabrina
1955 Delbert Mann
 – Marty
Elia KazanEast of Eden
David LeanSummertime
Joshua LoganPicnic
John SturgesBad Day at Black Rock
1956 George Stevens
 – Giant
Michael AndersonAround the World in 80 Days
Walter LangThe King and I
King VidorWar and Peace
William WylerFriendly Persuasion
1957 David Lean
 – The Bridge on the River Kwai
Joshua LoganSayonara
Sidney Lumet12 Angry Men
Mark RobsonPeyton Place
Billy WilderWitness for the Prosecution
1958 Vincente Minnelli
 – Gigi
Richard BrooksCat on a Hot Tin Roof
Stanley KramerThe Defiant Ones
Mark RobsonThe Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Robert WiseI Want to Live!
1959 William Wyler
 – Ben-Hur
Jack ClaytonRoom at the Top
George StevensThe Diary of Anne Frank
Billy WilderSome Like It Hot
Fred ZinnemannThe Nun's Story

1960s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
1960 Billy Wilder
 – The Apartment
Jack CardiffSons and Lovers
Jules DassinNever on Sunday
Alfred HitchcockPsycho
Fred ZinnemannThe Sundowners
1961 Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
 – West Side Story
Federico FelliniLa Dolce Vita
Stanley KramerJudgment at Nuremberg
Robert RossenThe Hustler
J. Lee ThompsonThe Guns of Navarone
1962 David Lean
 – Lawrence of Arabia
Pietro GermiDivorce, Italian Style
Robert MulliganTo Kill a Mockingbird
Arthur PennThe Miracle Worker
Frank PerryDavid and Lisa
1963 Tony Richardson
 – Tom Jones
Federico Fellini
Elia KazanAmerica, America
Otto PremingerThe Cardinal
Martin RittHud
1964 George Cukor
 – My Fair Lady
Michael CacoyannisZorba the Greek
Peter GlenvilleBecket
Stanley KubrickDr. Strangelove
Robert StevensonMary Poppins
1965 Robert Wise
 – The Sound of Music
David LeanDoctor Zhivago
John SchlesingerDarling
Hiroshi TeshigaharaThe Woman in the Dunes
William WylerThe Collector
1966 Fred Zinnemann
 – A Man for All Seasons
Michelangelo AntonioniBlowup
Richard BrooksThe Professionals
Claude LelouchA Man and a Woman
Mike NicholsWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
1967 Mike Nichols
 – The Graduate
Richard BrooksIn Cold Blood
Norman JewisonIn the Heat of the Night
Stanley KramerGuess Who's Coming to Dinner
Arthur PennBonnie and Clyde
1968 Carol Reed
 – Oliver!
Anthony HarveyThe Lion in Winter
Stanley Kubrick2001: A Space Odyssey
Gillo PontecorvoThe Battle of Algiers
Franco ZeffirelliRomeo and Juliet
1969 John Schlesinger
 – Midnight Cowboy
Costa GavrasZ
George Roy HillButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Arthur PennAlice's Restaurant
Sydney PollackThey Shoot Horses, Don't They?

1970s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
1970 Franklin J. Schaffner
 – Patton
Robert AltmanMASH
Federico FelliniSatyricon
Arthur HillerLove Story
Ken RussellWomen in Love
1971 William Friedkin
 – The French Connection
Peter BogdanovichThe Last Picture Show
Norman JewisonFiddler on the Roof
Stanley KubrickA Clockwork Orange
John SchlesingerSunday Bloody Sunday
1972 Bob Fosse
 – Cabaret
John BoormanDeliverance
Francis Ford CoppolaThe Godfather
Joseph L. MankiewiczSleuth
Jan TroellThe Emigrants
1973 George Roy Hill
 – The Sting
Ingmar BergmanCries and Whispers
Bernardo Bertolucci - Last Tango in Paris
William Friedkin - The Exorcist
George LucasAmerican Graffiti
1974 Francis Ford Coppola
 – The Godfather Part II
John CassavetesA Woman Under the Influence
Bob FosseLenny
Roman PolanskiChinatown
François TruffautDay for Night
1975 Miloš Forman
 – One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Robert AltmanNashville
Federico FelliniAmarcord
Stanley KubrickBarry Lyndon
Sidney LumetDog Day Afternoon
1976 John G. Avildsen
 – Rocky
Ingmar BergmanFace to Face
Sidney LumetNetwork
Alan J. PakulaAll the President's Men
Lina WertmüllerSeven Beauties
1977 Woody Allen
 – Annie Hall
George LucasStar Wars
Herbert RossThe Turning Point
Steven SpielbergClose Encounters of the Third Kind
Fred ZinnemannJulia
1978 Michael Cimino
 – The Deer Hunter
Woody AllenInteriors
Hal AshbyComing Home
Warren Beatty & Buck HenryHeaven Can Wait
Alan ParkerMidnight Express
1979 Robert Benton
 – Kramer vs. Kramer
Francis Ford CoppolaApocalypse Now
Bob FosseAll That Jazz
Édouard MolinaroLa Cage aux Folles
Peter YatesBreaking Away

1980s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
1980 Robert Redford
 – Ordinary People
David LynchThe Elephant Man
Roman PolanskiTess
Richard RushThe Stunt Man
Martin ScorseseRaging Bull
1981 Warren Beatty
 – Reds
Hugh HudsonChariots of Fire
Louis MalleAtlantic City
Mark RydellOn Golden Pond
Steven SpielbergRaiders of the Lost Ark
1982 Richard Attenborough
 – Gandhi
Sidney LumetThe Verdict
Wolfgang PetersenDas Boot
Sydney PollackTootsie
Steven SpielbergE.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
1983 James L. Brooks
 – Terms of Endearment
Bruce BeresfordTender Mercies
Ingmar BergmanFanny and Alexander
Mike NicholsSilkwood
Peter YatesThe Dresser
1984 Miloš Forman
 – Amadeus
Woody AllenBroadway Danny Rose
Robert BentonPlaces in the Heart
Roland JofféThe Killing Fields
David LeanA Passage to India
1985 Sydney Pollack
 – Out of Africa
Héctor BabencoKiss of the Spider Woman
John HustonPrizzi's Honor
Akira KurosawaRan
Peter WeirWitness
1986 Oliver Stone
 – Platoon
Woody AllenHannah and Her Sisters
James IvoryA Room with a View
Roland JofféThe Mission
David LynchBlue Velvet
1987 Bernardo Bertolucci
 – The Last Emperor
John BoormanHope and Glory
Lasse HallströmMy Life as a Dog
Norman JewisonMoonstruck
Adrian LyneFatal Attraction
1988 Barry Levinson
 – Rain Man
Charles CrichtonA Fish Called Wanda
Mike NicholsWorking Girl
Alan ParkerMississippi Burning
Martin ScorseseThe Last Temptation of Christ
1989 Oliver Stone
 – Born on the Fourth of July
Woody AllenCrimes and Misdemeanors
Kenneth BranaghHenry V
Jim SheridanMy Left Foot
Peter WeirDead Poets Society

1990s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
1990 Kevin Costner
 – Dances with Wolves
Francis Ford CoppolaThe Godfather Part III
Stephen FrearsThe Grifters
Barbet SchroederReversal of Fortune
Martin ScorseseGoodfellas
1991 Jonathan Demme
 – The Silence of the Lambs
Barry LevinsonBugsy
Ridley ScottThelma & Louise
John SingletonBoyz n the Hood
Oliver StoneJFK
1992 Clint Eastwood
 – Unforgiven
Robert AltmanThe Player
Martin BrestScent of a Woman
James IvoryHowards End
Neil JordanThe Crying Game
1993 Steven Spielberg
 – Schindler's List
Robert AltmanShort Cuts
Jane CampionThe Piano
James IvoryThe Remains of the Day
Jim SheridanIn the Name of the Father
1994 Robert Zemeckis
 – Forrest Gump
Woody AllenBullets over Broadway
Krzysztof KieślowskiThree Colors: Red
Robert RedfordQuiz Show
Quentin TarantinoPulp Fiction
1995 Mel Gibson
 – Braveheart
Mike FiggisLeaving Las Vegas
Chris NoonanBabe
Michael RadfordIl Postino: The Postman
Tim RobbinsDead Man Walking
1996 Anthony Minghella
 – The English Patient
Joel CoenFargo
Miloš FormanThe People vs. Larry Flynt
Scott HicksShine
Mike LeighSecrets & Lies
1997 James Cameron
 – Titanic
Peter CattaneoThe Full Monty
Atom EgoyanThe Sweet Hereafter
Curtis HansonL.A. Confidential
Gus Van SantGood Will Hunting
1998 Steven Spielberg
 – Saving Private Ryan
Roberto BenigniLife Is Beautiful
John MaddenShakespeare in Love
Terrence MalickThe Thin Red Line
Peter WeirThe Truman Show
1999 Sam Mendes
 – American Beauty
Lasse HallströmThe Cider House Rules
Spike JonzeBeing John Malkovich
Michael MannThe Insider
M. Night ShyamalanThe Sixth Sense

2000s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
2000 Steven Soderbergh
 – Traffic
Stephen DaldryBilly Elliot
Ang LeeCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ridley ScottGladiator
Steven SoderberghErin Brockovich
2001 Ron Howard
 – A Beautiful Mind
Robert AltmanGosford Park
Peter JacksonThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
David LynchMulholland Drive
Ridley ScottBlack Hawk Down
2002 Roman Polanski
 – The Pianist
Pedro AlmodóvarTalk to Her
Stephen DaldryThe Hours
Rob MarshallChicago
Martin ScorseseGangs of New York
2003 Peter Jackson
 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Sofia CoppolaLost in Translation
Clint EastwoodMystic River
Fernando MeirellesCity of God
Peter WeirMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the World
2004 Clint Eastwood
 – Million Dollar Baby
Taylor HackfordRay
Mike LeighVera Drake
Alexander PayneSideways
Martin ScorseseThe Aviator
2005 Ang Lee
 – Brokeback Mountain
George ClooneyGood Night, and Good Luck.
Paul HaggisCrash
Bennett MillerCapote
Steven SpielbergMunich
2006 Martin Scorsese
 – The Departed
Clint EastwoodLetters from Iwo Jima
Stephen FrearsThe Queen
Alejandro González IñárrituBabel
Paul GreengrassUnited 93
2007 Joel and Ethan Coen
 – No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas AndersonThere Will Be Blood
Tony GilroyMichael Clayton
Jason ReitmanJuno
Julian SchnabelThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2008 Danny Boyle
 – Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen DaldryThe Reader
David FincherThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron HowardFrost/Nixon
Gus Van SantMilk
2009 Kathryn Bigelow
 – The Hurt Locker
James CameronAvatar
Lee DanielsPrecious
Jason ReitmanUp in the Air
Quentin TarantinoInglourious Basterds

2010s[edit]

Year Winner
film
Nominated
2010 Tom Hooper
 – The King's Speech
Darren AronofskyBlack Swan
Joel and Ethan CoenTrue Grit
David FincherThe Social Network
David O. RussellThe Fighter
2011 Michel Hazanavicius
 – The Artist
Woody AllenMidnight in Paris
Terrence MalickThe Tree of Life
Alexander PayneThe Descendants
Martin ScorseseHugo
2012 Ang Lee
 – Life of Pi
Michael HanekeAmour
David O. RussellSilver Linings Playbook
Steven SpielbergLincoln
Benh ZeitlinBeasts of the Southern Wild
2013 Alfonso Cuarón
 – Gravity
Steve McQueen12 Years a Slave
Alexander PayneNebraska
David O. RussellAmerican Hustle
Martin ScorseseThe Wolf of Wall Street

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]