These Are The Best Directors From The 20th Century Onward, According To The Oscars

These Are The Best Directors From The 20th Century Onward, According To The Oscars

By: Oliver G. Alvar -

Take a look back at all the Oscars winners and nominees in the Best Director category. Get ready for a ride through Hollywood history!

The Best Director category is one of the most prestigious in Hollywood. Be called a master director, one of the best of all times, and your fame, respect, and admiration will skyrocket from that moment on. A good director can so obviously make or break a film that it's no wonder we place such a prominent spotlight on them. They are creators and visionaries of the highest caliber in the art world as a whole. Top directors can take a poor script and make it a masterpiece, while bad ones can ruin even the best text ever written. With so much responsibility, the credit they get is well deserved.

So, join us and take a look backward at all the winners and nominees in the Best Director category to find out who the best ones are, according to the Oscars. Get ready for a trip through Hollywood history.

academy awards best director winners and nominees

91st Academy Awards (2018)

  • Alfonso Cuarón (won for: Roma)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos (nominated for: The Favourite)
  • Spike Lee (nominated for: BlacKkKlansman)
  • Adam McKay (nominated for: Vice)
  • Paweł Pawlikowski (nominated for: Cold War)

90th Academy Awards (2017)

  • Guillermo del Toro (won for: The Shape of Water)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (nominated for: Phantom Thread)
  • Greta Gerwig (nominated for: Lady Bird)
  • Christopher Nolan (nominated for: Dunkirk)
  • Jordan Peele (nominated for: Get Out)

89th Academy Awards (2016)

  • Damien Chazelle (won for: La La Land)
  • Mel Gibson (nominated for: Hacksaw Ridge)
  • Barry Jenkins (nominated for: Moonlight)
  • Kenneth Lonergan (nominated for: Manchester by the Sea)
  • Denis Villeneuve (nominated for: Arrival)

88th Academy Awards (2015)

  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu (won for: The Revenant)
  • Lenny Abrahamson (nominated for: Room)
  • Tom McCarthy (nominated for: Spotlight)
  • Adam McKay (nominated for: The Big Short)
  • George Miller (nominated for: Mad Max: Fury Road)

87th Academy Awards (2014)

  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu (won for: Birdman)
  • Wes Anderson (nominated for: The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Richard Linklater (nominated for: Boyhood)
  • Bennett Miller (nominated for: Foxcatcher)
  • Morten Tyldum (nominated for: The Imitation Game)

86th Academy Awards (2013)

  • Alfonso Cuarón (won for: Gravity)
  • Steve McQueen (nominated for: 12 Years a Slave)
  • Alexander Payne (nominated for: Nebraska)
  • David O. Russell (nominated for: American Hustle)
  • Martin Scorsese (nominated for: The Wolf of Wall Street)

85th Academy Awards (2012)

  • Ang Lee (won for: Life of Pi)
  • Michael Haneke (nominated for: Amour)
  • David O. Russell (nominated for: Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Steven Spielberg (nominated for: Lincoln)
  • Benh Zeitlin (nominated for: Beasts of the Southern Wild)

84th Academy Awards (2011)

  • Michel Hazanavicius (won for: The Artist)
  • Woody Allen (nominated for: Midnight in Paris)
  • Terrence Malick (nominated for: The Tree of Life)
  • Alexander Payne (nominated for: The Descendants)
  • Martin Scorsese (nominated for: Hugo)

83rd Academy Awards (2010)

  • Tom Hooper (won for: The King's Speech)
  • Darren Aronofsky (nominated for: Black Swan)
  • Coen Brothers (nominated for: True Grit)
  • David Fincher (nominated for: The Social Network)
  • David O. Russell (nominated for: The Fighter)

82nd Academy Awards (2009)

  • Kathryn Bigelow (won for: The Hurt Locker)
  • James Cameron (nominated for: Avatar)
  • Lee Daniels (nominated for: Precious)
  • Jason Reitman (nominated for: Up in the Air)
  • Quentin Tarantino (nominated for: Inglourious Basterds)

81st Academy Awards (2008)

  • Danny Boyle (won for: Slumdog Millionaire)
  • Stephen Daldry (nominated for: The Reader)
  • David Fincher (nominated for: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
  • Ron Howard (nominated for: Frost/Nixon)
  • Gus Van Sant (nominated for: Milk)

80th Academy Awards (2007)

  • Coen Brothers (won for: No Country for Old Men)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (nominated for: There Will Be Blood)
  • Tony Gilroy (nominated for: Michael Clayton)
  • Jason Reitman (nominated for: Juno)
  • Julian Schnabel (nominated for: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)

79th Academy Awards (2006)

  • Martin Scorsese (won for: The Departed)
  • Clint Eastwood (nominated for: Letters from Iwo Jima)
  • Stephen Frears (nominated for: The Queen)
  • Paul Greengrass (nominated for: United 93)
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu (nominated for: Babel)

78th Academy Awards (2005)

  • Ang Lee (won for: Brokeback Mountain)
  • George Clooney (nominated for: Good Night, and Good Luck)
  • Paul Haggis (nominated for: Crash)
  • Bennett Miller (nominated for: Capote)
  • Steven Spielberg (nominated for: Munich)

77th Academy Awards (2004)

  • Clint Eastwood (won for: Million Dollar Baby)
  • Taylor Hackford (nominated for: Ray)
  • Mike Leigh (nominated for: Vera Drake)
  • Alexander Payne (nominated for: Sideways)
  • Martin Scorsese (nominated for: The Aviator)

76th Academy Awards (2003)

  • Peter Jackson (won for: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
  • Sofia Coppola (nominated for: Lost in Translation)
  • Clint Eastwood (nominated for: Mystic River)
  • Fernando Meirelles (nominated for: City of God)
  • Peter Weir (nominated for: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)

75th Academy Awards (2002)

  • Roman Polanski (won for: The Pianist)
  • Pedro Almodóvar (nominated for: Talk to Her)
  • Stephen Daldry (nominated for: The Hours)
  • Rob Marshall (nominated for: Chicago)
  • Martin Scorsese (nominated for: Gangs of New York)

74th Academy Awards (2001)

  • Ron Howard (won for: A Beautiful Mind)
  • Robert Altman (nominated for: Gosford Park)
  • Peter Jackson (nominated for: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring)
  • David Lynch (nominated for: Mulholland Drive)
  • Ridley Scott (nominated for: Black Hawk Down)

73rd Academy Awards (2000)

  • Steven Soderbergh (won for: Traffic)
  • Stephen Daldry (nominated for: Billy Elliot)
  • Ang Lee (nominated for: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
  • Ridley Scott (nominated for: Gladiator)
  • Steven Soderbergh (nominated for: Erin Brockovich)

72nd Academy Awards (1999)

  • Sam Mendes (won for: American Beauty)
  • Lasse Hallström (nominated for: The Cider House Rules)
  • Spike Jonze (nominated for: Being John Malkovich)
  • Michael Mann (nominated for: The Insider)
  • M. Night Shyamalan  (nominated for: The Sixth Sense)

71st Academy Awards (1998)

  • Steven Spielberg (won for: Saving Private Ryan)
  • Roberto Benigni (nominated for: Life Is Beautiful)
  • John Madden (nominated for: Shakespeare in Love)
  • Terrence Malick (nominated for: The Thin Red Line)
  • Peter Weir (nominated for: The Truman Show)

70th Academy Awards (1997)

  • James Cameron (won for: Titanic)
  • Peter Cattaneo (nominated for: The Full Monty)
  • Atom Egoyan (nominated for: The Sweet Hereafter)
  • Curtis Hanson (nominated for: L.A. Confidential)
  • Gus Van Sant (nominated for: Good Will Hunting)

69th Academy Awards (1996)

  • Anthony Minghella (won for: The English Patient)
  • Joel Coen (nominated for: Fargo)
  • Miloš Forman (nominated for: The People vs. Larry Flynt)
  • Scott Hicks (nominated for: Shine)
  • Mike Leigh (nominated for: Secrets & Lies)

68th Academy Awards (1995)

  • Mel Gibson (won for: Braveheart)
  • Mike Figgis (nominated for: Leaving Las Vegas)
  • Chris Noonan (nominated for: Babe)
  • Michael Radford (nominated for: Il Postino: The Postman)
  • Tim Robbins (nominated for: Dead Man Walking)

67th Academy Awards (1994)

  • Robert Zemeckis (won for: Forrest Gump)
  • Woody Allen (nominated for: Bullets over Broadway)
  • Krzysztof Kieślowski (nominated for: Three Colours: Red)
  • Robert Redford (nominated for: Quiz Show)
  • Quentin Tarantino (nominated for: Pulp Fiction)

66th Academy Awards (1993)

  • Steven Spielberg (won for: Schindler's List)
  • Robert Altman (nominated for: Short Cuts)
  • Jane Campion (nominated for: The Piano)
  • James Ivory (nominated for: The Remains of the Day)
  • Jim Sheridan (nominated for: In the Name of the Father)

65th Academy Awards (1992)

  • Clint Eastwood (won for: Unforgiven)
  • Robert Altman (nominated for: The Player)
  • Martin Brest (nominated for: Scent of a Woman)
  • James Ivory (nominated for: Howards End)
  • Neil Jordan (nominated for: The Crying Game)

64th Academy Awards (1991)

  • Jonathan Demme (won for: The Silence of the Lambs)
  • Barry Levinson (nominated for: Bugsy)
  • Ridley Scott (nominated for: Thelma & Louise)
  • John Singleton (nominated for: Boyz n the Hood)
  • Oliver Stone (nominated for: JFK)

63rd Academy Awards (1990)

  • Kevin Costner (won for: Dances with Wolves)
  • Francis Ford Coppola (nominated for: The Godfather Part III)
  • Stephen Frears (nominated for: The Grifters)
  • Barbet Schroeder (nominated for: Reversal of Fortune)
  • Martin Scorsese (nominated for: Goodfellas)

62nd Academy Awards (1989)

  • Oliver Stone (won for: Born on the Fourth of July)
  • Woody Allen (nominated for: Crimes and Misdemeanors)
  • Kenneth Branagh (nominated for: Henry V)
  • Jim Sheridan (nominated for: My Left Foot)
  • Peter Weir (nominated for: Dead Poets Society)

61st Academy Awards (1988)

  • Barry Levinson (won for: Rain Man)
  • Charles Crichton (nominated for: A Fish Called Wanda)
  • Mike Nichols (nominated for: Working Girl)
  • Alan Parker (nominated for: Mississippi Burning)
  • Martin Scorsese (nominated for: The Last Temptation of Christ)

60th Academy Awards (1987)

  • Bernardo Bertolucci (won for: The Last Emperor)
  • John Boorman (nominated for: Hope and Glory)
  • Lasse Hallström (nominated for: My Life as a Dog)
  • Norman Jewison (nominated for: Moonstruck)
  • Adrian Lyne (nominated for: Fatal Attraction)

59th Academy Awards (1986)

  • Oliver Stone (won for: Platoon)
  • Woody Allen (nominated for: Hannah and Her Sisters)
  • James Ivory (nominated for: A Room with a View)
  • Roland Joffé (nominated for: The Mission)
  • David Lynch (nominated for: Blue Velvet)

58th Academy Awards (1985)

  • Sydney Pollack (won for: Out of Africa)
  • Héctor Babenco (nominated for: Kiss of the Spider Woman)
  • John Huston (nominated for: Prizzi's Honor)
  • Akira Kurosawa (nominated for: Ran)
  • Peter Weir (nominated for: Witness)

57th Academy Awards (1984)

  • Miloš Forman (won for: Amadeus)
  • Woody Allen (nominated for: Broadway Danny Rose)
  • Robert Benton (nominated for: Places in the Heart)
  • Roland Joffé (nominated for: The Killing Fields)
  • David Lean (nominated for: A Passage to India)

56th Academy Awards (1983)

  • James L. Brooks (won for: Terms of Endearment)
  • Bruce Beresford (nominated for: Tender Mercies)
  • Ingmar Bergman (nominated for: Fanny and Alexander)
  • Mike Nichols (nominated for: Silkwood)
  • Peter Yates (nominated for: The Dresser)

55th Academy Awards (1982)

  • Richard Attenborough (won for: Gandhi)
  • Sidney Lumet (nominated for: The Verdict)
  • Wolfgang Petersen (nominated for: Das Boot)
  • Sydney Pollack (nominated for: Tootsie)
  • Steven Spielberg (nominated for: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial)

54th Academy Awards (1981)

  • Warren Beatty (won for: Reds)
  • Hugh Hudson (nominated for: Chariots of Fire)
  • Louis Malle (nominated for: Atlantic City)
  • Mark Rydell (nominated for: On Golden Pond)
  • Steven Spielberg (nominated for: Raiders of the Lost Ark)

53rd Academy Awards (1980)

  • Robert Redford (won for: Ordinary People)
  • David Lynch (nominated for: The Elephant Man)
  • Roman Polanski (nominated for: Tess)
  • Richard Rush (nominated for: The Stunt Man)
  • Martin Scorsese (nominated for: Raging Bull)

52nd Academy Awards (1979)

  • Robert Benton (won for: Kramer vs. Kramer)
  • Francis Ford Coppola (nominated for: Apocalypse Now)
  • Bob Fosse (nominated for: All That Jazz)
  • Édouard Molinaro (nominated for: La Cage aux Folles)
  • Peter Yates (nominated for: Breaking Away)

51st Academy Awards (1978)

  • Michael Cimino (won for: The Deer Hunter)
  • Woody Allen (nominated for: Interiors)
  • Hal Ashby (nominated for: Coming Home)
  • Warren Beatty & Buck Henry (nominated for: Heaven Can Wait)
  • Alan Parker (nominated for: Midnight Express)

50th Academy Awards (1977)

  • Woody Allen (won for: Annie Hall)
  • George Lucas (nominated for: Star Wars)
  • Herbert Ross (nominated for: The Turning Point)
  • Steven Spielberg (nominated for: Close Encounters of the Third Kind)
  • Fred Zinnemann (nominated for: Julia)

49th Academy Awards (1976)

  • John G. Avildsen (won for: Rocky)
  • Ingmar Bergman (nominated for: Face to Face)
  • Sidney Lumet (nominated for: Network)
  • Alan J. Pakula (nominated for: All the President's Men)
  • Lina Wertmüller (nominated for: Seven Beauties)

48th Academy Awards (1975)

  • Miloš Forman (won for: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
  • Robert Altman (nominated for: Nashville)
  • Federico Fellini (nominated for: Amarcord)
  • Stanley Kubrick (nominated for: Barry Lyndon)
  • Sidney Lumet (nominated for: Dog Day Afternoon)

47th Academy Awards (1974)

  • Francis Ford Coppola (won for: The Godfather Part II)
  • John Cassavetes (nominated for: A Woman Under the Influence)
  • Bob Fosse  (nominated for: Lenny)
  • Roman Polanski (nominated for: Chinatown)
  • François Truffaut (nominated for: Day for Night)

46th Academy Awards (1973)

  • George Roy Hill (won for: The Sting)
  • Ingmar Bergman (nominated for: Cries and Whispers)
  • Bernardo Bertolucci (nominated for: Last Tango in Paris)
  • William Friedkin (nominated for: The Exorcist)
  • George Lucas (nominated for: American Graffiti)

45th Academy Awards (1972)

  • Bob Fosse (won for: Cabaret)
  • John Boorman (nominated for: Deliverance)
  • Francis Ford Coppola (nominated for: The Godfather)
  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz (nominated for: Sleuth)
  • Jan Troell (nominated for: The Emigrants)

44th Academy Awards (1971)

  • William Friedkin (won for: The French Connection)
  • Peter Bogdanovich (nominated for: The Last Picture Show)
  • Norman Jewison (nominated for: Fiddler on the Roof)
  • Stanley Kubrick (nominated for: A Clockwork Orange)
  • John Schlesinger (nominated for: Sunday Bloody Sunday)

43rd Academy Awards (1970)

  • Franklin J. Schaffner (won for: Patton)
  • Robert Altman (nominated for: M*A*S*H)
  • Federico Fellini (nominated for: Fellini Satyricon)
  • Arthur Hiller (nominated for: Love Story)
  • Ken Russell (nominated for: Women in Love)

42nd Academy Awards (1969)

  • John Schlesinger (won for: Midnight Cowboy)
  • Costa-Gavras (nominated for: Z)
  • George Roy Hill (nominated for: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
  • Arthur Penn (nominated for: Alice's Restaurant)
  • Sydney Pollack (nominated for: They Shoot Horses, Don't They?)

41st Academy Awards (1968)

  • Carol Reed (won for: Oliver!)
  • Anthony Harvey (nominated for: The Lion in Winter)
  • Stanley Kubrick (nominated for: 2001: A Space Odyssey)
  • Gillo Pontecorvo (nominated for: The Battle of Algiers)
  • Franco Zeffirelli (nominated for: Romeo and Juliet)

40th Academy Awards (1967)

  • Mike Nichols (won for: The Graduate)
  • Richard Brooks (nominated for: In Cold Blood)
  • Norman Jewison (nominated for: In the Heat of the Night)
  • Stanley Kramer (nominated for: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner)
  • Arthur Penn (nominated for: Bonnie and Clyde)

39th Academy Awards (1966)

  • Fred Zinnemann (won for: A Man for All Seasons)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni (nominated for: Blowup)
  • Richard Brooks (nominated for: The Professionals)
  • Claude Lelouch (nominated for: A Man and a Woman)
  • Mike Nichols (nominated for: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)

38th Academy Awards (1965)

  • Robert Wise (won for: The Sound of Music)
  • David Lean (nominated for: Doctor Zhivago)
  • John Schlesinger (nominated for: Darling)
  • Hiroshi Teshigahara (nominated for: Woman in the Dunes)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: The Collector)

37th Academy Awards (1964)

  • George Cukor (won for: My Fair Lady)
  • Michael Cacoyannis (nominated for: Zorba the Greek)
  • Peter Glenville (nominated for: Becket)
  • Stanley Kubrick (nominated for: Dr. Strangelove)
  • Robert Stevenson (nominated for: Mary Poppins)

36th Academy Awards (1963)

  • Tony Richardson (won for: Tom Jones)
  • Federico Fellini (nominated for: )
  • Elia Kazan (nominated for: America America)
  • Otto Preminger (nominated for: The Cardinal)
  • Martin Ritt (nominated for: Hud)

35th Academy Awards (1962)

  • David Lean (won for: Lawrence of Arabia)
  • Pietro Germi (nominated for: Divorce Italian Style)
  • Robert Mulligan (nominated for: To Kill a Mockingbird)
  • Arthur Penn (nominated for: The Miracle Worker)
  • Frank Perry (nominated for: David and Lisa)

34th Academy Awards (1961)

  • Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins (won for: West Side Story)
  • Federico Fellini (nominated for: La Dolce Vita)
  • Stanley Kramer (nominated for: Judgment at Nuremberg)
  • Robert Rossen (nominated for: The Hustler)
  • J. Lee Thompson (nominated for: The Guns of Navarone)

33rd Academy Awards (1960)

  • Billy Wilder (won for: The Apartment)
  • Jack Cardiff (nominated for: Sons and Lovers)
  • Jules Dassin (nominated for: Never on Sunday)
  • Alfred Hitchcock (nominated for: Psycho)
  • Fred Zinnemann (nominated for: The Sundowners)

32nd Academy Awards (1959)

  • William Wyler (won for: Ben-Hur)
  • Jack Clayton (nominated for: Room at the Top)
  • George Stevens (nominated for: The Diary of Anne Frank)
  • Billy Wilder (nominated for: Some Like It Hot)
  • Fred Zinnemann (nominated for: The Nun's Story)

31st Academy Awards (1958)

  • Vincente Minnelli (won for: Gigi)
  • Richard Brooks (nominated for: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
  • Stanley Kramer (nominated for: The Defiant Ones)
  • Mark Robson (nominated for: The Inn of the Sixth Happiness)
  • Robert Wise (nominated for: I Want to Live!)

30th Academy Awards (1957)

  • David Lean (won for: The Bridge on the River Kwai)
  • Joshua Logan (nominated for: Sayonara)
  • Sidney Lumet (nominated for: 12 Angry Men)
  • Mark Robson (nominated for: Peyton Place)
  • Billy Wilder (nominated for: Witness for the Prosecution)

29th Academy Awards (1956)

  • George Stevens (won for: Giant)
  • Michael Anderson (nominated for: Around the World in 80 Days)
  • Walter Lang (nominated for: The King and I)
  • King Vidor (nominated for: War and Peace)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: Friendly Persuasion)

28th Academy Awards (1955)

  • Delbert Mann (won for: Marty)
  • Elia Kazan (nominated for: East of Eden)
  • David Lean (nominated for: Summertime)
  • Joshua Logan (nominated for: Picnic)
  • John Sturges (nominated for: Bad Day at Black Rock)

27th Academy Awards (1954)

  • Elia Kazan (won for: On the Waterfront)
  • Alfred Hitchcock (nominated for: Rear Window)
  • George Seaton (nominated for: The Country Girl)
  • William A. Wellman (nominated for: The High and the Mighty)
  • Billy Wilder (nominated for: Sabrina)

26th Academy Awards (1953)

  • Fred Zinnemann (won for: From Here to Eternity)
  • George Stevens (nominated for: Shane)
  • Charles Walters (nominated for: Lili)
  • Billy Wilder (nominated for: Stalag 17)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: Roman Holiday)

25th Academy Awards (1952)

  • John Ford (won for: The Quiet Man)
  • Cecil B. DeMille (nominated for: The Greatest Show on Earth)
  • John Huston (nominated for: Moulin Rouge)
  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz (nominated for: 5 Fingers)
  • Fred Zinnemann (nominated for: High Noon)

24th Academy Awards (1951)

  • George Stevens (won for: A Place in the Sun)
  • John Huston (nominated for: The African Queen)
  • Elia Kazan (nominated for: A Streetcar Named Desire)
  • Vincente Minnelli (nominated for: An American in Paris)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: Detective Story)

23rd Academy Awards (1950)

  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz (won for: All About Eve)
  • George Cukor (nominated for: Born Yesterday)
  • John Huston (nominated for: The Asphalt Jungle)
  • Carol Reed (nominated for: The Third Man)
  • Billy Wilder (nominated for: Sunset Boulevard)

22nd Academy Awards (1949)

  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz (won for: A Letter to Three Wives)
  • Carol Reed (nominated for: The Fallen Idol)
  • Robert Rossen (nominated for: All the King's Men)
  • William A. Wellman (nominated for: Battleground)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: The Heiress)

21st Academy Awards (1948)

  • John Huston (won for: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre)
  • Anatole Litvak (nominated for: The Snake Pit)
  • Jean Negulesco (nominated for: Johnny Belinda)
  • Laurence Olivier (nominated for: Hamlet)
  • Fred Zinnemann (nominated for: The Search)

20th Academy Awards (1947)

  • Elia Kazan (won for: Gentleman's Agreement)
  • George Cukor (nominated for: A Double Life)
  • Edward Dmytryk (nominated for: Crossfire)
  • Henry Koster (nominated for: The Bishop's Wife)
  • David Lean (nominated for: Great Expectations)

19th Academy Awards (1946)

  • William Wyler (won for: The Best Years of Our Lives)
  • Clarence Brown (nominated for: The Yearling)
  • Frank Capra (nominated for: It's a Wonderful Life)
  • David Lean (nominated for: Brief Encounter)
  • Robert Siodmak (nominated for: The Killers)

18th Academy Awards (1945)

  • Billy Wilder (won for: The Lost Weekend)
  • Clarence Brown (nominated for: National Velvet)
  • Alfred Hitchcock (nominated for: Spellbound)
  • Leo McCarey (nominated for: The Bells of St. Mary's)
  • Jean Renoir (nominated for: The Southerner)

17th Academy Awards (1944)

  • Leo McCarey (won for: Going My Way)
  • Alfred Hitchcock (nominated for: Lifeboat)
  • Henry King (nominated for: Wilson)
  • Otto Preminger (nominated for: Laura)
  • Billy Wilder (nominated for: Double Indemnity)

16th Academy Awards (1943)

  • Michael Curtiz (won for: Casablanca)
  • Clarence Brown (nominated for: The Human Comedy)
  • Henry King (nominated for: The Song of Bernadette)
  • Ernst Lubitsch (nominated for: Heaven Can Wait)
  • George Stevens (nominated for: The More the Merrier)

15th Academy Awards (1942)

  • William Wyler (won for: Mrs. Miniver)
  • Michael Curtiz (nominated for: Yankee Doodle Dandy)
  • John Farrow (nominated for: Wake Island)
  • Mervyn LeRoy (nominated for: Random Harvest)
  • Sam Wood (nominated for: Kings Row)

14th Academy Awards (1941)

  • John Ford (won for: How Green Was My Valley)
  • Alexander Hall (nominated for: Here Comes Mr. Jordan)
  • Howard Hawks (nominated for: Sergeant York)
  • Orson Welles (nominated for: Citizen Kane)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: The Little Foxes)

13th Academy Awards (1940)

  • John Ford (won for: The Grapes of Wrath)
  • George Cukor (nominated for: The Philadelphia Story)
  • Alfred Hitchcock (nominated for: Rebecca)
  • Sam Wood (nominated for: Kitty Foyle)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: The Letter)

12th Academy Awards (1939)

  • Victor Fleming (won for: Gone with the Wind)
  • Frank Capra (nominated for: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)
  • John Ford (nominated for: Stagecoach)
  • Sam Wood (nominated for: Goodbye, Mr. Chips)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: Wuthering Heights)

11th Academy Awards (1938)

  • Frank Capra (won for: You Can't Take It with You)
  • Michael Curtiz (nominated for: Angels with Dirty Faces & Four Daughters)
  • Norman Taurog (nominated for: Boys Town)
  • King Vidor (nominated for: The Citadel)

10th Academy Awards (1937)

  • Leo McCarey (won for: The Awful Truth)
  • William Dieterle (nominated for: The Life of Emile Zola)
  • Sidney Franklin (nominated for: The Good Earth)
  • Gregory La Cava (nominated for: Stage Door)
  • William A. Wellman (nominated for: A Star Is Born)

9th Academy Awards (1936)

  • Frank Capra (won for: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town)
  • Gregory La Cava (nominated for: My Man Godfrey)
  • Robert Z. Leonard (nominated for: The Great Ziegfeld)
  • W. S. Van Dyke (nominated for: San Francisco)
  • William Wyler (nominated for: Dodsworth)

8th Academy Awards (1935)

  • John Ford (won for: The Informer)
  • Henry Hathaway (nominated for: The Lives of a Bengal Lancer)
  • Frank Lloyd (nominated for: Mutiny on the Bounty)

7th Academy Awards (1934)

  • Frank Capra (won for: It Happened One Night)
  • Victor Schertzinger (nominated for: One Night of Love)
  • W. S. Van Dyke (nominated for: The Thin Man)

6th Academy Awards (1932/1933)

  • Frank Lloyd (won for: Cavalcade)
  • Frank Capra (nominated for: Lady for a Day)
  • George Cukor (nominated for: Little Women)

5th Academy Awards (1931/1932)

  • Frank Borzage (won for: Bad Girl)
  • King Vidor (nominated for: The Champ)
  • Josef von Sternberg (nominated for: Shanghai Express)

4th Academy Awards (1930/1931)

  • Norman Taurog (won for: Skippy)
  • Clarence Brown (nominated for: A Free Soul)
  • Lewis Milestone (nominated for: The Front Page)
  • Wesley Ruggles (nominated for: Cimarron)
  • Josef von Sternberg (nominated for: Morocco)

3rd Academy Awards (1929/1930)

  • Lewis Milestone (won for: All Quiet on the Western Front)
  • Clarence Brown (nominated for: Anna Christie & Romance)
  • Robert Z. Leonard (nominated for: The Divorcee)
  • Ernst Lubitsch (nominated for: The Love Parade)
  • King Vidor (nominated for: Hallelujah!)

2nd Academy Awards (1928/1929)

  • Frank Lloyd (won for: The Divine Lady)
  • Lionel Barrymore (unofficially nominated for: Madame X)
  • Harry Beaumont (unofficially nominated for: The Broadway Melody)
  • Irving Cummings (unofficially nominated for: In Old Arizona)
  • Frank Lloyd (unofficially nominated for: Drag & Weary River)
  • Ernst Lubitsch (unofficially nominated for: The Patriot)

1st Academy Awards (1927/1928)

  • Frank Borzage (won the Dramatic category for: 7th Heaven)
  • Herbert Brenon (nominated in the Dramatic category for: Sorrell and Son)
  • King Vidor (nominated in the Dramatic category for: The Crowd)
  • Lewis Milestone (won the Comedy category for: Two Arabian Knights)
  • Ted Wilde (nominated in the Comedy category for: Speedy)

academy awards best director winners and nominees

There's no lack of talent here, for sure. It's also good to see that, as time has gone by, more diversity has made it into the mix of the best directors of all time. Who are you rooting for this time around?

In the meantime, you can also check the best actors and actresses in history, according to the Academy. 

Your voice matters:
Are you a film or TV expert? Do you have an idea for an article? Click on this link for a chance to share your thoughts with the rest of the world.

Don't miss these other articles:
Know Your Oscar History: Here Are The People Who've Won The Most Academy Awards
Beyond Del Toro, Cuarón, And Iñárritu: Here Are The Best Latin American Filmmakers
The Forgotten Western Masterpiece That Was Nominated For An Oscar