The Oscar Quest: Rankings — Best Director

Here is my subset of The Oscar Quest Rankings, specifically for Best Actor. Just in case the one big article is too much for you and you just want one specific category.

(Underlined means that’s what won. An asterisk (*) means that’s what I’d have voted for. Anything in RED means I haven’t seen the film yet.)


Best Director

2013 – 1. Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity *

2. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

3. Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

4. David O. Russell, American Hustle

5. Alexander Payne, Nebraska

2012 – 1. Ang Lee, Life of Pi *

2. Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

3. David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

4. Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

5. Michael Haneke, Amour

2011  1. Martin Scorsese, Hugo *

2. Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

3. Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

4. Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

5. Alexander Payne, The Descendants

2010 1. Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit

2. David Fincher, The Social Network *

3. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

4. David O. Russell, The Fighter

5. Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech

2009 1. Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds *

2. James Cameron, Avatar

3. Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

4. Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

5. Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

2008 1. Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire *

2. David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

3. Gus Van Sant, Milk

4. Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon

5. Stephen Daldry, The Reader

2007 1. Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood *

2. Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

3. Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

4. Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton

5. Jason Reitman, Juno

2006 1. Martin Scorsese, The Departed *

2. Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima

3. Alexander Gonzalez Iñárritu, Babel

4. Paul Greengrass, United 93

5. Stephen Frears, The Queen

2005 1. Steven Spielberg, Munich

2. George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck

3. Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain *

4. Paul Haggis, Crash

5. Bennett Miller, Capote

2004 1. Martin Scorsese, The Aviator *

2. Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby

3. Taylor Hackford, Ray

4. Marc Forster, Finding Neverland

5. Alexander Payne, Sideways

2003 1. Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King *

2. Peter Weir, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

3. Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

4. Fernando Meirelles, City of God

5. Clint Eastwood, Mystic River

2002 1. Martin Scorsese, Gangs of New York *

2. Rob Marshall, Chicago

3. Roman Polanski, The Pianist

4. Pedro Almodóvar, Talk to Her

5. Stephen Daldry, The Hours

2001 1. Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring *

2. David Lynch, Mulholland Drive

3. Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down

4. Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind

5. Robert Altman, Gosford Park

2000 1. Ridley Scott, Gladiator *

2. Steven Soderbergh, Traffic

3. Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

4. Steven Soderbergh, Erin Brockovich

5. Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot

1999 1. Sam Mendes, American Beauty *

2. Michael Mann, The Insider

3. Spike Jonze, Being John Malkovich

4. M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense

5. Lasse Hallström, The Cider House Rules

1998 1. Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan *

2. Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line

3. John Madden, Shakespeare in Love

4. Peter Weir, The Truman Show

5. Roberto Benigni, Life is Beautiful

1997 1. Gus Hanson, L.A. Confidential

2. James Cameron, Titanic *

3. Gus Van Sant, Good Will Hunting

4. Atom Egoyan, The Sweet Hereafter

5. Peter Cattaneo, The Full Monty

19961. Joel & Ethan Coen, Fargo *

2. Anthony Minghella, The English Patient

3. Miloš Forman, The People vs. Larry Flynt

4. Scott Hicks, Shine

5. Mike Leigh, Secrets and Lies

1995 1. Mel Gibson, Braveheart *

2. Chris Noonan, Babe

3. Mike Figgis, Leaving Las Vegas

4. Michael Radford, Il Postino

5. Tim Robbins, Dead Man Walking

1994 1. Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction *

2. Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump

3. Robert Redford, Quiz Show

4. Krystof Kieślowski, Three Colors: Red

5. Woody Allen, Bullets Over Broadway

1993 1. Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List *

2. Jim Sheridan, In the Name of the Father

3. Jane Campion, The Piano

4. James Ivory, The Remains of the Day

5. Robert Altman, Short Cuts

1992 1. Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven *

2. Martin Brest, Scent of a Woman

3. Robert Altman, The Player

4. James Ivory, Howards End

5. Neil Jordan, The Crying Game

1991 1. Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs *

2. Oliver Stone, JFK

3. John Singleton, Boyz n the Hood

4. Barry Levinson, Bugsy

5. Ridley Scott, Thelma and Louise

1990 1. Martin Scorsese, Goodfellas *

2. Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part III

3. Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves

4. Stephen Frears, The Grifters

5. Barbet Schroeder, Reversal of Fortune

1989 1. Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot *

2. Oliver Stone, Born on the Fourth of July

3. Kenneth Branagh, Henry V

4. Peter Weir, Dead Poet’s Society

5. Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors

19881. Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ *

2. Alan Parker, Mississippi Burning

3. Barry Levinson, Rain Man

4. Charles Crichton, A Fish Called Wanda

5. Mike Nichols, Working Girl

1987 1. John Boorman, Hope and Glory *

2. Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor

3. Adrian Lyne, Fatal Attraction

4. Lasse Hallström, My Life as a Dog

5. Norman Jewison, Moonstruck

19861. Oliver Stone, Platoon *

2. David Lynch, Blue Velvet

3. Roland Joffé, The Mission

4. James Ivory, A Room with a View

5. Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters

1985 – 1. Akira Kurosawa, Ran *

2. Sydney Pollack, Out of Africa

3. Héctor Babenco, Kiss of the Spider Woman

4. Peter Weir, Witness

5. John Huston, Prizzi’s Honor

1984 1. Miloš Forman, Amadeus *

2. Roland Joffé, The Killing Fields

3. Robert Benton, Places in the Heart

4. David Lean, A Passage to India

5. Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose

1983 James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment *

2. Mike Nichols, Silkwood

3. Peter Yates, The Dresser

4. Ingmar Bergman, Fanny and Alexander

5. Bruce Beresford, Tender Mercies

1982 1. Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot *

2. Richard Attenborough, Gandhi

3. Sidney Lumet, The Verdict

4. Steven Spielberg, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

5. Sydney Pollack, Tootsie

1981 1. Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark *

2. Warren Beatty, Reds

3. Mark Rydell, On Golden Pond

4. Louis Malle, Atlantic City

5. Hugh Hudson, Chariots of Fire

1980 1. Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull *

2. David Lynch, The Elephant Man

3. Richard Rush, The Stunt Man

4. Robert Redford, Ordinary People

5. Roman Polanski, Tess

19791. Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now *

2. Bob Fosse, All That Jazz

3. Robert Benton, Kramer vs. Kramer

4. Peter Yates, Breaking Away

5. Édouard Molinaro, La Cage aux Folles

1978 1. Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter *

2. Alan Parker, Midnight Express

3. Warren Beatty & Buck Henry, Heaven Can Wait

4. Hal Ashby, Coming Home

5. Woody Allen, Interiors

1977 1. George Lucas, Star Wars *

2. Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind

3. Woody Allen, Annie Hall

4. Fred Zinnemann, Julia

5. Herbert Ross, The Turning Point

19761. John G. Avildsen, Rocky

2. Alan J. Pakula, All the President’s Men

3. Sidney Lumet, Network *

4. Lina Wertmüller, Seven Beauties

5. Ingmar Bergman, Face to Face

1975 1. Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon *

2. Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon

3. Miloš Forman, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

4. Robert Altman, Nashville

5. Federico Fellini, Amarcord

19741. Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II *

2. Roman Polanski, Chinatown

3. Bob Fosse, Lenny

4. John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence

5. François Truffaut, Day for Night

1973 1. George Roy Hill, The Sting *

2. William Friedkin, The Exorcist

3. George Lucas, American Graffiti

4. Bernardo Bertolucci, Last Tango in Paris

5. Ingmar Bergman, Cries and Whispers

1972 1. Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather *

2. John Boorman, Deliverance

3. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Sleuth

4. Bob Fosse, Cabaret

5. Jan Troell, The Emigrants

1971 1. William Friedkin, The French Connection *

2. Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange

3. Peter Bogdanovich, The Last Picture Show

4. Norman Jewison, Fiddler on the Roof

5. John Schlesinger, Sunday Bloody Sunday

1970 1. Arthur Hiller, Love Story

2. Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton *

3. Robert Altman, MASH

4. Federico Fellini, Satyricon

5. Ken Russell, Women in Love

19691. George Roy Hill, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid *

2. John Schlesinger, Midnight Cowboy

3. Sydney Pollack, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

4. Arthur Penn, Alice’s Restaurant

5. Costa Gravas, Z

1968 1. Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey *

2. Carol Reed, Oliver!

3. Franco Zeffirelli, Romeo and Juliet

4. Anthony Harvey, The Lion in Winter

5. Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers

1967 1. Mike Nichols, The Graduate *

2. Arthur Penn, Bonnie and Clyde

3. Stanley Kramer, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

4. Richard Brooks, In Cold Blood

5. Norman Jewison, In the Heat of the Night

19661. Mike Nichols, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? *

2. Michelanelo Antonioni, Blowup

3. Fred Zinnemann, A Man for All Seasons

4. Richard Brooks, The Professionals

5. Claude Lelouch, A Man and a Woman

1965 1. John Schlesinger, Darling *

2. Robert Wise, The Sound of Music

3. David Lean, Doctor Zhivago

4. William Wyler, The Collector

5. Hiroshi Teshigahara, Woman in the Dunes

1964 1. Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb *

2. George Cukor, My Fair Lady

3. Robert Stevenson, Mary Poppins

4. Michael Cacoyannis, Zorba the Greek

5. Peter Glenville, Becket

1963 1. Federico Fellini, *

2. Elia Kazan, America, America

3. Otto Preminger, The Cardinal

4. Tony Richardson, Tom Jones

5. Martin Ritt, Hud

1962 1. David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia *

2. Robert Mulligan, To Kill a Mockingbird

3. Arthur Penn, The Miracle Worker

4. Frank Perry, David and Lisa

5. Pietro Germi, Divorce, Italian Style

1961 1. Robert Rossen, The Hustler *

2. Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, West Side Story

3. Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita

4. Stanley Kramer, Judgment at Nuremberg

5. J. Lee Thompson, The Guns of Navarone

19601. Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho *

2. Billy Wilder, The Apartment

3. Fred Zinnemann, The Sundowners

4. Jack Cardiff, Sons and Lovers

5. Jules Dassin, Never on Sunday

1959 1. William Wyler, Ben-Hur *

2. Billy Wilder, Some Like it Hot

3. George Stevens, The Diary of Anne Frank

4. Fred Zinnemann, The Nun’s Story

5. Jack Clayton, Room at the Top

19581. Vincente Minnelli, Gigi *

2. Stanley Kramer, The Defiant Ones

3. Richard Brooks, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

4. Mark Robson, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness

5. Robert Wise, I Want to Live!

1957 1. David Lean, The Bridge on the River Kwai *

2. Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men

3. Billy Wilder, Witness for the Prosecution

4. Mark Robson, Peyton Place

5. Joshua Logan, Sayonara

1956 – 1. George Stevens, Giant *

2. King Vidor, War and Peace

3. Michael Anderson, Around the World in 80 Days

4. Walter Long, The King and I

5. William Wyler, Friendly Persuasion

19551. Delbert Mann, Marty

2. Elia Kazan, East of Eden

3. John Sturges, Bad Day at Black Rock *

4. David Lean, Summertime

5. Joshua Logan, Picnic

1954 1. Elia Kazan, On the Waterfront *

2. Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window

3. George Seaton, The Country Girl

4. Billy Wilder, Sabrina

5. William A. Wellman, The High and the Mighty

1953 1. William Wyler, Roman Holiday

2. Charles Walters, Lili

3. George Stevens, Shane

4. Billy Wilder, Stalag 17

5. Fred Zinnemann, From Here to Eternity *

19521. Fred Zinnemann, High Noon *

2. John Ford, The Quiet Man

3. Cecil B. DeMille, The Greatest Show on Earth

4. John Huston, Moulin Rouge

5. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 5 Fingers

1951 1. John Huston, The African Queen *

2. Elia Kazan, A Streetcar Named Desire

3. Vincente Minnelli, An American in Paris

4. William Wyler, Detective Story

5. George Stevens, A Place in the Sun

19501. Carol Reed, The Third Man *

2. Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

3. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, All About Eve

4. John Huston, The Asphalt Jungle

5. George Cukor, Born Yesterday

19491. William A. Wellman, Battleground *

2. Robert Rossen, All the King’s Men

3. Carol Reed, The Fallen Idol

4. William Wyler, The Heiress

5. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives

19481. John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre *

2. Jean Negulesco, Johnny Belinda

3. Anatole Litvak, The Snake Pit

4. Laurence Olivier, Hamlet

5. Fred Zinnemann, The Search

1947 1. David Lean, Great Expectations

2. Elia Kazan, Gentleman’s Agreement *

3. Edward Dmytryk, Crossfire

4. George Cukor, A Double Life

5. Henry Koster, The Bishop’s Wife

1946 1. David Lean, Brief Encounter *

2. Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life

3. William Wyler, The Best Years of Our Lives

4. Clarence Brown, The Yearling

5. Robert Siodmak, The Killers

1945 1. Clarence Brown, National Velvet

2. Billy Wilder, The Lost Weekend *

3. Leo McCarey, The Bells of St. Mary’s

4. Alfred Hitchcock, Spellbound

5. Jean Renoir, The Southerner

1944 1. Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity *

2. Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat

3. Leo McCarey, Going My Way

4. Otto Preminger, Laura

5. Henry King, Wilson

1943 1. Michael Curtiz, Casablanca *

2. George Stevens, The More the Merrier

3. Ernst Lubitsch, Heaven Can Wait

4. Henry King, The Song of Bernadette

5. Clarence Brown, The Human Comedy

1942 1. William Wyler, Mrs. Miniver *

2. Michael Curtiz, Yankee Doodle Dandy

3. John Farrow, Wake Island

4. Mervyn LeRoy, Random Harvest

5. Sam Wood, Kings Row

1941 1. Orson Welles, Citizen Kane *

2. John Ford, How Green Was My Valley

3. Howard Hawks, Sergeant York

4. Alexander Hall, Here Comes Mr. Jordan

5. William Wyler, The Little Foxes

1940 1. John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath *

2. Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca

3. Sam Wood, Kitty Foyle

4. George Cukor, The Philadelphia Story

5. William Wyler, The Letter

1939 1. Victor Fleming, Gone With the Wind *

2. Frank Capra, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

3. John Ford, Stagecoach

4. William Wyler, Wuthering Heights

5. Sam Wood, Goodbye, Mr. Chips

1938 1. Frank Capra, You Can’t Take it With You

2. Michael Curtiz, Angels with Dirty Faces *

3. King Vidor, The Citadel

4. Norman Taurog, Boys Town

5. Michael Curtiz, Four Daughters

1937 1. William A. Wellman, A Star is Born

2. Leo McCarey, The Awful Truth *

3. Sidney Franklin, The Good Earth

4. Gregory La Cava, Stage Door

5. William Dieterle, The Life of Emile Zola

1936 1. W. S. Van Dyke, San Francisco *

2. Robert Z. Leonard, The Great Ziegfeld

3. Frank Capra, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

4. William Wyler, Dodsworth

5. Gregory La Cava, My Man Godfrey

1935 1. John Ford, The Informer *

2. Michael Curtiz, Captain Blood (write-in)

3. Frank Lloyd, Mutiny on the Bounty

4. Henry Hathaway, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer

1934 1. W. S. Van Dyke, The Thin Man *

2. Frank Capra, It Happened One Night

3. Victor Schertzinger, One Night of Love

1932- 1933 1. Frank Lloyd, Cavalcade *

2. George Cukor, Little Women

3. Frank Capra, Lady for a Day

1931-1932 1. Frank Borzage, Bad Girl *

2. Josef von Sternberg, Shanghai Express

3. King Vidor, The Champ

1930-1931 1. Norman Taurog, Skippy *

2.Wesley Ruggles Cimarron

3. Lewis Milestone, The Front Page

4. Josef von Sternberg, Morocco

5. Clarence Brown, A Free Soul

1929-1930 1. Lewis Milestone, All Quiet on the Western Front *

2. Ernst Lubitsch, The Love Parade

3. King Vidor, Hallelujah

4. Clarence Brown, Anna Christie & Romance

5. Robert Z. Leonard, The Divorcée

1928-1929 – 1. Frank Lloyd, Weary River *

2. Frank Lloyd, The Divine Lady

3. Harry Beaumont, The Broadway Melody

4. Irving Cummings, In Old Arizona

5. Lionel Barrymore, Madame X

6. Frank Lloyd, Drag

7. Ernst Lubitsch, The Patriot (LOST) *

1927-1928, Comedy 1. Lewis Milestone, Two Arabian Nights *

2. Ted Wilde, Speedy

1927-1928, Dramatic  1. Frank Borzage, Seventh Heaven *

2. King Vidor, The Crowd

3. Herbert Brenon, Sorrell and Son

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