The Oscar Quest: Best Directors Who Didn’t Win Best Director

Earlier today, I posted a “Best Pictures That Didn’t Win Best Picture” list, as a way for people to see some stuff that might not get as much press as the stuff that won. Of course, much of the list is populated with great films that everyone knows about. But the real point there is to show you the films that you might not recognize at first glance. The idea is: If I’m putting those films in the same category as the ones you do know, then maybe you should check them out.

Now I’m moving onto Best Director. Many of the efforts here are here because they’re great films. However, in many cases, they’re also here because the directorial effort is really strong. In fact, as I scroll down the list, I notice that all of the efforts I put on are really good in some way. These are efforts that, if you watched the films solely for their direction, you’d get quite a lot out of them, because they’re really well made. That’s how you should view this list — films to see if you want to learn what good directing is (that didn’t win an Oscar for directing).

As I said earlier when I posted the Best Pictures list, this is simply a list of all the great nominees for Oscars that never won. There’s no conjecture about whether or not it should have won — it’s simply, they were nominated, they didn’t win, they were great. Here they are:

King Vidor, The Crowd (1928)

W.S. Van Dyke, The Thin Man (1934)

Frank Lloyd, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

W.S. Van Dyke, San Francisco (1936)

William Wyler, Dodsworth (1936)

William A. Wellman, A Star is Born (1937)

Frank Capra, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

John Ford, Stagecoach (1939)

William Wyler, Wuthering Heights (1939)

Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca (1940)

Orson Welles, Citizen Kane (1941)

John Farrow, Wake Island (1942)

Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat (1944)

Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity (1944)

Clarence Brown, National Velvet (1945)

David Lean, Brief Encounter (1945)

Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

David Lean, Great Expectations (1946)

Carol Reed, The Fallen Idol (1948)

William A. Wellman, Battleground (1949)

Carol Reed, The Third Man (1949)

Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard (1950)

John Huston, The African Queen (1951)

Vincente Minnelli, An American in Paris (1951)

Cecil B. DeMille, The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Fred Zinnemann, High Noon (1953)

George Stevens, Shane (1953)

Charles Walters, Lili (1953)

Billy Wilder, Stalag 17 (1953)

William Wyler, Roman Holiday (1953)

Alfred Hitchcock Rear Window (1954)

Elia Kazan, East of Eden (1955)

Michael Anderson, Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

King Vidor, War and Peace (1956)

Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men (1957)

Stanley Kramer, The Defiant Ones (1958)

George Stevens, The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

Billy Wilder, Some Like It Hot (1959)

Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho (1960)

Fred Zinnemann, The Sundowners (1960)

Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita (1960)

Robert Rossen, The Hustler (1961)

Robert Mulligan, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Arthur Penn, The Miracle Worker (1962)

Frank Perry, David and Lisa (1962)

Federico Fellini, 8½ (1963)

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

David Lean, Doctor Zhivago (1965)

John Schlesinger, Darling (1965)

Hiroshi Teshigahara, The Woman in the Dunes (1965)

Michelangelo Antonioni, Blowup (1966)

Mike Nichols, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Arthur Penn, Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

George Roy Hill, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather (1972)

Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Sleuth (1972)

William Friedkin, The Exorcist (1973)

Roman Polanski, Chinatown (1974)

Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon (1975)

Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Sidney Lumet, Network (1976)

Alan J. Pakula, All the President’s Men (1976)

George Lucas, Star Wars (1977)

Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Alan Parker, Midnight Express (1978)

Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now (1979)

Bob Fosse, All That Jazz (1979)

David Lynch, The Elephant Man (1980)

Richard Rush, The Stunt Man (1980)

Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull (1980)

Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot (1981)

Sidney Lumet, The Verdict (1982)

Steven Spielberg, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

David Lynch, Blue Velvet (1986)

Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

Martin Scorsese, Goodfellas (1990)

Barry Levinson, Bugsy (1991)

John Singleton, Boyz N the Hood (1991)

Oliver Stone, JFK (1991)

Quentin Tarnatino, Pulp Fiction (1994)

Joel & Ethan Coen, Fargo (1996)

Curtis Hanson, L.A. Confidential (1997)

Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line (1998)

Michael Mann, The Insider (1999)

Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

David Lynch, Mulholland Drive (2001)

Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down (2001)

Martin Scorsese, Gangs of New York (2002)

Martin Scorsese, The Aviator (2006)

Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood (2007)

Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

James Cameron, Avatar (2009)

Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan (2010)

Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit (2010)

David Fincher, The Social Network (2010)

Also check out:

Best Pictures That Didn’t Win Best Picture

Best Actors Who Didn’t Win Best Actor

Best Actresses Who Didn’t Win Best Actress

Best Supporting Actors Who Didn’t Win Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actresses Who Didn’t Win Best Supporting Actress

One response

  1. Pingback: Lady Luck Productions » The Oscar Quest: Best Directors Who Didn't Win … – B+ Movie Blog

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