Best Director

This page lists all Oscar nominees for Best Director. Reviews of films on the original 1001 Films list are linked here.
As I finish each set of films for a given year and category, I will revisit those films and determine which film I think should have won and why. Those posts will be linked here as well.

Best Director
1928: Who should have won?
King Vidor: The Crowd
Frank Borzage: Seventh Heaven (winner)

Herbert Brenon: Sorrell and Son
Ted Wilde: Speedy
Lewis Milestone: Two Arabian Knights (winner)

1929: Who should have won?
Harry Beaumont: The Broadway Melody
Frank Lloyd: The Divine Lady (winner)

Frank Lloyd: Drag
Irving Cummings: In Old Arizona
Lionel Barrymore: Madame X
Ernst Lubitsch: The Patriot
Frank Lloyd: Weary River

1930: Who should have won?
Lewis Milestone: All Quiet on the Western Front (winner)
Clarence Brown: Anna Christie
Robert Z. Leonard: The Divorcee
King Vidor: Hallelujah
Ernst Lubitsch: The Love Parade
Clarence Brown: Romance

1931: Who should have won?
Wesley Ruggles: Cimarron
Clarence Brown: A Free Soul
Lewis Milestone: The Front Page
Josef von Sternberg: Morocco
Norman Taurog: Skippy (winner)

1932: Who should have won?
Frank Borzage: Bad Girl (winner)
King Vidor: The Champ
Josef von Sternberg: Shanghai Express

1933: Who should have won?
Frank Lloyd: Cavalcade (winner)
Frank Capra: Lady for a Day
George Cukor: Little Women

1934: Who should have won?
Frank Capra: It Happened One Night (winner)
Victor Schertzinger: One Night of Love
W.S. Van Dyke: The Thin Man

1935: Who should have won?
Michael Curtiz: Captain Blood (write-in candidate)
John Ford: The Informer (winner)
Henry Hathaway: The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Frank Lloyd: Mutiny on the Bounty

1936: Who should have won?
William Wyler: Dodsworth
Robert Z. Leonard: The Great Ziegfeld
Frank Capra: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (winner)
Gregory La Cava: My Man Godfrey
W.S. Van Dyke: San Francisco

1937: Who should have won?
Leo McCarey: The Awful Truth (winner)
Sidney Franklin: The Good Earth
William Dieterle: The Life of Emile Zola
Gregory La Cava: Stage Door
William A. Wellman: A Star is Born

1938: Who should have won?
Michael Curtiz: Angels with Dirty Faces
Norman Taurog: Boys Town
King Vidor: The Citadel
Michael Curtiz: Four Daughters
Frank Capra: You Can’t Take It with You (winner)

1939: Who should have won?
Victor Fleming: Gone with the Wind (winner)
Sam Wood: Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Frank Capra: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
John Ford: Stagecoach
William Wyler: Wuthering Heights

1940: Who should have won?
John Ford: The Grapes of Wrath (winner)
Sam Wood: Kitty Foyle
William Wyler: The Letter
George Cukor: The Philadelphia Story
Alfred Hitchcock: Rebecca

1941: Who should have won?
Orson Welles: Citizen Kane
Alexander Hall: Here Comes Mr. Jordan
John Ford: How Green was My Valley (winner)
William Wyler: The Little Foxes
Howard Hawks: Sergeant York

1942: Who should have won?
Sam Wood: Kings Row
William Wyler: Mrs. Miniver (winner)
Mervyn LeRoy: Random Harvest
John Farrow: Wake Island
Michael Curtiz: Yankee Doodle Dandy

1943: Who should have won?
Michael Curtiz: Casablanca (winner)
Ernst Lubitsch: Heaven Can Wait
Clarence Brown: The Human Comedy
George Stevens: The More the Merrier
Henry King: The Song of Bernadette

1944: Who should have won?
Billy Wilder: Double Indemnity
Leo McCarey: Going My Way (winner)
Otto Preminger: Laura
Alfred Hitchcock: Lifeboat
Henry King: Wilson

1945: Who should have won?
Leo McCarey: The Bells of St. Mary’s
Billy Wilder: The Lost Weekend (winner)
Clarence Brown: National Velvet
Jean Renoir: The Southerner
Alfred Hitchcock: Spellbound

1946: Who should have won?
William Wyler: The Best Years of Our Lives (winner)
David Lean: Brief Encounter
Frank Capra: It’s a Wonderful Life
Robert Siodmak: The Killers
Clarence Brown: The Yearling

1947: Who should have won?
Henry Koster: The Bishop’s Wife
Edward Dmytryk: Crossfire
George Cukor: A Double Life
Elia Kazan: Gentleman’s Agreement (winner)
David Lean: Great Expectations

1948: Who should have won?
Laurence Olivier: Hamlet
Jean Negulesco: Johnny Belinda
Fred Zinnemann: The Search
Anatole Litvak: The Snake Pit
John Huston: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (winner)

1949: Who should have won?
Robert Rossen: All the King’s Men
William A. Wellman: Battleground
Carol Reed: The Fallen Idol
William Wyler: The Heiress
Joseph L. Mankeiwicz: A Letter to Three Wives (winner)

1950: Who should have won?
Joseph L. Mankeiwicz: All About Eve (winner)
John Huston: The Asphalt Jungle
George Cukor: Born Yesterday
Billy Wilder: Sunset Boulevard
Carol Reed: The Third Man

1951: Who should have won?
John Huston: The African Queen
Vincente Minnelli: An American in Paris
William Wyler: Detective Story
George Stevens: A Place in the Sun (winner)
Elia Kazan: A Streetcar Named Desire

1952: Who should have won?
Joseph L. Mankiewicz: 5 Fingers
Cecil B. DeMille: The Greatest Show on Earth
Fred Zinnemann: High Noon
John Huston: Moulin Rouge
John Ford: The Quiet Man (winner)

1953: Who should have won?
Fred Zinnemann: From Here to Eternity (winner)
Charles Walters: Lili
William Wyler: Roman Holiday
George Stevens: Shane
Billy Wilder: Stalag 17

1954: Who should have won?
George Seaton: The Country Girl
William A. Wellman: The High and the Mighty
Elia Kazan: On the Waterfront (winner)
Alfred Hitchcock: Rear Window
Billy Wilder: Sabrina

1955: Who should have won?
John Sturges: Bad Day at Black Rock
Elia Kazan: East of Eden
Delbert Mann: Marty (winner)
Joshua Logan: Picnic
David Lean: Summertime

1956: Who should have won?
Michael Anderson: Around the World in 80 Days
William Wyler: Friendly Persuasion
George Stevens: Giant (winner)
Walter Lang: The King and I
King Vidor: War and Peace

1957: Who should have won?
Sidney Lumet: 12 Angry Men
David Lean: The Bridge on the River Kwai (winner)
Mark Robson: Peyton Place
Joshua Logan: Sayonara
Billy Wilder: Witness for the Prosecution

1958: Who should have won?
Richard Brooks: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Stanley Kramer: The Defiant Ones
Vincente Minnelli: Gigi (winner)
Robert Wise: I Want to Live!
Mark Robson: Inn of the Sixth Happiness

1959: Who should have won?
William Wyler: Ben-Hur (winner)
George Stevens: Diary of Anne Frank
Fred Zinnemann: The Nun’s Story
Jack Clayton: Room at the Top
Billy Wilder: Some Like it Hot

1960: Who should have won?
Billy Wilder: The Apartment (winner)
Jules Dassin: Never on Sunday
Alfred Hitchcock: Psycho
Jack Cardiff: Sons and Lovers
Fred Zinnemann: The Sundowners

1961: Who should have won?
Federico Fellini: La Dolce Vita
J. Lee Thompson: The Guns of Navarone
Robert Rossen: The Hustler
Stanley Kramer: Judgment at Nuremberg
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins: West Side Story (winner)

1962: Who should have won?
Frank Perry: David and Lisa
Pietro Germi: Divorce, Italian Style
David Lean: Lawrence of Arabia (winner)
Arthur Penn: The Miracle Worker
Robert Mulligan: To Kill a Mockingbird

1963: Who should have won?
Federico Fellini: 8 1/2
Elia Kazan: America, America
Otto Preminger: The Cardinal
Martin Ritt: Hud
Tony Richardson: Tom Jones (winner)

1964: Who should have won?
Peter Glenville: Becket
Stanley Kubrick: Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Robert Stevenson: Mary Poppins
George Cukor: My Fair Lady (winner)
Michael Cacoyannis: Zorba the Greek

1965: Who should have won?
William Wyler: The Collector
John Schlesinger: Darling
David Lean: Doctor Zhivago
Robert Wise: The Sound of Music (winner)
Hiroshi Teshigahara: The Woman in the Dunes

1966: Who should have won?
Michaelangelo Antonioni: Blowup
Claude Lelouch: A Man and a Woman
Fred Zinnemann: A Man for All Seasons (winner)
Richard Brooks: The Professionals
Mike Nichols: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1967: Who should have won?
Arthur Penn: Bonnie and Clyde
Mike Nichols: The Graduate (winner)
Stanley Kramer: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Richard Brooks: In Cold Blood
Norman Jewison: In the Heat of the Night

1968: Who should have won?
Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Gillo Pontecorvo: The Battle of Algiers
Anthony Harvey: The Lion in Winter
Carol Reed: Oliver! (winner)
Franco Zeffirelli: Romeo and Juliet

1969: Who should have won?
Arthur Penn: Alice’s Restaurant
George Roy Hill: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
John Schlesinger: Midnight Cowboy (winner)
Sydney Pollack: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
Costa Gavras: Z

1970: Who should have won?
Arthur Hiller: Love Story
Robert Altman: M*A*S*H
Franklin J. Schaffner: Patton (winner)
Federico Fellini: Satyricon
Ken Russell: Women in Love

1971: Who should have won?
Stanley Kubrick: A Clockwork Orange
Norman Jewison: Fiddler on the Roof
William Friedkin: The French Connection (winner)
Peter Bogdanovich: The Last Picture Show
John Schlesinger: Sunday Bloody Sunday

1972: Who should have won?
Bob Fosse: Cabaret (winner)
John Boorman: Deliverance
Jan Troell: The Emigrants
Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather
Joseph L. Mankiewicz: Sleuth

1973: Who should have won?
George Lucas: American Graffiti
Ingmar Bergman: Cries and Whispers
William Friedkin: The Exorcist
Bernardo Bertolucci: Last Tango in Paris
George Roy Hill: The Sting (winner)

1974: Who should have won?
Roman Polanski: Chinatown
Francois Truffaut: Day for Night
Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather Part II (winner)
Bob Fosse: Lenny
John Cassavetes: A Woman Under the Influence

1975: Who should have won?
Federico Fellini: Amarcord
Stanley Kubrick: Barry Lyndon
Sidney Lumet: Day Afternoon
Robert Altman: Nashville
Milos Forman: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (winner)

1976: Who should have won?
Alan J. Pakula: All the President’s Men
Ingmar Bergman: Face to Face
Sidney Lumet: Network
John G. Avildsen: Rocky (winner)
Lina Wertmuller: Seven Beauties

1977: Who should have won?
Woody Allen: Annie Hall (winner)
Steven Spielberg: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Fred Zinnemann: Julia
George Lucas: Star Wars
Herbert Ross: The Turning Point

1978: Who should have won?
Hal Ashby: Coming Home
Michael Cimino: The Deer Hunter (winner)
Warren Beatty and Buck Henry: Heaven Can Wait
Woody Allen: Interiors
Alan Parker: Midnight Express

1979: Who should have won?
Bob Fosse: All That Jazz
Francis Ford Coppola: Apocalypse Now
Peter Yates: Breaking Away
Edouard Molinaro: La Cage aux Folles
Robert Benton: Kramer vs. Kramer (winner)

1980: Who should have won?
David Lynch: The Elephant Man
Robert Redford: Ordinary People (winner)
Martin Scorsese: Raging Bull
Richard Rush: The Stunt Man
Roman Polanski: Tess

1981: Who should have won?
Louis Malle: Atlantic City
Hugh Hudson: Chariots of Fire
Mark Rydell: On Golden Pond
Steven Spielberg: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Warren Beatty: Reds (winner)

1982: Who should have won?
Wolfgang Petersen: Das Boot
Steven Spielberg: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Richard Attenborough: Gandhi (winner)
Sydney Pollack: Tootsie
Sidney Lumet: The Verdict

1983: Who should have won?
Peter Yates: The Dresser
Ingmar Bergman: Fanny and Alexander
Mike Nichols: Silkwood
Bruce Beresford: Tender Mercies
James L. Brooks: Terms of Endearment (winner)

1984: Who should have won?
Milos Forman: Amadeus (winner)
Woody Allen: Broadway Danny Rose
Roland Joffe: The Killing Fields
David Lean: A Passage to India
Robert Benton: Places in the Heart

1985: Who should have won?
Hector Babenco: Kiss of the Spider Woman
Sydney Pollack: Out of Africa (winner)
John Huston: Prizzi’s Honor
Akira Kurosawa: Ran
Peter Weir: Witness

1986: Who should have won?
David Lynch: Blue Velvet
Woody Allen: Hannah and Her Sisters
Roland Joffe: The Mission
Oliver Stone: Platoon (winner)
James Ivory: A Room with a View

1987: Who should have won?
Adrian Lyne: Fatal Attaction
John Boorman: Hope and Glory
Bernardo Bertolucci: The Last Emperor (winner)
Norman Jewison: Moonstruck
Lasse Hallstrom: My Life as a Dog

1988: Who should have won?
Charles Crichton: A Fish Called Wanda
Martin Scorsese: The Last Temptation of Christ
Alan Parker: Mississippi Burning
Barry Levinson: Rain Man (winner)
Mike Nichols: Working Girl

1989: What should have won?
Oliver Stone: Born on the Fourth of July (winner)
Woody Allen: Crimes and Misdemeanors
Peter Weir: Dead Poets Society
Kenneth Branagh: Henry V
Jim Sheridan: My Left Foot

1990: Who should have won?
Kevin Costner: Dances with Wolves (winner)
Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather Part III
Martin Scorsese: Goodfellas
Stephen Frears: The Grifters
Barbet Schroeder: Reversal of Fortune

1991: Who should have won?
John Singleton: Boyz n the Hood
Barry Levinson: Bugsy
Oliver Stone: JFK
Jonathan Demme: The Silence of the Lambs (winner)
Ridley Scott: Thelma & Louise

1992: Who should have won?
Neil Jordan: The Crying Game
James Ivory: Howard’s End
Robert Altman: The Player
Martin Brest: Scent of a Woman
Clint Eastwood: Unforgiven (winner)

1993: Who should have won?
Jim Sheridan: In the Name of the Father
Jane Campion: The Piano
James Ivory: The Remains of the Day
Steven Spielberg: Schindler’s List (winner)
Robert Altman: Short Cuts

1994: Who should have won?
Woody Allen: Bullets Over Broadway
Robert Zemeckis: Forrest Gump (winner)
Quentin Tarantino: Pulp Fiction
Robert Redford: Quiz Show
Krzysztof Kieslowski: Three Colors: Red

1995: Who should have won?
Chris Noonan: Babe
Mel Gibson: Braveheart (winner)
Tim Robbins: Dead Man Walking
Mike Figgis: Leaving Las Vegas
Michael Radford: Il Postino

1996: What should have won?
Anthony Minghella: The English Patient (winner)
Joel Coen: Fargo
Milos Forman: The People vs. Larry Flynt
Mike Leigh: Secrets & Lies
Scott Hicks: Shine

1997: Who should have won?
Peter Cattaneo: The Full Monty
Gus Van Sant: Good Will Hunting
Curtis Hanson: L.A. Confidential
Atom Egoyan: The Sweet Hereafter
James Cameron: Titanic (winner)

1998: Who should have won?
Roberto Benigni: Life is Beautiful
Steven Spielberg: Saving Private Ryan (winner)
John Madden: Shakespeare in Love
Terrence Malick: The Thin Red Line
Peter Weir: The Truman Show

1999: Who should have won?
Sam Mendes: American Beauty (winner)
Spike Jonze: Being John Malkovich
Lasse Hallstrom: The Cider House Rules
Michael Mann: The Insider
M. Night Shyamalan: The Sixth Sense

2000: Who should have won?
Stephen Daldry: Billy Elliot
Ang Lee: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Steven Soderbergh: Erin Brockovich
Ridley Scott: Gladiator
Steven Soderbergh: Traffic (winner)

2001: Who should have won?
Ron Howard: A Beautiful Mind (winner)
Ridley Scott: Black Hawk Down
Robert Altman: Gosford Park
Peter Jackson: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
David Lynch: Mulholland Drive

2002: Who should have won?
Rob Marshall: Chicago
Martin Scorsese: Gangs of New York
Stephen Daldry: The Hours
Roman Polanski: The Pianist (winner)
Pedro Almodovar: Talk to Her

2003: Who should have won?
Fernando Meirelles: City of God
Peter Jackson: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (winner)
Sofia Coppola: Lost in Translation
Peter Weir: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Clint Eastwood: Mystic River

2004: Who should have won?
Martin Scorsese: The Aviator
Clint Eastwood: Million Dollar Baby (winner)
Taylor Hackford: Ray
Alexander Payne: Sideways
Mike Leigh: Vera Drake

2005: Who should have won?
Ang Lee: Brokeback Mountain (winner)
Bennett Miller: Capote
Paul Haggis: Crash
George Clooney: Good Night and Good Luck
Steven Spielberg: Munich

2006: Who should have won?
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: Babel
Martin Scorsese: The Departed (winner)
Clint Eastwood: Letters from Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears: The Queen
Paul Greengrass: United 93

2007: Who should have won?
Julian Schnabel: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Jason Reitman: Juno
Tony Gilroy: Michael Clayton
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen: No Country for Old Men (winner)
Paul Thomas Anderson: There Will Be Blood

2008: Who should have won?
David Fincher: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard: Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant: Milk
Stephen Daldry: The Reader
Danny Boyle: Slumdog Millionaire (winner)

2009: Who should have won?
James Cameron: Avatar
Kathryn Bigelow: The Hurt Locker (winner)
Quentin Tarantino: Inglourious Basterds
Lee Daniels: Precious
Jason Reitman: Up in the Air

2010: Who should have won?
Darren Aronofsky: Black Swan
David O. Russell: The Fighter
Tom Hooper: The King’s Speech (winner)
David Fincher: The Social Network
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen: True Grit

2011: Who should have won?
Michel Hazanavicius: The Artist (winner)
Alexander Payne: The Descendants
Martin Scorsese: Hugo
Woody Allen: Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick: The Tree of Life

2012: Who should have won?
Michael Haneke: Amour
Benh Zeitlin: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ang Lee: Life of Pi (winner)
Steven Spielberg: Lincoln
David O. Russell: Silver Linings Playbook

2013: Who should have won?
Steve McQueen: 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell: American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron: Gravity (winner)
Alexander Payne: Nebraska
Martin Scorsese: The Wolf of Wall Street

2014: Who should have won?
Alejandro Gozalez Inarritu: Birdman (winner)
Richard Linklater: Boyhood
Bennett Miller: Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum: The Imitation Game

2015: Who should have won?
Adam McKay: The Big Short
George Miller: Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: The Revenant (winner)
Lenny Abrahamson: Room
Tom McCarthy: Spotlight

2016: Who should have won?
Denis Villeneuve: Arrival
Mel Gibson: Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle: La La Land (winner)
Kenneth Lonergan: Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins: Moonlight

2017: Who should have won?
Christopher Nolan: Dunkirk
Jordan Peele: Get Out
Greta Gerwig: Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson: Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro: The Shape of Water (winner)

2018: Who should have won?
Spike Lee: BlacKkKlansman
Pawel Pawlikowski: Cold War
Yorgos Lanthimos: The Favourite
Alfonso Cuaron: Roma (winner)
Adam McKay: Vice

2019: Who should have won?
Sam Mendes: 1917
Martin Scorsese: The Irishman
Todd Phillips: Joker
Quentin Tarantino: Once Upon a Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho: Parasite (winner)

2020: Who should have won?
Thomas Vinterberg: Another Round
David Fincher: Mank
Lee Isaac Chung: Minari
Chloe Zhao: Nomadland (winner)
Emerald Fennell: Promising Young Woman

2021: Who should have won?
Kenneth Branagh: Belfast
Ryusuke Hamaguchi: Drive My Car
Paul Thomas Anderson: Licorice Pizza
Jane Campion: The Power of the Dog (winner)
Steven Spielberg: West Side Story

Martin McDonagh: The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert: Everything Everywhere All at Once (winners)
Steven Spielberg: The Fabelmans
Todd Field: TÁR
Ruben Östlund: Triangle of Sadness

Justine Triet: Anatomy of a Fall
Martin Scorsese: Killers of the Flower Moon
Christopher Nolan: Oppenheimer (winner)
Yorgos Lanthimos: Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer: The Zone of Interest

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