Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Best Director: A Complete List of Winners

Orson Welles scored consecutive wins.

On Friday, I'll begin posting full lineups of each category I've done for my Decades feature. I'll be posting them by year, and I'll post a lineup from a different decade each week. (But more on that later.)  In addition to those categories, I wanted to add Best Director to the lineup, so here's all of my winners. Most match my Best Picture winners, but those that do not are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Jean Renoir

1930: Jean Cocteau, The Blood of a Poet*
1931: Charlie Chaplin, City Lights
1932: Raymond Bernard, Wooden Crosses*
1933: Fritz Lang, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse*
1934: Frank Capra, It Happened One Night
1935: Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps
1936: Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times
1937: Leo McCarey, The Awful Truth
1938: Jean Renoir, Grand Illusion
1939: Jean Renoir, The Rules of the Game

Billy Wilder

1940: John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath*
1941: Orson Welles, Citizen Kane*
1942: Orson Welles, The Magnificent Ambersons
1943: Michael Curtiz, Casablanca
1944: Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity
1945: David Lean, Brief Encounter
1946: Alfred Hitchcock, Notorious
1947: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Black Narcissus
1948: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, The Red Shoes
1949: Carol Reed, The Third Man

Alfred Hitchcock

1950: Billy Wilder, Sunset Blvd.
1951: Elia Kazan, A Streetcar Named Desire*
1952: Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, Singin' in the Rain
1953: Yasujirô Ozu, Tokyo Story*
1954: Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai*
1955: Charles Laughton, The Night of the Hunter
1956: George Stevens, Giant
1957: Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal
1958: Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo
1959: Howard Hawks, Rio Bravo

Ingmar Bergman

1960: Billy Wilder, The Apartment
1961: Jean-Luc Godard, A Woman Is a Woman*
1962: Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan's Childhood*
1963: Federico Fellini, 8 1/2*
1964: Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove
1965: David Lean, Doctor Zhivago
1966: Ingmar Bergman, Persona
1967: Mike Nichols, The Graduate
1968: Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey
1969: Sergio Leone, Once Upon a Time in the West

Stanley Kubrick

1970: Roy Andersson, A Swedish Love Story
1971: William Friedkin, The French Connection
1972: Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather
1973: Ingmar Bergman, Cries and Whispers
1974: Roman Polanski, Chinatown
1975: Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon
1976: Alan J. Pakula, All the President's Men
1977: Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
1978: Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter
1979: Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now*

Krzysztof Kieslowski

1980: Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull
1981: Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982: Ridley Scott, Blade Runner
1983: Ingmar Bergman, Fanny and Alexander
1984: Sergio Leone, Once Upon a Time in America
1985: Martin Scorsese, After Hours
1986: Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters
1987: Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket
1988: Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ*
1989: Krzysztof Kieslowski, The Decalogue

Terrence Malick

1990: Abbas Kiarostami, Close-Up
1991: Leos Carax, The Lovers on the Bridge
1992: Jim Jarmusch, Night on Earth*
1993: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Three Colors: Blue
1994: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Three Colors: Red
1995: Martin Scorsese, Casino
1996: Danny Boyle, Trainspotting
1997: Curtis Hanson, L.A. Confidential
1998: Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line
1999: Stanley Kubrick, Eyes Wide Shut

Michael Haneke

2000: Michael Haneke, Code Unknown
2001: Steven Spielberg, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
2002: Paul Greengrass, Bloody Sunday*
2003: Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation
2004: Richard Linklater, Before Sunset
2005: Michael Haneke, Caché
2006: Alfonso Cuarón, Children of Men
2007: Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2008: Martin McDonagh, In Bruges
2009: Olivier Assayas, Summer Hours

Martin Scorsese

2010: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
2011: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
2012: Leos Carax, Holy Motors

Here are some interesting statistics:

Most wins: Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese (5)

Most consecutive decades with a win: Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick (4)

Most wins in a decade: Martin Scorsese (3 in the 1980s)

Consecutive winners: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, Jean Renoir, and Orson Welles

Number of Best Picture/Best Director splits: 15

*This post was updated on 10/14/14.*


  1. A list that reflects how you diversify your viewing, watching old and new. (something I'm trying to get better at doing).
    Nice to see love for Leos Carax for Lovers on the Bridge (1991), hopefully adding him here will encourage more people to check out that under-appreciated film.

    1. Thanks, Chris. I try to watch a little bit of everything each month.

      I hope so. Since it's currently in my top 10, I'd love it if more people saw it.

  2. "Casablanca" was '42, it's not eligible to win in '43.

    1. Well, Casablanca won the Oscar for '43, despite a late '42 NYC premiere. So, I consider it a '43 release. Also, The Passion of Anna, for instance, was released in '69, but its U.S. release date was in '70.

      As you can see, my classification system is all over the place. Sometimes I use a foreign release date, and other times I use a U.S. date.

  3. This is amazing, Josh!! I see you had Lawrence of Arabia here, yay! I need to see Dr Zhivago next. I also still need to catch up on more of Lean's work, as well as Billy Wilder's. Oh I've been wanting to see It Happened One Night for ages, too.

    Out of the contemporary films, I LOVE that you included Hanson for L.A. Confidential and Malick, The Thin Red Line, both are astounding!

    1. Thanks, Ruth! Yeah, Lean wins Director for Lawrence, but I slightly prefer Bergman's Winter Light for Best Picture that year. Ooh, definitely check out Doctor Zhivago, more Wilder, and It Happened One Night.

      Those are two of my favorite films. Glad you approve!

  4. Love this. Great to see Bergman, Marty, and Kubrick here so prominently. More recently, I loved your choices of Haneke, Lunklater, and McDonagh. Spirited picks there!

    1. Thanks man. The weirdest thing for me is that I'd give Marty 7 wins, but not one for Taxi Driver. Glad you like those recent picks. Dig the work those guys did.

  5. This is pretty extraordinary to look at! You can definitely tell you put a lot of work into it. Great job! (and great picks!)

  6. This post is beautifully done and a great resource. Like Chris, I love your eclectic movie viewing habits. You are definitely one of the most knowledgeable movie writers around.

    1. Wow, thanks! You're too kind. There are a lot of movie bloggers who are more knowledgeable than I, but I'm flattered you think so.

  7. So cool that Aronofsky is your winner for Black Swan!