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Academy Award for Best Director - Best Director

The Academy Award for Best Directing (Best Director), usually known as the Best Director Oscar, is one of the Awards of Merit presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to directors working in the motion picture industry. While nominations for Best Director are made by members in the Academy's Directing branch, the award winners are selected by the Academy membership as a whole.

Throughout the past 85 years, AMPAS has presented a total of 86 Best Director awards to 65 different directors. At the 1st Academy Awards (1927/1928), there were two directing awards—one for "Dramatic Direction" and one for "Comedy Direction". The Comedy Direction award was eliminated the next year and, indeed, the awards have overwhelmingly favored dramatic films ever since. At both the 34th Academy Awards (1961) and the 80th Academy Awards (2007), Best Director was presented to a co-directing team, rather than to an individual director.

The earliest years of the award were marked by inconsistency and confusion. In the Academy Awards' first year, actors and others such as cinematographers were nominated for all of their films produced during the qualifying period. However, since the directing award was for "directing" rather than "best director", it honored the director in association with only a single film—thus Janet Gaynor has two Frank Borzage films listed after her Best Actress nomination, but only one of them earned Borzage a directing nomination. The second year, the directing award followed the others in listing all of a director's work during the qualifying period, resulting in Frank Lloyd being nominated for three of his films—but, even more confusingly, only one of them was listed on the final award as the film for which he won. Finally, for the 1931 awards, this confusing system was replaced by the current system in which a director is nominated for a single film.

The Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture have been very closely linked throughout their history. Of the 85 films that have been awarded Best Picture, 62 have also been awarded Best Director.[1] Only four films have won Best Picture without their directors being nominated: Wings (1927/28), Grand Hotel (1931/32), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and Argo (2012). The only two Best Director winners to win for films which did not receive a Best Picture nomination are notably during the early years; Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights (1927/28) and Frank Lloyd for The Divine Lady (1928/29).

Only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties (1976), Jane Campion for The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003), and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2009). Bigelow was the first, and to date the only, female director to win the Academy Award for Best Director.

Due to strict rules declared by the Directors Guild of America (DGA), only one individual may claim screen credit as a film's director. (This rule is designed to prevent rights and ownership issues and to eliminate lobbying for director credit by producers and actors.) However, the DGA may create an exception to this "one director per film" rule if two co-directors seeking to share director credit for a film qualify as an "established duo". In the history of the Academy Awards, established duos have been nominated for Best Director only four times: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (who won for West Side Story in 1961); Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (who were nominated for Heaven Can Wait in 1978), and Ethan & Joel Coen (who won for No Country for Old Men in 2007 and were nominated again in 2010 for True Grit).
Multiple nominations

The following 91 directors have received multiple Best Director nominations. The list is sorted by the number of total awards (with the number of total nominations listed in parentheses).

    4  : John Ford (5)
    3  : William Wyler (12)
    3  : Frank Capra (6)
    2  : Billy Wilder (8)
    2  : David Lean (7)
    2  : Fred Zinnemann (7)
    2  : Steven Spielberg (7)
    2  : Elia Kazan (5)
    2  : George Stevens (5)
    2  : Clint Eastwood (4)
    2  : Frank Lloyd (4)
    2  : Joseph L. Mankiewicz (4)
    2  : Miloš Forman (3)
    2  : Ang Lee (3)
    2  : Leo McCarey (3)
    2  : Lewis Milestone (3)
    2  : Oliver Stone (3)
    2  : Robert Wise (3)
    2  : Frank Borzage (2)
    1  : Woody Allen (7)
    1  : Martin Scorsese (7)
    1  : George Cukor (5)
    1  : Michael Curtiz (5)
    1  : John Huston (5)
    1  : Francis Ford Coppola (4)
    1  : Mike Nichols (4)
    1  : Joel Coen (3)
    1  : Bob Fosse (3)
    1  : Roman Polanski (3)
    1  : Sydney Pollack (3)
    1  : Carol Reed (3)


    1  : John Schlesinger (3)
    1  : Warren Beatty (2)
    1  : Robert Benton (2)
    1  : Bernardo Bertolucci (2)
    1  : James Cameron (2)
    1  : Ethan Coen (2)
    1  : William Friedkin (2)
    1  : Ron Howard (2)
    1  : Peter Jackson (2)
    1  : Barry Levinson (2)
    1  : Vincente Minnelli (2)
    1  : Robert Redford (2)
    1  : George Roy Hill (2)
    1  : Steven Soderbergh (2)
    1  : Norman Taurog (2)
    0  : Robert Altman (5)
    0  : Clarence Brown (5)
    0  : Alfred Hitchcock (5)
    0  : King Vidor (5)
    0  : Federico Fellini (4)
    0  : Stanley Kubrick (4)
    0  : Sidney Lumet (4)
    0  : Peter Weir (4)
    0  : Ingmar Bergman (3)
    0  : Richard Brooks (3)
    0  : Stephen Daldry (3)
    0  : James Ivory (3)
    0  : Norman Jewison (3)
    0  : Stanley Kramer (3)


    0  : Ernst Lubitsch (3)
    0  : David Lynch (3)
    0  : Arthur Penn (3)
    0  : Ridley Scott (3)
    0  : William A. Wellman (3)
    0  : Sam Wood (3)
    0  : John Boorman (2)
    0  : David Fincher (2)
    0  : Stephen Frears (2)
    0  : Lasse Hallström (2)
    0  : Roland Joffé (2)
    0  : Henry King (2)
    0  : Gregory La Cava (2)
    0  : Mike Leigh (2)
    0  : Robert Z. Leonard (2)
    0  : Joshua Logan (2)
    0  : George Lucas (2)
    0  : Terrence Malick (2)
    0  : Alan Parker (2)
    0  : Alexander Payne (2)
    0  : Otto Preminger (2)
    0  : Jason Reitman (2)
    0  : Mark Robson (2)
    0  : Robert Rossen (2)
    0  : David O. Russell (2)
    0  : Jim Sheridan (2)
    0  : Josef von Sternberg (2)
    0  : Quentin Tarantino (2)
    0  : W. S. Van Dyke (2)
    0  : Gus Van Sant (2)
    0  : Peter Yates (2)

Winners and nominees

Each Academy Award ceremony is listed chronologically below along with the winner of the Academy Award for Directing and the film associated with the award. In the column next to the winner of each award are the other nominees for best director. Following the Academy's practice, the films below are listed by the years of their Los Angeles qualifying run, which is usually (but not always) in the year of release; for example, the Oscar for Best Director of 1999 was announced during the award ceremony held in 2000.

For the first six ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned two calendar years. For example, the 2nd Academy Awards presented on April 3, 1930, recognized films that were released between August 1, 1928 and July 31, 1929. Starting with the 7th Academy Awards, held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.

In the first year only, the award was separated into Dramatic Direction and Comedy Direction.
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
1927/28 (Dramatic)     Frank Borzage
 – Seventh Heaven     Herbert Brenon – Sorrell and Son
King Vidor – The Crowd
1927/28 (Comedy)     Lewis Milestone
 – Two Arabian Knights     Ted Wilde – Speedy
1928/29     Frank Lloyd
 – The Divine Lady     Lionel Barrymore – Madame X
Harry Beaumont – The Broadway Melody
Irving Cummings – In Old Arizona
Frank Lloyd - Drag and Weary River
Ernst Lubitsch – The Patriot
1929/30     Lewis Milestone
 – All Quiet on the Western Front     Clarence Brown – Anna Christie and Romance
Robert Z. Leonard – The Divorcée
Ernst Lubitsch – The Love Parade
King Vidor – Hallelujah
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
1930/31     Norman Taurog
 – Skippy     Clarence Brown – A Free Soul
Lewis Milestone – The Front Page
Wesley Ruggles – Cimarron
Josef von Sternberg – Morocco
1931/32     Frank Borzage
 – Bad Girl     King Vidor – The Champ
Josef von Sternberg – Shanghai Express
1932/33     Frank Lloyd
 – Cavalcade     Frank Capra – Lady for a Day
George Cukor – Little Women

(The Academy also announced that Capra came in second, and Cukor last.)
1934     Frank Capra
 – It Happened One Night     Victor Schertzinger – One Night of Love
W. S. Van Dyke – The Thin Man

(The Academy also announced that Van Dyke came in second, and Schertzinger last.)
1935     John Ford
 – The Informer     Henry Hathaway – The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Frank Lloyd – Mutiny on the Bounty

(The Academy also announced that write-in candidate Michael Curtiz, for Captain Blood, came in second, and Hathaway third.)
1936     Frank Capra
 – Mr. Deeds Goes to Town     Gregory La Cava – My Man Godfrey
Robert Z. Leonard – The Great Ziegfeld
W. S. Van Dyke – San Francisco
William Wyler – Dodsworth
1937     Leo McCarey
 – The Awful Truth     William Dieterle – The Life of Emile Zola
Sidney Franklin – The Good Earth
Gregory La Cava – Stage Door
William A. Wellman – A Star Is Born
1938     Frank Capra
 – You Can't Take It with You     Michael Curtiz – Angels with Dirty Faces
Michael Curtiz – Four Daughters
Norman Taurog – Boys Town
King Vidor – The Citadel
1939     Victor Fleming
 – Gone with the Wind     Frank Capra – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
John Ford – Stagecoach
Sam Wood – Goodbye, Mr. Chips
William Wyler – Wuthering Heights
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
1940     John Ford
 – The Grapes of Wrath     George Cukor – The Philadelphia Story
Alfred Hitchcock – Rebecca
Sam Wood – Kitty Foyle
William Wyler – The Letter
1941     John Ford
 – How Green Was My Valley     Alexander Hall – Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Howard Hawks – Sergeant York
Orson Welles – Citizen Kane
William Wyler – The Little Foxes
1942     William Wyler
 – Mrs. Miniver     Michael Curtiz – Yankee Doodle Dandy
John Farrow – Wake Island
Mervyn LeRoy – Random Harvest
Sam Wood – Kings Row
1943     Michael Curtiz
 – Casablanca     Clarence Brown – The Human Comedy
Henry King – The Song of Bernadette
Ernst Lubitsch – Heaven Can Wait
George Stevens – The More the Merrier
1944     Leo McCarey
 – Going My Way     Alfred Hitchcock – Lifeboat
Henry King – Wilson
Otto Preminger – Laura
Billy Wilder – Double Indemnity
1945     Billy Wilder
 – The Lost Weekend     Clarence Brown – National Velvet
Alfred Hitchcock – Spellbound
Leo McCarey – The Bells of St. Mary's
Jean Renoir – The Southerner
1946     William Wyler
 – The Best Years of Our Lives     Clarence Brown – The Yearling
Frank Capra – It's a Wonderful Life
David Lean – Brief Encounter
Robert Siodmak – The Killers
1947     Elia Kazan
 – Gentleman's Agreement     George Cukor – A Double Life
Edward Dmytryk – Crossfire
Henry Koster – The Bishop's Wife
David Lean – Great Expectations
1948     John Huston
 – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre     Anatole Litvak – The Snake Pit
Jean Negulesco – Johnny Belinda
Laurence Olivier – Hamlet
Fred Zinnemann – The Search
1949     Joseph L. Mankiewicz
 – A Letter to Three Wives     Carol Reed – The Fallen Idol
Robert Rossen – All the King's Men
William A. Wellman – Battleground
William Wyler – The Heiress
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
1950     Joseph L. Mankiewicz
 – All About Eve     George Cukor – Born Yesterday
John Huston – The Asphalt Jungle
Carol Reed – The Third Man
Billy Wilder – Sunset Boulevard
1951     George Stevens
 – A Place in the Sun     John Huston – The African Queen
Elia Kazan – A Streetcar Named Desire
Vincente Minnelli – An American in Paris
William Wyler – Detective Story
1952     John Ford
 – The Quiet Man     Cecil B. DeMille – The Greatest Show on Earth
John Huston – Moulin Rouge
Joseph L. Mankiewicz – 5 Fingers
Fred Zinnemann – High Noon
1953     Fred Zinnemann
 – From Here to Eternity     George Stevens – Shane
Charles Walters – Lili
Billy Wilder – Stalag 17
William Wyler – Roman Holiday
1954     Elia Kazan
 – On the Waterfront     Alfred Hitchcock – Rear Window
George Seaton – The Country Girl
William A. Wellman – The High and the Mighty
Billy Wilder – Sabrina
1955     Delbert Mann
 – Marty     Elia Kazan – East of Eden
David Lean – Summertime
Joshua Logan – Picnic
John Sturges – Bad Day at Black Rock
1956     George Stevens
 – Giant     Michael Anderson – Around the World in 80 Days
Walter Lang – The King and I
King Vidor – War and Peace
William Wyler – Friendly Persuasion
1957     David Lean
 – The Bridge on the River Kwai     Joshua Logan – Sayonara
Sidney Lumet – 12 Angry Men
Mark Robson – Peyton Place
Billy Wilder – Witness for the Prosecution
1958     Vincente Minnelli
 – Gigi     Richard Brooks – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Stanley Kramer – The Defiant Ones
Mark Robson – The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Robert Wise – I Want to Live!
1959     William Wyler
 – Ben-Hur     Jack Clayton – Room at the Top
George Stevens – The Diary of Anne Frank
Billy Wilder – Some Like It Hot
Fred Zinnemann – The Nun's Story
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
1960     Billy Wilder
 – The Apartment     Jack Cardiff – Sons and Lovers
Jules Dassin – Never on Sunday
Alfred Hitchcock – Psycho
Fred Zinnemann – The Sundowners
1961     Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
 – West Side Story     Federico Fellini – La Dolce Vita
Stanley Kramer – Judgment at Nuremberg
Robert Rossen – The Hustler
J. Lee Thompson – The Guns of Navarone
1962     David Lean
 – Lawrence of Arabia     Pietro Germi – Divorce, Italian Style
Robert Mulligan – To Kill a Mockingbird
Arthur Penn – The Miracle Worker
Frank Perry – David and Lisa
1963     Tony Richardson
 – Tom Jones     Federico Fellini – 8½
Elia Kazan – America, America
Otto Preminger – The Cardinal
Martin Ritt – Hud
1964     George Cukor
 – My Fair Lady     Michael Cacoyannis – Zorba the Greek
Peter Glenville – Becket
Stanley Kubrick – Dr. Strangelove
Robert Stevenson – Mary Poppins
1965     Robert Wise
 – The Sound of Music     David Lean – Doctor Zhivago
John Schlesinger – Darling
Hiroshi Teshigahara – The Woman in the Dunes
William Wyler – The Collector
1966     Fred Zinnemann
 – A Man for All Seasons     Michelangelo Antonioni – Blowup
Richard Brooks – The Professionals
Claude Lelouch – A Man and a Woman
Mike Nichols – Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
1967     Mike Nichols
 – The Graduate     Richard Brooks – In Cold Blood
Norman Jewison – In the Heat of the Night
Stanley Kramer – Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Arthur Penn – Bonnie and Clyde
1968     Carol Reed
 – Oliver!     Anthony Harvey – The Lion in Winter
Stanley Kubrick – 2001: A Space Odyssey
Gillo Pontecorvo – The Battle of Algiers
Franco Zeffirelli – Romeo and Juliet
1969     John Schlesinger
 – Midnight Cowboy     Costa Gavras – Z
George Roy Hill – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Arthur Penn – Alice's Restaurant
Sydney Pollack – They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
1970     Franklin J. Schaffner
 – Patton     Robert Altman – MASH
Federico Fellini – Satyricon
Arthur Hiller – Love Story
Ken Russell – Women in Love
1971     William Friedkin
 – The French Connection     Peter Bogdanovich – The Last Picture Show
Norman Jewison – Fiddler on the Roof
Stanley Kubrick – A Clockwork Orange
John Schlesinger – Sunday Bloody Sunday
1972     Bob Fosse
 – Cabaret     John Boorman – Deliverance
Francis Ford Coppola – The Godfather
Joseph L. Mankiewicz – Sleuth
Jan Troell – The Emigrants
1973     George Roy Hill
 – The Sting     Ingmar Bergman – Cries and Whispers
Bernardo Bertolucci - Last Tango in Paris
William Friedkin - The Exorcist
George Lucas – American Graffiti
1974     Francis Ford Coppola
 – The Godfather Part II     John Cassavetes – A Woman Under the Influence
Bob Fosse – Lenny
Roman Polanski – Chinatown
François Truffaut – Day for Night
1975     Miloš Forman
 – One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest     Robert Altman – Nashville
Federico Fellini – Amarcord
Stanley Kubrick – Barry Lyndon
Sidney Lumet – Dog Day Afternoon
1976     John G. Avildsen
 – Rocky     Ingmar Bergman – Face to Face
Sidney Lumet – Network
Alan J. Pakula – All the President's Men
Lina Wertmüller – Seven Beauties
1977     Woody Allen
 – Annie Hall     George Lucas – Star Wars
Herbert Ross – The Turning Point
Steven Spielberg – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Fred Zinnemann – Julia
1978     Michael Cimino
 – The Deer Hunter     Woody Allen – Interiors
Hal Ashby – Coming Home
Warren Beatty & Buck Henry – Heaven Can Wait
Alan Parker – Midnight Express
1979     Robert Benton
 – Kramer vs. Kramer     Francis Ford Coppola – Apocalypse Now
Bob Fosse – All That Jazz
Édouard Molinaro – La Cage aux Folles
Peter Yates – Breaking Away
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
1980     Robert Redford
 – Ordinary People     David Lynch – The Elephant Man
Roman Polanski – Tess
Richard Rush – The Stunt Man
Martin Scorsese – Raging Bull
1981     Warren Beatty
 – Reds     Hugh Hudson – Chariots of Fire
Louis Malle – Atlantic City
Mark Rydell – On Golden Pond
Steven Spielberg – Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982     Richard Attenborough
 – Gandhi     Sidney Lumet – The Verdict
Wolfgang Petersen – Das Boot
Sydney Pollack – Tootsie
Steven Spielberg – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
1983     James L. Brooks
 – Terms of Endearment     Bruce Beresford – Tender Mercies
Ingmar Bergman – Fanny and Alexander
Mike Nichols – Silkwood
Peter Yates – The Dresser
1984     Miloš Forman
 – Amadeus     Woody Allen – Broadway Danny Rose
Robert Benton – Places in the Heart
Roland Joffé – The Killing Fields
David Lean – A Passage to India
1985     Sydney Pollack
 – Out of Africa     Héctor Babenco – Kiss of the Spider Woman
John Huston – Prizzi's Honor
Akira Kurosawa – Ran
Peter Weir – Witness
1986     Oliver Stone
 – Platoon     Woody Allen – Hannah and Her Sisters
James Ivory – A Room with a View
Roland Joffé – The Mission
David Lynch – Blue Velvet
1987     Bernardo Bertolucci
 – The Last Emperor     John Boorman – Hope and Glory
Lasse Hallström – My Life as a Dog
Norman Jewison – Moonstruck
Adrian Lyne – Fatal Attraction
1988     Barry Levinson
 – Rain Man     Charles Crichton – A Fish Called Wanda
Mike Nichols – Working Girl
Alan Parker – Mississippi Burning
Martin Scorsese – The Last Temptation of Christ
1989     Oliver Stone
 – Born on the Fourth of July     Woody Allen – Crimes and Misdemeanors
Kenneth Branagh – Henry V
Jim Sheridan – My Left Foot
Peter Weir – Dead Poets Society
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
1990     Kevin Costner
 – Dances with Wolves     Francis Ford Coppola – The Godfather Part III
Stephen Frears – The Grifters
Barbet Schroeder – Reversal of Fortune
Martin Scorsese – Goodfellas
1991     Jonathan Demme
 – The Silence of the Lambs     Barry Levinson – Bugsy
Ridley Scott – Thelma & Louise
John Singleton – Boyz n the Hood
Oliver Stone – JFK
1992     Clint Eastwood
 – Unforgiven     Robert Altman – The Player
Martin Brest – Scent of a Woman
James Ivory – Howards End
Neil Jordan – The Crying Game
1993     Steven Spielberg
 – Schindler's List     Robert Altman – Short Cuts
Jane Campion – The Piano
James Ivory – The Remains of the Day
Jim Sheridan – In the Name of the Father
1994     Robert Zemeckis
 – Forrest Gump     Woody Allen – Bullets Over Broadway
Krzysztof Kieślowski – Three Colors: Red
Robert Redford – Quiz Show
Quentin Tarantino – Pulp Fiction
1995     Mel Gibson
 – Braveheart     Mike Figgis – Leaving Las Vegas
Chris Noonan – Babe
Michael Radford – Il Postino
Tim Robbins – Dead Man Walking
1996     Anthony Minghella
 – The English Patient     Joel Coen – Fargo
Miloš Forman – The People vs. Larry Flynt
Scott Hicks – Shine
Mike Leigh – Secrets & Lies
1997     James Cameron
 – Titanic     Peter Cattaneo – The Full Monty
Atom Egoyan – The Sweet Hereafter
Curtis Hanson – L.A. Confidential
Gus Van Sant – Good Will Hunting
1998     Steven Spielberg
 – Saving Private Ryan     Roberto Benigni – Life Is Beautiful
John Madden – Shakespeare in Love
Terrence Malick – The Thin Red Line
Peter Weir – The Truman Show
1999     Sam Mendes
 – American Beauty     Lasse Hallström – The Cider House Rules
Spike Jonze – Being John Malkovich
Michael Mann – The Insider
M. Night Shyamalan – The Sixth Sense
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
2000     Steven Soderbergh
 – Traffic     Stephen Daldry – Billy Elliot
Ang Lee – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ridley Scott – Gladiator
Steven Soderbergh – Erin Brockovich
2001     Ron Howard
 – A Beautiful Mind     Robert Altman – Gosford Park
Peter Jackson – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
David Lynch – Mulholland Drive
Ridley Scott – Black Hawk Down
2002     Roman Polanski
 – The Pianist     Pedro Almodóvar – Talk to Her
Stephen Daldry – The Hours
Rob Marshall – Chicago
Martin Scorsese – Gangs of New York
2003     Peter Jackson
 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King     Sofia Coppola – Lost in Translation
Clint Eastwood – Mystic River
Fernando Meirelles – City of God
Peter Weir – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
2004     Clint Eastwood
 – Million Dollar Baby     Taylor Hackford – Ray
Mike Leigh – Vera Drake
Alexander Payne – Sideways
Martin Scorsese – The Aviator
2005     Ang Lee
 – Brokeback Mountain     George Clooney – Good Night, and Good Luck.
Paul Haggis – Crash
Bennett Miller – Capote
Steven Spielberg – Munich
2006     Martin Scorsese
 – The Departed     Clint Eastwood – Letters from Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears – The Queen
Alejandro González Iñárritu – Babel
Paul Greengrass – United 93
2007     Ethan & Joel Coen
 – No Country for Old Men     Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood
Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman – Juno
Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2008     Danny Boyle
 – Slumdog Millionaire     Stephen Daldry – The Reader
David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant – Milk
2009     Kathryn Bigelow
 – The Hurt Locker     James Cameron – Avatar
Lee Daniels – Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Jason Reitman – Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
Year     Winner
film     Nominated
2010     Tom Hooper
 – The King's Speech     Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
Ethan & Joel Coen – True Grit
David Fincher – The Social Network
David O. Russell – The Fighter
2011     Michel Hazanavicius
 – The Artist     Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
Alexander Payne – The Descendants
Martin Scorsese – Hugo
2012     Ang Lee
 – Life of Pi     Michael Haneke – Amour
David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
International presence

As the Academy Awards are based in the United States and are centered on the Hollywood film industry, the majority of Academy Award winners have been Americans. Nonetheless, there is significant international presence at the awards, as evidenced by the following list of winners of the Academy Award for Best Director.

    Australia: Mel Gibson, Tom Hooper (Gibson, a U.S. citizen, moved with his family to Australia at the age of 12. Hooper, born in the U.K., is a dual citizen of Australia and the United Kingdom as his mother was born in Australia.)
    Austria: Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann (Both Wilder and Zinnemann moved to America in their twenties and became naturalized U.S. citizens.)
    Canada: James Cameron (Cameron was applying to become a U.S. citizen.[1])
    Czech Republic: Miloš Forman (naturalized U.S. citizen since 1977)
    France: Michel Hazanavicius
    Germany: William Wyler, Mike Nichols (after moving to America in 1921, Wyler became a naturalized U.S. citizen in his twenties. Wyler was born in Alsace which was part of the German Empire then, but now is part of France. Nichols' family moved from Germany when he was eight-years old to the United States, and he became a naturalized U.S. citizen five years later in 1944.)
    Italy: Bernardo Bertolucci
    New Zealand: Peter Jackson
    Poland: Roman Polanski (also French citizenship)
    Taiwan: Ang Lee (naturalized U.S. citizen who has lived in America since 1979.)
    United Kingdom: Richard Attenborough, Danny Boyle, David Lean, Sam Mendes, Anthony Minghella, Carol Reed, Tony Richardson, John Schlesinger, and Tom Hooper

However, no director has won for a film that is entirely in a foreign language.

There have been 21 directors nominated for films entirely or significantly in a foreign (non-English) language.

    Federico Fellini (nominated for 4 films, which were all in Italian)
    Ingmar Bergman (nominated for 3 films, which were all in Swedish)
    Pietro Germi (Italian)
    Hiroshi Teshigahara (Japanese)
    Claude Lelouch (French)
    Gillo Pontecorvo (Italian-born director nominated for The Battle of Algiers, which was in French and Arabic)
    Costa Gavras (Greek-born director nominated for French-language film Z.)
    Jan Troell (Swedish)
    François Truffaut (French)
    Lina Wertmuller (Italian)
    Edouard Molinaro (French)
    Wolfgang Petersen (German)
    Akira Kurosawa (Japanese)
    Lasse Hallström (Swedish. He was also nominated for the English-language film The Cider House Rules.)
    Krzysztof Kieslowski (Polish-born director nominated for French-language film Three Colours: Red)
    Michael Radford (an English-born director nominated for the Italian-language film Il Postino.)
    Roberto Benigni (Italian)
    Ang Lee (Taiwanese-born director nominated for the Mandarin-language film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He would later win for the English-language films Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi.)
    Pedro Almodóvar (Spanish)
    Fernando Meirelles (Brazilian Portuguese)
    Clint Eastwood (an American director nominated for the Japanese-language film Letters from Iwo Jima, which has a few brief scenes in English).
    Julian Schnabel (an American director nominated for the French-language film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.)
    Michael Haneke (French)

Nominations for films primarily in English with some scenes (of a notable length) in another language include:

    Jules Dassin for Never on Sunday (Greek)
    Bernardo Bertolucci for Last Tango in Paris (French)
    Francis Coppola for The Godfather Part II (Italian) (Winner)
    Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves (Lakota and Pawnee) (Winner)
    Steven Soderbergh for Traffic (Spanish) (Winner)
    Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (fictional Elven) (winner)
    Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel (Spanish, Arabic, French, Japanese, Japanese Sign Language, Berber)
    Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (Hindi) (Winner)
    Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (French, German and Italian)
    James Cameron for Avatar (fictional Na'vi language)

Several international nominees (regardless of the language used in their respective films) include:

    Australia: Bruce Beresford, Scott Hicks, Chris Noonan and Peter Weir
    Austria: Otto Preminger, Josef von Sternberg and Michael Haneke
    Brazil: Héctor Babenco, Fernando Meirelles
    Canada: Atom Egoyan, Arthur Hiller, Norman Jewison and Jason Reitman
    Cyprus: Michael Cacoyannis
    France: Michel Hazanavicius, Claude Lelouch, Louis Malle and François Truffaut
    Germany: William Dieterle, Ernst Lubitsch, Wolfgang Petersen
    Greece: Costa Gavras
    Ireland: Jim Sheridan, Neil Jordan and Kenneth Branagh
    Italy: Roberto Benigni, Federico Fellini, Pietro Germi, Gillo Pontecorvo, Lina Wertmüller, Franco Zeffirelli and Michelangelo Antonioni
    Japan: Akira Kurosawa and Hiroshi Teshigahara
    Mexico: Alejandro González Iñárritu
    New Zealand: Jane Campion
    Poland: Krzysztof Kieślowski
    Spain: Pedro Almodóvar
    Sweden: Ingmar Bergman, Lasse Hallström and Jan Troell
    United Kingdom: Alfred Hitchcock, John Boorman, Peter Cattaneo, Charles Crichton, Stephen Daldry, Stephen Frears, Laurence Olivier, Paul Greengrass, Roland Joffé, Mike Leigh, Adrian Lyne, Hugh Hudson, Alan Parker and Ridley Scott


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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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