While lately we’ve seen splits between Best Director and Best Picture at the Oscars, the 1990s were full of the awards being paired together. In fact, there was only one instance in 10 years that there was a split — the infamous “Shakespeare in Love” vs. “Saving Private Ryan” year. Additionally, there are many well-known directors who won this category in the ’90s, including a pair of actors turned directors.
So which Best Director of the ’90s is your favorite? Look back on the winners and vote in our poll below! (See 2018 Oscar predictions for Best Director.)
Kevin Costner, “Dances with Wolves” (1990) — Kevin Costner won Best Director for his directorial debut, “Dances with Wolves.” He also plays the lead character in the film, Lieutenant John J. Dunbar, for which he was nominated for Best Actor. Costner won another Oscar as a producer on “Dances with Wolves” when the film won Best Picture.
Jonathan Demme, “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) — Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs” is the last film to win the “Big Five” awards, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay. This was Demme’s only nomination and win at the Oscars.
Clint Eastwood, “Unforgiven” (1992) — Clint Eastwood made “Unforgiven” his final western movie, and it paid off for him, winning both Best Picture and Best Director. He repeated these victories in 2004 with “Million Dollar Baby,” and has earned both nominations for “Mystic River” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” with an additional Best Picture nomination for “American Sniper.”
Steven Spielberg, “Schindler’s List” (1993) — Steven Spielberg finally won his Oscar with World War II drama “Schindler’s List,” also winning for Best Picture as a producer. He has six other nominations for Best Director, for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” (1982), “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), “Munich” (2005) and “Lincoln” (2012).
Robert Zemeckis, “Forrest Gump” (1994) — Robert Zemeckis won Best Director for “Forrest Gump,” which featured some revolutionary visual effects work to insert its titular character into moments of American history. While this was his only nomination and win in Best Director, Zemeckis was previously nominated for Best Original Screenplay with Bob Dale for “Back to the Future” (1985).
Mel Gibson, “Braveheart” (1995) — Mel Gibson’s win was similar to Costner’s, directing and acting in the film, though “Braveheart” was not Gibson’s directorial debut. He also won Best Picture with his fellow producers on the film. Gibson was nominated for Best Director just last year with “Hacksaw Ridge.”
Anthony Minghella, “The English Patient” (1996) — Anthony Minghella is the only writer-director to win both categories in the ’90s. This was part of a big sweep for “The English Patient,” which won nine Oscars. Minghella was later nominated for writing “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999) and earned a producing nod when “The Reader” (2008) was nominated for Best Picture.
James Cameron, “Titanic” (1997) — Like “The English Patient,” James Cameron led the sweep of “Titanic,” which won a record 11 Oscars. Cameron won three Oscars that night, for Best Picture, Director and Film Editing. He would be nominated for the same three awards 12 years later for “Avatar” (2009).
Steven Spielberg, “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) — Spielberg winning for “Saving Private Ryan” was the only case of a Director-Picture split this decade, with “Shakespeare in Love” winning the top prize. In addition to Spielberg’s directing nominations he has earned several in Best Picture, for “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial,” “The Color Purple,” “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Munich,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “War Horse,” “Lincoln,” “Bridge of Spies” and this year with “The Post.”
Sam Mendes, “American Beauty” (1999) — Previously known for his theater work, Sam Mendes proved himself with his directorial debut, “American Beauty,” winning Best Director while the film itself won Best Picture. This is Mendes’ only appearance at the Oscars, though he earned a Golden Globe nomination for “Revolutionary Road.”
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.