All five of this year’s nominees for Best Director are looking for their first Oscar win. The lucky recipient will join the illustrious list of 69 filmmakers that have won in this category since the first Oscars were handed out in May of 1929. We have compiled the definitive gallery of every Best Director winner in the 89-year history of the Academy Awards, from the first year — which had two recipients — to reigning champ Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”). Click through our detailed Best Director photo gallery above.
At the inaugural Oscar ceremony, two directors were honored– one for comedy (Lewis Milestone for “Two Arabian Nights”) and one for drama (Frank Borzage for “7th Heaven”); the practice was discontinued after the first year. On four occasions, a single director has scored multiple nominations in a single year, the most recent being Steven Soderbergh, who earned noms in 2000 for “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic,” winning for the latter.
John Ford holds the record for the most Best Director wins with four: 1935’s “The Informer,” 1940’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” 1941’s “How Green Was My Valley,” and 1952’s “The Quiet Man.” William Wyler, himself a three-time winner, holds the record for most nominations with 12 bids. And in recent years, we’ve seen multiple records broken. Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu is the first director since 1950 to win back-to-back Oscars — for “Birdman” (2014) and “The Revenant” (2015). Last year, Chazelle became the youngest director at age 32 to win in this category, breaking a record that had been established in 1931.
This year’s nominees could certainly make some history of their own. Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) would become the first black director to ever win in this category, while Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) would be only the second winning female director. Will they triumph over fellow nominees Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”), Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”) and Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”)? We’ll find out when the Oscars are handed out March 4 on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
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.