The Oscar for Best Director doesn’t go to … 5 legendary filmmakers

With the Academy Awards just around the corner, it’s time to talk about the “who didn’ts” — the actors who never won an Oscas, let alone received a nomination-as well as classic films that never saw Oscar gold. And there are plenty of who didn’t filmmakers. Countless legendary directors didn’t win Oscars or even earn nominations.

Martin Scorsese, who is one of the most influential, acclaimed directors of the past 50 years has only won for directing 2006’s Best Picture winner “The Departed.” Though his 1976 masterpiece “Taxi Driver” was nominated for Best Picture, he didn’t earn an Oscar nomination for Best Director. He first got his first directing nomination for his 1980 masterwork “Raging Bull,” but lost to Robert Redford for “Ordinary People.”

Scorsese has received a lot of Oscar love. As far as producing, writing and directing, he’s received 14 nominations.  And this year, he’s nominated for both director and best film for his acclaimed “The Irishman.” But going into the Oscars, it’s Sam Mendes for “1917” and Bong Joon Ho for “Parasite” who are the front runners.

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions

Here’s a look at five legendary filmmakers who never won a competitive Oscar for Best Director.

Stanley Kubrick
The visionary, influential director, who pushed the envelope, polarized audiences and critics and never shied away from controversy, is even more respected and admired since his death 21 years ago.

Among his classics: 1956’s “The Killing,” 1957’s “Paths of Glory,” 1960’s “Spartacus,” 1962’s “Lolita,” 1964’s “Dr Strangelove,” 1968’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” 1971’s “A Clockwork Orange,” 1975’s “Barry Lyndon,” 1980’s “The Shining” and 1987’s “Full Metal Jacket.”

Kubrick did earn a slew of Oscar nominations including four for Best Director: “Dr. Strangelove”–  he lost to George Cukor for “My Fair Lady”; “2001”– the Oscar went to Carol Reed for “Oliver”; “A Clockwork Orange” — William Friedkin earned the honor for “The French Connection”; -and “Barry Lyndon” — Milos Forman took home the Academy  Award for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Ironically, he did win an Oscar. Not for best picture. Not for screenplay. But for special visual effects for “2001.” Though countless people worked on the visual effects including Douglas Trumbull, Kubrick was credited as special photographic effects designer / special photographic effects director. The visual effects Oscar was the only Academy Award this masterpiece received.

Alfred Hitchcock
The Master of Suspense. The director, who thanks to his 1960 “Psycho,” rendered people too afraid to take a shower and scared to be near any creature with wings because of his 1963 hit “The Birds.”

During his 50 years career, he directed such classics as 1935’s “The 39 Steps,” 1938’s “The Lady Vanishes,” 1940’s “Rebecca” and “Foreign Correspondent,” 1941’s “Suspicion,” 1943’s “Shadow of a Doubt,” 1946’s “Notorious,” 1951’s “Strangers on a Train,” 1954’s “Rear Window,” 1955’s “To Catch a Thief,” 1958’s “Vertigo” and 1959’s “North By Northwest.

But he never won a competitive Oscar. He was nominated for Best Director for ‘Rebecca,” 1944’s “Lifeboat,” 1945’s “Spellbound,” “Rear Window” and “Psycho.” He only received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1960

The only Golden Globe he picked up was for his TV series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” which made him a star due to his acerbic and darkly funny intros and outros.

He did win the New York Film Critics honor for best director for “The Lady Vanishes’ and for some strange reason won the National Board of Review honor for his lesser 1969 thriller “Topaz.”

PREDICT the Oscar winners now; change through February 9

Ernest Lubitsch
The German-born director, who was a popular filmmaker in his homeland before he came Hollywood to make Mary Pickford’s 1923 “Rosita,” had such a deft hand with romantic comedy it was called “The Lubitsch Touch.” His pre-code comedies including 1929’s “The Love Parade,” 1931’s “The Smiling Lieutenant” and 1932’s “Trouble in Paradise” paved the way for such filmmakers as Billy Wilder, who was a writer on Lubitsch’s 1938 “Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife” and 1939’s “Ninotchka,’ had a sign in his office wall stating-“What Would Lubitsch have done?”

He directed such classics as 1934’s “The Merry Widow,” 1940’s “The Shop Around the Corner,” 1942’s “To Be Or Not to Be,” which was Carole Lombard’s last film, 1943’s “Heaven Can Wait” and 1946’s “Cluny Brown.”

But he didn’t have the Lubitsch touch when it came to Academy Awards.

Lubitsch did earn three Oscar nominations for directing for “The Love Parade,” 1930’s lost film “The Patriot” and “Heaven Can Wait.”

A few months before  his death in November, 1947, Lubitsch  received an honorary Oscar for “his distinguished contributions to the art of the motion picture.”

Howard Hawks
He discovered and made Lauren Bacall a star in 1944’s “To Have and Have Not” And Bacall ended up marrying her leading man Humphrey Bogart. He turned Marilyn Monroe into a superstar in 1953’s “Gentleman Prefer Blondes.” He gender-bendered “The Front Page” and transformed it into a sophisticated 1940 romantic comedy “His Girl Friday” with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant.

And speaking of Grant, he gave some of his best performances in Hawks’ films including 1938’s “Bringing U Baby” and my favorite Hawks’ film, 1939’ “Only Angels Have Wings” and 1949’s “I Was a Male War Bride.” Hawks and John Wayne teamed up for some iconic westerns including 1948’s “Red River,” 1959’s “Rio Bravo” and 1967’s “El Dorado.

And Gary Cooper won his first Oscar for lead actor under Hawks’ guidance for 1941’s “Sergeant York.” Yet, the only film for which he was nominated for best director was “Sergeant York,” losing to John Ford for “How Green Was My Valley.

Two years before his death in 1977, the academy gave him an honorary Oscar- “a master American filmmaker whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema.”

Jean Renoir
Master French filmmaker. A true auteur the French New Wave directors such as Francois Truffaut idolized.

In fact, his superb and moving anti-war film, 1937’s “Grand Illusion,” which was released in 1938 the U.S., was  the first foreign film to be nominated for a best film Oscar; it lost to Frank Capra’s feel-good “You Can’t Take It with You.”  Renoir emigrated here with the outbreak of World War II in Europe and though he eventually returned to filmmaking in France after the war, he still lived here entertaining actors and directors at lively soirees with his wife Dido.

Still, the director of 1939’ “Rules of the Game,” 1951’s “The River” and 1954’s “French Can-Can,” only received one competitive Oscar nomination for his 1945 rural drama “The Southerner,”

Four years before his death in 1979, Renoir received an honorary Oscar from the Academy: “A genius who, with grace, responsibility and enviable devotion through silent film, sound film, feature, documentary and television has the world’s admiration.” Renoir was not at the ceremony. Presenter Ingrid Bergman, who worked with him in 1956’s “Elena and Her Men,” accepted on his behalf.

Be sure to make your Oscar winner predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the ceremony on February 9. And join in the thrilling debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

More News from GoldDerby