oscars The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars  

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List Rules Only film directors who have never had an Academy Award nomination FOR DIRECTING.

The life of a movie director can be quite exciting, extremely stressful, and completely unrewarding at times. Since the first Oscars were awarded at a small, private ceremony in 1929, directors in the Western world and beyond have sought validation through those heavy, gold statuettes. However, because only a handful of directors are nominated each year, some of history’s greatest film directors have never been properly acknowledged for their efforts, even though they made movies that we all know and love and deserved to be Academy Award winning movies.

What great directors have never been nominated for a Best Director Oscar? When we think about our favorite movies, we focus on the actors, the set, and the stories. Rarely do we think about people behind the scenes. This list includes some of the best directors of all time, from new favorites like Wes Anderson and Ben Affleck to long-gone classic auteurs like Charlie Chaplin and Fritz Lang - none of whom were ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. Though a few of the people on this list won Oscars in other categories - such as Best Screenplay or even Best Picture - they have never received an "Oscar nod" for Best Directing.

Vote up these most underrated directors who were snubbed by the Academy and who deserve recognition for their work by this distinguished award.
list ordered by

1
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Charlie Chaplin City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator

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2
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Brian De Palma Carrie, Scarface, Dressed to Kill

3
+ - 130 60
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Tim Burton Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

4
+ - 98 40
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Sergio Leone The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West

5
+ - 94 51
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Rob Reiner The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me

6
+ - 85 52
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Guillermo del Toro Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone, Cronos

7
+ - 92 43
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Terry Gilliam Brazil, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 12 Monkeys

8
+ - 47 10
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Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore

9
+ - 62 31
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John Carpenter Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York

10
+ - 97 72
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Ben Affleck Argo, Gone Baby Gone, The Town

11
+ - 62 35
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Buster Keaton The Three Ages, Seven Chances, Go West

12
+ - 68 34
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John Hughes Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Home Alone

13
+ - 55 34
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Fritz Lang Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

14
+ - 54 26
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George A. Romero The Silence of the Lambs, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead

15
+ - 48 37
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David Cronenberg The Fly, The Dead Zone, Eastern Promises

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16
+ - 18 2
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Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs

17
+ - 34 27
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Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

18
+ - 40 33
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Sam Peckinpah The Wild Bunch, Major Dundee, Straw Dogs

19
+ - 15 8
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Michael Haneke The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

20
+ - 68 50
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Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave, Hunger, Shame

21
+ - 12 8
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Lars von Trier Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

22
+ - 22 5
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Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

23
+ - 33 26
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James Whale Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Show Boat

24
+ - 37 33
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Bryan Singer The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X-Men: First Class

25
+ - 41 44
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Edward Zwick Glory, Courage Under Fire, The Last Samurai

26
+ - 19 20
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Takeshi Kitano Battle Royale, Fireworks, Outrage

27
+ - 31 20
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John Milius Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, Conan the Barbarian

28
+ - 45 34
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Pete Docter Up, Monsters, Inc.

29
+ - 26 31
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John Cassavetes Shadows, Love Streams, Gloria

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30
+ - 32 26
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Paul Verhoeven RoboCop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers

31
+ - 5 9
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Xavier Dolan Martyrs, Heartbeats, I Killed My Mother

32
+ - 30 31
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John Landis Spider-Man 2, The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House

33
+ - 23 31
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John Lee Hancock The Rookie, Saving Mr. Banks, The Blind Side

34
+ - 22 23
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Robert Bresson A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

35
+ - 25 27
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Jean-Pierre Jeunet Amélie, Delicatessen, Very Long Engagement

36
+ - 29 32
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Sam Raimi Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3

37
+ - 48 59
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Spike Lee Do the Right Thing, Hoop Dreams, 4 Little Girls

38
+ - 14 13
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Hans-Jürgen Syberberg Hitler: A Film from Germany, Parsifal, The Ister

39
+ - 13 24
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Alex Cox Repo Man, Sid & Nancy

40
+ - 19 24
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Clyde Geronimi Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp

41
+ - 23 31
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Sergei Eisenstein Battleship Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, October: Ten Days That Shook the World

42
+ - 5 7
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Don Siegel Dirty Harry, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Play Misty for Me

43
+ - 10 23
Yorgos Lanthimos is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Yorgos Lanthimos Dogtooth, Alps

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44
+ - 3 5
Pablo Larraín is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Pablo Larraín No, Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus, 4:44 Last Day on Earth

45
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Joe Wright Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, Hanna

46
+ - 14 29
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Preston Sturges The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, The Great McGinty

47
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Carl Theodor Dreyer The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet

48
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Yasujirō Ozu Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

49
+ - 23 45
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Zack Snyder Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen, 300

50
+ - 3 7
Garth Davis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars