oscars The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars  

Ranker Film
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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
127 49
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Charlie Chaplin City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator

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2
137 65
Tim Burton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Tim Burton Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

3
102 55
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Rob Reiner The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me

4
101 48
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dca1983 added Sergio Leone The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West

5
53 12
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Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore

6
100 56
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Brian De Palma Carrie, Scarface, Dressed to Kill

7
97 46
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Terry Gilliam Brazil, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 12 Monkeys

8
89 59
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Guillermo del Toro Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone, Cronos

9
67 34
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Trioxin245 added John Carpenter Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York

10
68 37
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Buster Keaton The Three Ages, Seven Chances, Go West

11
103 78
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Ben Affleck Argo, Gone Baby Gone, The Town

12
72 37
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Trioxin245 added John Hughes Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Home Alone

13
56 36
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Fritz Lang Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

14
51 40
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David Cronenberg The Fly, The Dead Zone, Eastern Promises

15
38 30
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Trioxin245 added Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

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16
54 30
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Trioxin245 added George A. Romero The Silence of the Lambs, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead

17
42 35
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Sam Peckinpah The Wild Bunch, Major Dundee, Straw Dogs

18
29 6
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Abdallah Nabawy added Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

19
17 10
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Alex Farias added Michael Haneke The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

20
21 4
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Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs

21
69 54
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Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave, Hunger, Shame

22
34 28
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James Whale Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Show Boat

23
39 35
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Trioxin245 added Bryan Singer The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X-Men: First Class

24
12 10
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iandmph added Lars von Trier Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

25
43 46
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Edward Zwick Glory, Courage Under Fire, The Last Samurai

26
20 22
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levalex88 added Takeshi Kitano Battle Royale, Fireworks, Outrage

27
47 36
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Pete Docter Up, Monsters, Inc.

28
32 22
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Trioxin245 added John Milius Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, Conan the Barbarian

29
26 34
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John Cassavetes Shadows, Love Streams, Gloria

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30
33 29
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Trioxin245 added Paul Verhoeven RoboCop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers

31
5 11
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iandmph added Xavier Dolan Martyrs, Heartbeats, I Killed My Mother

32
23 34
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John Lee Hancock The Rookie, Saving Mr. Banks, The Blind Side

33
30 34
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Trioxin245 added John Landis Spider-Man 2, The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House

34
30 34
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Trioxin245 added Sam Raimi Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3

35
22 26
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Trioxin245 added Robert Bresson A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

36
49 61
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Spike Lee Do the Right Thing, Hoop Dreams, 4 Little Girls

37
25 30
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Jean-Pierre Jeunet Amélie, Delicatessen, Very Long Engagement

38
15 14
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Mollevangsvagen added Hans-Jürgen Syberberg Hitler: A Film from Germany, Parsifal, The Ister

39
25 32
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Trioxin245 added Sergei Eisenstein Battleship Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, October: Ten Days That Shook the World

40
13 26
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Alex Cox Repo Man, Sid & Nancy

41
19 26
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Trioxin245 added Clyde Geronimi Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp

42
10 25
Yorgos Lanthimos is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Yorgos Lanthimos Dogtooth, Alps

43
5 9
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Don Siegel Dirty Harry, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Play Misty for Me

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44
20 30
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Joe Wright Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, Hanna

45
14 31
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Preston Sturges The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, The Great McGinty

46
12 20
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Trioxin245 added Yasujirō Ozu Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

47
22 35
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John Woo A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Bullet in the Head

48
3 8
Pablo Larraín is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Tenya added Pablo Larraín No, Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus, 4:44 Last Day on Earth

49
23 48
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Zack Snyder Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen, 300

50
1 3
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Dan Thompson added Carl Theodor Dreyer The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet