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
124 47
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Charlie Chaplin City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator

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2
133 64
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
100 53
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Brian De Palma Carrie, Scarface, Dressed to Kill

4
99 46
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dca1983 added Sergio Leone The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West

5
99 53
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Rob Reiner The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me

6
51 11
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Wes Anderson Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore

7
94 45
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Terry Gilliam Brazil, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 12 Monkeys

8
88 56
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Guillermo del Toro Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone, Cronos

9
65 32
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Trioxin245 added John Carpenter Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York

10
66 36
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
98 76
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Ben Affleck Argo, Gone Baby Gone, The Town

12
72 35
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Trioxin245 added John Hughes Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Home Alone

13
55 35
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Fritz Lang Metropolis, M, The Big Heat

14
51 38
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David Cronenberg The Fly, The Dead Zone, Eastern Promises

15
54 28
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Trioxin245 added George A. Romero The Silence of the Lambs, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead

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16
37 28
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Trioxin245 added Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris, Stalker, Andrei Rublev

17
41 34
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Sam Peckinpah The Wild Bunch, Major Dundee, Straw Dogs

18
16 9
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Alex Farias added Michael Haneke The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, Funny Games

19
26 5
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Abdallah Nabawy added Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

20
20 3
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Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs

21
12 8
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iandmph added Lars von Trier Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia

22
68 53
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Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave, Hunger, Shame

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

24
37 33
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Trioxin245 added Bryan Singer The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X-Men: First Class

25
20 20
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levalex88 added Takeshi Kitano Battle Royale, Fireworks, Outrage

26
41 44
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Edward Zwick Glory, Courage Under Fire, The Last Samurai

27
32 20
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Trioxin245 added John Milius Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, Conan the Barbarian

28
46 34
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Pete Docter Up, Monsters, Inc.

29
26 32
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John Cassavetes Shadows, Love Streams, Gloria

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30
32 27
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Trioxin245 added Paul Verhoeven RoboCop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers

31
5 9
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iandmph added Xavier Dolan Martyrs, Heartbeats, I Killed My Mother

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

33
30 32
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Trioxin245 added John Landis Spider-Man 2, The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Animal House

34
22 24
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Trioxin245 added Robert Bresson A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, The Devil Probably

35
25 28
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Jean-Pierre Jeunet Amélie, Delicatessen, Very Long Engagement

36
29 33
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Trioxin245 added Sam Raimi Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3

37
14 13
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Mollevangsvagen added Hans-Jürgen Syberberg Hitler: A Film from Germany, Parsifal, The Ister

38
48 60
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Spike Lee Do the Right Thing, Hoop Dreams, 4 Little Girls

39
13 24
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Alex Cox Repo Man, Sid & Nancy

40
19 24
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Trioxin245 added Clyde Geronimi Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp

41
23 31
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Trioxin245 added 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
20 28
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Joe Wright Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, Hanna

45
14 29
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Preston Sturges The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels, The Great McGinty

46
3 6
Pablo Larraín is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
1 1
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Dan Thompson added Carl Theodor Dreyer The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr, Ordet

48
12 19
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Trioxin245 added Yasujirō Ozu Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Floating Weeds

49
23 46
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Zack Snyder Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen, 300

50
3 8
Garth Davis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Directors Never Nominated for Oscars
Tenya added Garth Davis Ride