The best female directors include an Academy Award winner, members of Hollywood's royal families, and a whole bunch of ladies who make beautiful things happen when they're behind the camera. Though women might be the minority among the greatest directors in movie history, they are not any less talented than male directors, and are behind the best movies directed by women. Who is the best female director?
It's hard to argue against Kathryn Bigelow as a top pick for the best female director of all time. For her work on The Hurt Locker in 2009, she became the first woman to take home the prized Oscar for Best Director. Bigelow proved herself as no one-trick pony in 2012 when she received numerous accolades for her direction of Zero Dark Thirty.
Bigelow's Oscar buzz was easily the most mainstream of any female director in the recent past, but she surely isn't the first female director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. In 1976, Lina Wertmuller received a nomination for Seven Beauties; in 1993, Jane Champion was nominated for The Piano; and in 2003, Sofia Coppola, daughter of the great Francis Ford Coppola, was up for the award for Lost in Translation.
But for every Oscar-nominated female director, there are dozens right behind also creating great movies. Isa Lupino, Patty Jenkins, Penny Marshall, Nora Ephron, Nancy Meyers, and Amy Heckerling are just a few of those names and each directing poignant and quality films on a regular basis. Including American female film directors and more, this list of great women in directing has them all.
Vote for the best woman directors in Hollywood. Feel free to add any good female directors missing from the list. Only women who directed movies are qualified.
- 4223Miriam Leder (born January 26, 1952) is an American film and television director and producer... more
- 7133Thea Gabriele von Harbou (27 December 1888 – 1 July 1954) was a German screenwriter, novelist,... more
- 4930Ida Lupino (4 February 1918 – 3 August 1995) was an English-American actress, singer,... more
- 6148Penelope Spheeris (born December 2, 1945 or 1946; sources differ) is an American film... more
- 121Susan Seidelman (born December 11, 1952) is an American film director, producer and writer.... more
- 4550Mira Nair (born 15 October 1957) is an Indian-American filmmaker based in New York City. Her... more
- 3737Nikola Jean Caro (born 1967) is a New Zealand film director and screenwriter. Her 2002 film... more
- 7763Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl (German: [ˈʁiːfn̩ʃtaːl]; 22 August 1902 – 8 September... more
- 5945Marjane Satrapi (Persian: مرجان ساتراپی) (born 22 November 1969) is an Iranian-born French... more
- 7674Nancy Jane Meyers (born December 8, 1949) is an American film director, producer and... more
- 4020Ana Lily Amirpour is an Iranian-American film director, screenwriter, producer and actor. She... more
- 3539Elizabeth Banks (born February 10, 1974) is an American actress, director, writer, and... more
- 5855Lone Scherfig (born 2 May 1959) is a Danish film director and screenwriter who has been... more
- 3127Tamara Jenkins (born May 2, 1962) is an American screenwriter, film director, and occasional... more
- 5238Dorothy Emma Arzner (January 3, 1897 – October 1, 1979) was an American film director whose... more
- 3021Dee Rees is a film director and a screenwriter.... more
- 3429Jennifer Lee is an actress, film producer, and talent manager.... more
- 6780Drew Blythe Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) is an American actress, producer, director,... more
- 2730Miranda July (born Miranda Jennifer Grossinger; February 15, 1974) is an American film... more
- 3934Elaine Iva May (née Berlin; born April 21, 1932) is an American comedienne, screenwriter,... more
- 3836Chantal Anne Akerman (French: [akɛʁman]; 6 June 1950 – 5 October 2015) was a Belgian film... more
- 4234Anne Fontaine (born Anne-Fontaine Sibertin-Blanc; 15 July 1959) is a Luxembourger film... more
- 4532Kira Heorhiyivna Muratova (Ukrainian: Кіра Георгіївна Мура́това; née Korotkova, 5 November... more
- 3326Gurinder Chadha, (born 10 January 1960) is an English film director of Indian origin. Most of... more
- 4547Barbara Joan "Barbra" Streisand (born April 24, 1942) is an American singer, actress, and... more