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.
- 284149Sofia Carmina Coppola (; born May 14, 1971) is an American screenwriter, director, producer,... more
- 19290Carole Penny Marshall (October 15, 1943 – December 17, 2018) was an American actress,... more
- 17987Patricia Lea Jenkins (born July 24, 1971) is an American film and television director and... more
- 284130Kathryn Ann Bigelow (; born November 27, 1951) is an American film director, producer, and... more
- 10824Greta Celeste Gerwig (born August 4, 1983) is an American actress, screenwriter and film... more
- 11050Lynne Ramsay (born 5 December 1969) is a Scottish film director, writer, producer, and... more
- 12080Amy Heckerling (born May 7, 1954) is an American film director. An alumna of both New York... more
- 11582Alicia Christian "Jodie" Foster (born November 19, 1962) is an American actress, director, and... more
Jane CampionThe Piano, The Portrait of a LadyDame Elizabeth Jane Campion (born 30 April 1954) is a New Zealand screenwriter, producer, and... more
- 11156Agnès Varda (French: [aɲɛs vaʁda]; 30 May 1928 – 29 March 2019) was a Belgian-born French film... more
- 7548Kimberly Ane Peirce (born September 8, 1967) is an American filmmaker best known for her debut... more
- 13368Mary Harron is a Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter. She gained recognition for her role in... more
- 5535Kelly Reichardt (; born March 3, 1964) is an American screenwriter and film director. She is... more
- 6547Debra Granik (born February 6, 1963) is an American filmmaker. She is most known for 2004's... more
- 15199Nora Ephron ( EF-rən; May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012) was an American journalist, writer, and... more
- 8269Sarah Ellen Polley (born January 8, 1979) is a Canadian actress, writer, director, producer... more
- 9264Julie Taymor (born December 15, 1952) is an American director and writer of theater, opera and... more
- 4829Gillian May Armstrong (born 18 December 1950) is an award-winning Australian feature film and... more
- 6636Lina Wertmüller (Italian: [ˈliːna vertˈmyller, -mul-]; born 14 August 1928) is an Italian... more
Ava DuVernayA Wrinkle in Time, SelmaAva Marie DuVernay (; born August 24, 1972) is an American filmmaker and film distributor. She... more
- 6453Andrea Arnold, OBE (born 5 April 1961) is an English filmmaker and former actress. She won an... more
- 4726Jennifer Kent is an Australian actress, writer and director known for her debut feature The... more
- 5354Lisa Cholodenko is an American director and screenwriter who has worked in film and... more
Yeşim UstaoğluPandora's Box, Pandora's BoxYeşim Ustaoğlu is a Turkish filmmaker and screenwriter.... more
- 6352Claire Denis (born 21 April 1946) is a French film director and writer. Her feature film Beau... more