That Oscar Cameron Crowe is holding? It wasn't for Best Director.
I have put off what was supposed to be an annual update of the Top 100 Directors of All-Time because I got sidetracked working on a ranking of all 210 directors who have been nominated for an Oscar over the years. I had hoped to add Christopher Nolan to that list. After all, on my initial list he was the highest ranked director without an Oscar nomination and Inception was easily going to be a Best Picture nominee. Except, somehow, the Academy left him off their nomination list – the third time he has earned a DGA nomination but not an Oscar nomination, tying Rob Reiner for first place on that dubious distinction list.
So, since I’m a long way from finishing my ranking of the Oscar nominated directors, I thought I would throw up two lists. The next one will be the best English language directors who have never been nominated for an Oscar or had one of their films nominated for Best Picture. But this one is the Top 10 Directors of All-Time Who Have Never Been Nominated for An Oscar Even Though Their Film Was.
Because I am only including directors who have never been nominated, some of the more egregious director omissions in Academy history aren’t part of this list (like say Steven Spielberg for Jaws or John Huston for The Maltese Falcon or Ang Lee for Sense and Sensibility). Those directors have all been nominated for Best Director by the Academy at some point and are among the 210 who will be ranked later.
There are 72 directors on this list – many of them from the early years when there were far more films nominated than directors (today the films outnumber the directors 10 to 5 but there were years where they outnumbered them 12 to 3). In the last two years as many directors have been added to this list (8) as had been added from 1994 to 2008.
By the way, the antithesis to this list is Fellini. He is the only person in Academy history to be nominated for Best Director more than once while never having a film nominated for Best Picture. He is tied with Woody Allen for most Director nominations without Picture noms (4), ahead of Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock (3 each). Oddly enough, Otto Preminger was nominated twice when his film wasn’t and the only film he ever directed that was nominated didn’t earn him a nomination.
I have cut people off for the same reason that I have done on my all-time list – if they have directed fewer than 4 films, so no Joe Wright or Neill Blomkamp. But here is my Top 10: (more…)