Greatest Directorsby immyb | created - 15 Oct 2010 | updated - 13 Mar 2016 | Public
Director | Psycho
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...
5 Best Director Oscar Nominations Rebecca Lifeboat Spellbound Rear Window Psycho
Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...
4 Best Director Oscar Nominations Dr. Strangelove 2001: A Space Odyssey A Clockwork Orange Barry Lyndon
Producer | Artificial Intelligence: AI
Undoubtedly one of the most influential film personalities in the history of film, Steven Spielberg is perhaps Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. Spielberg has countless big-grossing, critically acclaimed credits to his name, as producer, director and...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins Schindler's List Saving Private Ryan
Director | Taxi Driver
Martin Charles Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York City, to Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa) and Charles Scorsese, who both worked in Manhattan's garment district, and whose families both came from Palermo, Sicily. He was raised in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which later ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The Departed
Writer | The Prestige
Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970 in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made.
2 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Nominations Memento Inception
Writer | Reservoir Dogs
Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old.
In January of...
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations Pulp Fiction Inglorious Basterds
Director | Punch-Drunk Love
Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination There Will Be Blood
Director | Se7en
David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials...
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button The Social Network
9. Billy Wilder
Writer | The Apartment
Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929, and wrote scripts for many ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins The Lost Weekend The Apartment
Producer | The Conversation
Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The Godfather Part II
11. Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
12. Ridley Scott
Producer | The Martian
Ridley Scott was born on November 30, 1937 in South Shields, Tyne and Wear (then County Durham). His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and the family followed him as his career posted him throughout the United Kingdom and Europe before they eventually returned to Teesside. Scott wanted ...
3 Best Director Oscar Nominations Thelma & Louise Gladiator Black Hawk Down
13. Charles Chaplin
Writer | The Great Dictator
Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...
2 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Nominations The Great Dictator Monsieur Verdoux
14. James Cameron
Writer | Avatar
James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win Titanic
15. Ethan Coen
Producer | Inside Llewyn Davis
Ethan Coen was born on September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Ethan Jesse Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), A Serious Man (2009) and Fargo (1996). He has been married to Tricia Cooke since October 2, 1990. They have two children.
1 Best Director Oscar Win No Country For Old Men
16. Joel Coen
Writer | Fargo
Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for Fargo (1996), A Serious Man (2009) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.
1 Best Director Oscar Win No Country For Old Men
17. Sidney Lumet
Director | 12 Angry Men
Sidney Lumet was a master of cinema, best known for his technical knowledge and his skill at getting first-rate performances from his actors -- and for shooting most of his films in his beloved New York. He made over 40 movies, often complex and emotional, but seldom overly sentimental. Although ...
4 Best Director Oscar Nominations 12 Angry Men Dog Day Afternoon Network The Verdict
18. Clint Eastwood
Actor | Gran Torino
Clint Eastwood was born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the son of Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife turned IBM operator. He had a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in nearby Piedmont. At school Clint took interest in music...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins Unforgiven Million Dollar Baby
19. Akira Kurosawa
Writer | Ran
After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Ran
20. Frank Capra
Director | It's a Wonderful Life
One of seven children, Frank Capra was born on May 18, 1897, in Bisacquino, Sicily. On May 10, 1903, his family left for America aboard the ship Germania, arriving in New York on May 23rd. "There's no ventilation, and it stinks like hell. They're all miserable. It's the most degrading place you ...
3 Best Director Oscar Wins It Happened One Night Mr. Deeds Goes To Town You Can't Take It With You
21. David Lean
Director | Lawrence of Arabia
An important British filmmaker, David Lean was born in Croydon on March 25, 1908 and brought up in a strict Quaker family (ironically, as a child he wasn't allowed to go to the movies). During the 1920s, he briefly considered the possibility of becoming an accountant like his father before finding ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins The Bridge On The River Kwai Lawrence Of Arabia
22. Sergio Leone
Writer | Once Upon a Time in America
Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in ...
23. J.J. Abrams
Producer | Lost
J.J. Abrams was born on June 27, 1966 in New York City, New York, USA as Jeffrey Jacob Abrams. He is a producer and writer, known for Lost (2004), Star Trek (2009) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). He has been married to Katie McGrath since 1996. They have three children.
24. Danny Boyle
Director | 127 Hours
1 Best Director Oscar Win Slumdog Millionaire
25. Sam Mendes
Producer | Road to Perdition
Samuel Alexander Mendes was born on August 1, 1965 in Reading, England, UK to parents James Peter Mendes, a retired university lecturer, and Valerie Helene Mendes, an author who writes children's books. Their marriage didn't last long, James divorced Sam's mother in 1970 when Sam was just 5-...
1 Best Director Oscar Win American Beauty
26. David Lynch
Writer | Twin Peaks
Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...
3 Best Director Oscar Nominations The Elephant Man Blue Velvet Mulholland Drive
27. Ang Lee
Director | Wo hu cang long
Born in 1954 in Pingtung, Taiwan, Ang Lee has become one of today's greatest contemporary filmmakers. Ang graduated from the National Taiwan College of Arts in 1975 and then came to the U.S. to receive a B.F.A. Degree in Theatre/Theater Direction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins Brokeback Mountain Life Of Pi
Producer | The Revenant
Alejandro González Iñárritu (ih-nyar-ee-too), born August 15th, 1963, is a Mexican film director.
González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He is also the first Mexican-born ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins Birdman The Revenant
29. Roman Polanski
Actor | Chinatown
Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The Pianist
30. Steve McQueen
Director | 12 Years a Slave
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination 12 Years A Slave
31. Darren Aronofsky
Director | Pi
Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Black Swan
32. Michael Mann
Producer | The Insider
A student of London's International Film School, Michael Mann began his career in the late 70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch (1975). He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile (1979), in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release,...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination The Insider
33. Ron Howard
Actor | Arrested Development
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Apollo 13 (1995) to the hit comedies Parenthood (1989) and Splash (1984), he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films.
1 Best Director Oscar Win A Beautiful Mind
34. Robert Zemeckis
Writer | Back to the Future
A whiz-kid with special effects, Robert is from the Spielberg camp of film-making (Steven Spielberg produced many of his films). Usually working with writing partner Bob Gale, Robert's earlier films show he has a talent for zany comedy (Romancing the Stone (1984), 1941 (1979)) and special effect ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win Forrest Gump
35. Rob Reiner
Actor | All in the Family
Robert Reiner was born in New York City, to Estelle Reiner (née Lebost) and Emmy-Winning actor, comedian, writer, and producer Carl Reiner.
Robert as a child often looked up to his father as his inspiration and role-model. Carl Reiner was on The Dick Van Dyke Show which Carl Reiner created and also ...
36. Edward Zwick
Producer | The Last Samurai
Edward Zwick is well-known for his heroic movies that include Glory (1989), and the breathtaking works of art that include Legends of the Fall (1994). Zwick has also been known for his thoughtfulness as a director, and for his record of working with television series and other films as a producer.
37. Alfonso Cuarón
Writer | Gravity
Alfonso Cuarón Orozco was born on November 28th in Mexico City, Mexico. From an early age, he yearned to be either a film director or an astronaut. However, he did not want to enter the army, so he settled for directing. He didn't receive his first camera until his twelfth birthday, and then ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win Gravity
Director | Waking Life
Self-taught writer-director Richard Stuart Linklater was born in Houston, Texas, to Diane Margaret (Krieger), who taught at a university, and Charles W. Linklater III. Richard was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Boyhood
39. Paul Greengrass
Director | United 93
Paul Greengrass started his filmmaking career with a super 8 camera he found in his art room in secondary school. Those short movies were animation horror films he made using old dolls, artist dummies, and the general art room clutter.
After studying in Cambridge University he got into Granada ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination United 93
40. Kathryn Bigelow
Director | The Hurt Locker
A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The Hurt Locker
41. Wes Anderson
Writer | Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination The Grand Budapest Hotel
42. Spike Lee
Director | Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended ...
1 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Nomination Do The Right Thing
43. Ben Affleck
Producer | Argo
American actor and filmmaker Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born on August 15, 1972 in Berkeley, California, and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, Chris Anne (née Boldt), is a school teacher, and his father, Timothy Byers Affleck, is a social worker; the two are divorced. Ben has...
1 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Win Good Will Hunting
44. David O. Russell
Writer | Three Kings
David Owen Russell is an American film writer, director, and producer, known for a cinema of intense, tragi-comedic characters whose love of life can surpass dark circumstances faced in very specific worlds. His films address such themes as mental illness as stigma or hope; invention of self and ...
3 Best Director Oscar Nominations The Fighter Silver Linings Playbook American Hustle
45. Tim Burton
Producer | Edward Scissorhands
Timothy Walter Burton was born in Burbank, California, to Jean Rae (Erickson), who owned a cat-themed gift shop, and William Reed Burton, who worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department. He spent most of his childhood as a recluse, drawing cartoons, and watching old movies (he was ...
46. Brian De Palma
Director | Dressed to Kill
Brian De Palma is the son of a surgeon. He studied physics but at the same time felt his dedication for the movies and made some short films. After seven independent productions he had his first success with Sisters (1972) and his voyeuristic style. Restlessly he worked on big projects with the ...
47. Tony Scott
Producer | Domino
Tony Scott was a British-born film director and producer. He was the youngest of three brothers, one of whom is fellow film director Ridley Scott. He was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England to parents Jean and Colonel Francis Percy Scott. As a result of his father's career in the British...
48. David Cronenberg
Director | The Fly
David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...
49. Edgar Wright
Director | Shaun of the Dead
Edgar Howard Wright (born 18 April 1974) is an English director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He is best known for his comedic Three Flavours Cornetto film trilogy consisting of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013), made with recurrent collaborators Simon Pegg...
50. John Hughes
Writer | The Breakfast Club
John Hughes was born on February 18, 1950 in Lansing, Michigan, USA as John Wilden Hughes Jr. He was a writer, known for The Breakfast Club (1985), Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). He was married to Nancy Ludwig. He died on August 6, 2009 in Manhattan, ...
51. Woody Allen
Writer | Manhattan
Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...
1 Best Director Oscar Win Annie Hall
52. Terrence Malick
Writer | Days of Heaven
Terrence Malick was born in Ottawa, Illinois. His family subsequently lived in Oklahoma and he went to school in Austin, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at Harvard, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in philosophy in 1965.
A member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, he attended Magdalen ...
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations The Thin Red Line The Tree Of Life
53. John Ford
Director | The Quiet Man
John Ford came to Hollywood following one of his brothers, an actor. Asked what brought him to Hollywood, he replied "The train". He became one of the most respected directors in the business, in spite of being known for his westerns, which were not considered "serious" film. He won six Oscars, ...
4 Best Director Oscar Wins The Informer The Grapes Of Wrath How Green Was My Valley The Quiet Man
54. Orson Welles
Actor | Citizen Kane
His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr....
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Citizen Kane
55. Elia Kazan
Director | On the Waterfront
Known for his creative stage direction, Elia Kazan was born Elias Kazantzoglou on September 7, 1909 in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey). Noted for drawing out the best dramatic performances from his actors, he directed 21 actors to Oscar nominations, resulting in nine wins. He ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins Gentleman's Agreement On The Waterfront
56. John Huston
Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry included ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
57. Alexander Payne
Director | Nebraska
Director, producer and screenwriter Alexander Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents, Peggy (Constantine) and George Payne, ran a Greek restaurant. His father is of Greek and German ancestry, and his mother is of Greek descent; the family name was originally Papadopoulos. He has two older ...
3 Best Director Oscar Nominations Sideways The Descendants Nebraska
58. Spike Jonze
Producer | Her
Spike Jonze made up one-third (along with Andy Jenkins and Mark Lewman) of the triumvirate of genius minds behind Dirt Magazine, the brother publication of the much lamented ground-breaking Sassy Magazine. These three uncommon characters were all editors for Grand Royal Magazine as well, under the ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Being John Malkovich
59. Sofia Coppola
Writer | Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Lost In Translation
Director | Sex, Lies, and Videotape
Steven Andrew Soderbergh was born on January 14, 1963 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the second of six children of Mary Ann (Bernard) and Peter Soderbergh. His father was of Swedish and Irish descent, and his mother was of Italian ancestry. While he was still at a very young age, his family moved to ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win Traffic
61. Tom Hooper
Director | The Danish Girl
Tom Hooper was educated at one of England's most prestigious schools, Westminster. His first film, Runaway Dog, was made when he was 13 years old and shot on a Clockwork 16mm Bolex camera, using 100 feet of film. At age 18, he wrote, directed and produced the short film Painted Faces (1992), which ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The King's Speech
Writer | The Talented Mr. Ripley
Anthony Minghella was the son of immigrants from Italy, who own an ice-cream factory on the Isle of Wight, where Anthony was born on January 6, 1954. He and his two siblings, Edana Minghella and Dominic Minghella, grew up there, a popular British holiday spot. After graduating from the University of...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The English Patient
63. Peter Weir
Peter Weir was born on August 21, 1944 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as Peter Lindsay Weir. He is a director and writer, known for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Witness (1985) and The Truman Show (1998). He has been married to Wendy Stites since 1966. They have two...
4 Best Director Oscar Nominations Witness Dead Poets Society The Truman Show Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World
64. Jim Sheridan
Producer | In America
Jim Sheridan is a master story-teller, and an acclaimed film director of few films, but good films nevertheless.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1949, Sheridan moved to America in 1982, meeting a man who invited him to run the Irish Arts Center. He found a place to live in Hell's Kitchen, New York City,...
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations My Left Foot In The Name Of The Father
65. Milos Forman
Director | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Milos Forman was born Jan Tomas Forman in Caslav, Czechoslovakia, to Anna (Svabova), who ran a summer hotel, and Rudolf Forman, a professor. During World War II, his parents were taken away by the Nazis, after being accused of participating in the underground resistance. His father died in ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest Amadeus
66. Oliver Stone
Director | JFK
Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success.
William Oliver Stone was ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins Platoon Born On The Fourth Of July
67. Cameron Crowe
Writer | Almost Famous
Certainly idiosyncratic as a writer, Cameron Crowe has created a series of scripts that, while liked by the critics, were considered offbeat and difficult to market.
Cameron Bruce Crowe was born in Palm Springs, California, to Alice Marie Crowe (née George), a teacher and activist, and James A. ...
1 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Win Almost Famous
68. Mel Brooks
Actor | Spaceballs
Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...
1 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Win The Producers
69. Frank Darabont
Writer | The Green Mile
Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont was born in a refugee camp in 1959 in Montbeliard, France, the son of Hungarian parents who had fled Budapest during the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. Brought to America as an infant, he settled with his family in Los Angeles and attended Hollywood High ...
2 Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar Nominations The Shawshank Redemption The Green Mile
70. Asghar Farhadi
Writer | Darbareye Elly
Asghar Farhadi was born in 1972 in Iran. He became interested in cinema in his teenage years and started his filmmaking education by joining the Youth Cinema Society of Esfahan in 1986 where he made 8mm and 16mm short films. He received his Bachelors in Theater from University of Tehran's School of...
1 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Nomination A Separation
Writer | El laberinto del fauno
Guillermo del Toro was born October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. Raised by his Catholic grandmother, del Toro developed an interest in filmmaking in his early teens. Later, he learned about makeup and effects from the legendary Dick Smith (The Exorcist (1973)) and worked on making his ...
1 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Nomination Pan's Labyrinth
72. James Whale
Director | Frankenstein
James Whale was an English film director, theatre director and actor. He is best remembered for his four classic horror films: Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). He also directed films in other genres, including what is ...
Writer | The Neon Demon
Writer, director, and producer Nicolas Winding Refn was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1970, to Anders Refn, a film director and editor, and Vibeke Winding (née Tuxen), a cinematographer. Just before he turned 11, in 1981, he moved to New York with his parents, where he lived out his teenage years...
74. Jason Reitman
Producer | Up in the Air
Jason Reitman was born on October 19, 1977 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Up in the Air (2009), Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007). He was previously married to Michele Lee.
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations Juno Up In The Air
75. Terry Gilliam
Writer | Brazil
Terry Gilliam was born in Minnesota near Medicine Lake. When he was 12 his family moved to Los Angeles where he became a fan of Mad magazine. In his early 20's he was often stopped by the police who often suspected him of being a drug addict and Gilliam had to explain that he worked in advertising....
1 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Nomination Brazil
76. Robert Altman
Director | Gosford Park
Robert Altman was born on February 20th, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri, to B.C. (an insurance salesman) and Helen Altman. He entered St. Peters Catholic school at the age six, and spent a short time at a Catholic high school. From there, he went to Rockhurst High School. It was then that he started...
5 Best Director Oscar Nominations MASH Nashville The Player Short Cuts Gosford Park
77. Mike Nichols
Director | The Graduate
He, along with the other members of the "Compass Players" including Elaine May, Paul Sills, Byrne Piven, Joyce Hiller Piven and Edward Asner helped start the famed "Second City Improv" company. They used the games taught to them by fellow cast mate, Paul Sills 's mother, Viola Spolin. He later ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The Graduate
78. Joss Whedon
Writer | Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Joss Whedon is the middle of five brothers - his younger brothers are Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon. Both his father, Tom Whedon and his grandfather, John Whedon were successful television writers. Joss' mother, Lee Stearns, was a history teacher and she also wrote novels as Lee Whedon. Whedon was ...
1 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Nomination Toy Story
79. Kenneth Branagh
Actor | Hamlet
Kenneth Charles Branagh was born on December 10, 1960, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to parents William Branagh, a plumber and carpenter, and Frances (Harper), both born in 1930. He has two siblings, William Branagh, Jr. (born 1955) and Joyce Branagh (born 1970). When he was nine, his family ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Henry V
80. George Clooney
Actor | Up in the Air
George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky, to Nina Bruce (née Warren), a former beauty pageant queen, and Nick Clooney, a former anchorman and television host (who was also the brother of singer Rosemary Clooney). He has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Clooney ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Good Night, And Good Luck
81. Mel Gibson
Actor | Braveheart
Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win Braveheart
82. Michael Haneke
Writer | Caché
A true master of his craft, Michael Haneke is one of the greatest film artists working today and one who challenges his viewers each year and work goes by, with films that reflect real portions of life in realistic, disturbing and unforgettable ways. One of the most genuine filmmakers of the world ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Amour
83. Pedro Almodóvar
Writer | Hable con ella
The most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn't study ...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Talk To Her
84. Ingmar Bergman
Writer | Smultronstället
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions (1996) is the ...
3 Best Director Oscar Nominations Cries & Whispers Face To Face Fanny And Alexander
85. Bennett Miller
Director | Foxcatcher
Bennett Miller is an American film director, best known for Capote (2005), Moneyball (2011), and Foxcatcher (2014). He began his film career directing the 1998 documentary The Cruise.
In 2006 Miller directed the Bob Dylan music video "When the Deal Goes Down" starring Scarlett Johansson.
Miller has ...
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations Capote Foxcatcher
86. George Miller
Producer | Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller is an Australian film director, screenwriter, producer, and former medical doctor. He is best known for his Mad Max franchise, with The Road Warrior (1981) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) being hailed as amongst the greatest action films of all time. Aside from the Mad Max films, Miller...
1 Best Director Oscar Nomination Mad Max: Fury Road
87. Alan Parker
Director | Evita
Prior to moving into film, Alan was noted as one of London's most talented advertising copywriters. He worked for the Collet Dickinson Pearce (CDP) ad agency in the 1960's and early 1970's, and began directing his own tvc scripts in their basement. Formed a partnership with David Puttnam as his ...
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations Midnight Express Mississippi Burning
88. Gus Van Sant
Director | Elephant
Gus Van Sant was born on July 24, 1952 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA as Gus Greene Van Sant Junior. He is a producer and director, known for Elephant (2003), My Own Private Idaho (1991) and Drugstore Cowboy (1989).
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations Good Will Hunting Milk
89. Jonathan Demme
Director | The Silence of the Lambs
Jonathan Demme was born on February 22, 1944 in Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA as Robert Jonathan Demme. He was a director and producer, known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Rachel Getting Married (2008) and Philadelphia (1993). He was married to Joanne Howard and Evelyn Purcell. He died...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The Silence Of The Lambs
90. William Wyler
Director | The Best Years of Our Lives
William Wyler was an American filmmaker who, at the time of his death in 1981, was considered by his peers as second only to John Ford as a master craftsman of cinema. The winner of three Best Director Academy Awards, second again only to Ford's four, Wyler's reputation has unfairly suffered as the ...
3 Best Director Oscar Wins Mrs. Miniver The Best Years Of Our Lives Ben-Hur
91. Fred Zinnemann
Director | A Man for All Seasons
Initially grew up wanting to be a violinist, but while at the University of Vienna decided to study law. While doing so, he became increasingly interested in American film and decided that was what he wanted to do. He became involved in European filmaking for a short time before going to America to...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins From Here To Eternity A Man For All Seasons
Writer | All About Eve
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1909, Joseph Leo Mankiewicz first worked for the movies as a translator of intertitles, employed by Paramount in Berlin, the UFA's American distributor at the time (1928). He became a dialoguist, then a screenwriter on numerous Paramount ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins A Letter To Three Wives All About Eve
93. Robert Wise
Director | West Side Story
Robert Earl Wise was born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Indiana, the youngest of three sons of Olive R. (Longenecker) and Earl Waldo Wise, a meat packer. His parents were both of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) descent. At age nineteen, the avid moviegoer came into the film business through an ...
2 Best Director Oscar Wins West Side Story The Sound Of Music
94. William Friedkin
Director | The French Connection
Friedkin's mother was an operating room nurse. His father was a merchant seaman, semi-pro softball player and ultimately sold clothes in a men's discount chain. Ultimately, his father never earned more than $50/week in his whole life and died indigent. Eventually young Will became infatuated with ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win The French Connection
95. George Cukor
Director | My Fair Lady
George Cukor was born on July 7, 1899 in New York City, New York, USA as George Dewey Cukor. He is known for his work on My Fair Lady (1964), The Philadelphia Story (1940) and Les Girls (1957). He died on January 24, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
1 Best Director Oscar Win My Fair Lady
96. Michael Curtiz
Director | Casablanca
Curtiz began acting in and then directing films in his native Hungary in 1912. After WWI, he continued his filmmaking career in Austria and Germany and into the early 1920s when he directed films in other countries in Europe. Moving to the US in 1926, he started making films in Hollywood for Warner...
1 Best Director Oscar Win Casablanca
97. Barry Levinson
Director | Rain Man
Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Violet (Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in furniture and appliance. He is of Russian Jewish descent. Levinson graduated from high school in 1960, attended college at American University in Washington, DC. He did well, but decided he ...
1 Best Director Oscar Win Rain Man
98. Mike Leigh
Director | Secrets & Lies
Mike Leigh was born on February 20, 1943 in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. He is a director and writer, known for Secrets & Lies (1996), Naked (1993) and Happy-Go-Lucky (2008). He was previously married to Alison Steadman.
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations Vera Drake Secrets & Lies
99. Stephen Daldry
Director | The Hours
In 1989, Stephen Daldry worked as a freelance reader of unsolicited manuscripts for Literary Manager Nicholas Wright in the Scripts Department at the Royal National Theatre. In July of that year, he directed a Dadaist/expressionist production of "Judgement Day," a play by Odon von Horvath, at the ...
3 Best Director Oscar Nominations Billy Elliot The Hours The Reader
100. Stephen Frears
Director | Dangerous Liaisons
Stephen Frears was born on June 20, 1941 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England as Stephen Arthur Frears. He is a director and producer, known for Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Philomena (2013) and The Queen (2006). He has been married to Anne Rothenstein since 1992. They have two children. He was ...
2 Best Director Oscar Nominations The Grifters The Queen