My Personal Best Director Winners

+ my nominees in alphabetical order.
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1.
Ang Lee
Director, Life of Pi
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, and a Masters Degree in Film Production at New York University...
“  2012 - Ang Lee - Life of Pi

Paul Thomas Anderson - The Master
Kathryn Bigelow - Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper - Les Miserables
David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook ” - Phisk
 
2.
Michel Hazanavicius
Director, The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius was born and raised in Paris, France. His grandparents were originally from Lithuania, but relocated to France in the 1920s. Hazanavicius attended art school, and moved on to work as a director for commercials and television projects. In 1999, he wrote and directed his first feature film Mes amis...
“ 2011 - Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

Thomas Alfredson - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life
Mike Mills - Beginners
Jeff Nichols - Take Shelter ” - Phisk
 
3.
“ 2010 - Danny Boyle - 127 Hours

Darren Aronofksy - Black Swan
David Fincher - The Social Network
Christopher Nolan - Inception
Lee Unkrich - Toy Story 3 ” - Phisk
 
4.
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 critiqued by people like Richard Serra...
“ 2009 - Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker

James Cameron - Avatar
Tom Ford - A Single Man
Michael Haneke - Das Weiße Band
Quentin Tarentino - Inglourious Basterds ” - Phisk
 
5.
“ 2008 - Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire

Tomas Alfredson - Låt den rätte komma in
Clint Eastwood - Changeling
David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight ” - Phisk
 
6.
Joe Wright
Director, Atonement
“ 2007 - Joe Wright - Atonement

Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men
Andrew Dominik - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Ang Lee - Se, Jie ” - Phisk
 
7.
Martin Scorsese
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 provided the inspiration for several of his films...
“ 2006 - Martin Scorsese - The Departed

Alfonso Cuarón – Children of Men
Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris – Little Miss Sunshine
Alejandro González Iñárritu – Babel
Gabriele Muccino – The Pursuit of Happyness ” - Phisk
 
8.
Ang Lee
Director, Life of Pi
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, and a Masters Degree in Film Production at New York University...
“ 2005 - Ang Lee - Brokeback Mountain

George Clooney – Good Night, and Good Luck
Stephen Gaghan – Syriana
Paul Haggis – Crash
Bennett Miller – Capote ” - Phisk
 
9.
Martin Scorsese
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 provided the inspiration for several of his films...
“ 2004 - Martin Scorsese - The Aviator

Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackford – Ray
Mike Nichols – Closer
Alexander Payne – Sideways ” - Phisk
 
10.
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, which he made with his friends...
“ 2003 - Peter Jackson - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Clint Eastwood – Mystic River
Alejandro González Iñárritu – 21 Grams
Fernando Meirelles – Cidade de Deus
Peter Weir – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World ” - Phisk
 
11.
Roman Polanski
Director, The Pianist
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 before World War II began...
“ 2002 - Roman Polanski - The Pianist

Stephen Daldry – The Hours
Peter Jackson – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Sam Mendes – Road to Perdition
Martin Scorsese – Gangs of New York ” - Phisk
 
12.
Ron Howard
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation's most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed dramas A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 to the hit comedies Parenthood and Splash, he has created some of Hollywood's most memorable films. Howard directed and produced "Cinderella Man" starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe...
“ 2001 - Ron Howard - A Beautiful Mind

Cameron Crowe – Vanilla Sky
Todd Field – In the Bedroom
Peter Jackson – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
David Lynch – Mulholland Drive ” - Phisk
 
13.
Darren Aronofsky
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 several film awards after completing his senior thesis film...
“ 2000 - Darren Aronofsky - Requiem for a Dream

Alejandro González Iñárritu – Amores Perros
Ang Lee – Wo hu cang long
Julian Schnabel – Before Night Falls
Steven Soderbergh – Traffic ” - Phisk
 
14.
Michael Mann
Producer, Heat
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. He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile, in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release, Thief starring James Caan as a safe-cracker who falls under the spell of the mob...
“ 1999 - Michael Mann - The Insider

David Fincher – Fight Club
Paul Thomas Anderson - Magnolia
Stanley Kubrick – Eyes Wide Shut
Sam Mendes – American Beauty ” - Phisk
 
15.
Steven Spielberg
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 writer...
“ 1998 - Steven Spielberg - Saving Private Ryan

Roberto Benigni - La vita è bella
Tony Kaye – American History X
John Madden – Shakespeare in Love
Peter Weir – The Truman Show ” - Phisk
 
16.
Curtis Hanson
After small films like The Bedroom Window and Sweet Kill, Curtis Hanson went on to direct major features including The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, The River Wild and the Academy Award-winning L.A. Confidential. Setting his sights on another city, Hanson was critically acclaimed for directing Eminem in Universal Pictures' 8 Mile...
“ 1997 - Curtis Hanson - L.A. Confidential

James L. Brooks – As Good as It Gets
James Cameron – Titanic
Gus Van Sant – Good Will Hunting ” - Phisk
 
17.
Anthony Minghella
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 Hull...
“ 1996 - Anthony Minghella - The English Patient

Cameron Crowe – Jerry Maguire
Scott Hicks – Shine ” - Phisk
 
18.
“ 1995 - Mathieu Kassovitz - La Haine

Clint Eastwood – The Bridges of Madison County ” - Phisk
 
19.
Robert Zemeckis
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, 1941) and special effect vehicles (Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Back to the Future)...
“ 1994 - Pulp Fiction - Forrest Gump

Frank Darabont – The Shawshank Redemption
Quentin Tarentino – Pulp Fiction ” - Phisk
 
20.
Steven Spielberg
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 writer...
“ 1993 - Steven Spielberg - Schindler's List

Jane Campion – The Piano
Brian De Palma - Carlito's Way
Johnathan Demme – Philadelphia
James Ivory – The Remains of the Day ” - Phisk
 
21.
Clint Eastwood
Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the elder of two children in a middle-class family, Eastwood stayed in high school until the comparatively late age of nineteen and worked menial jobs over a period of several years before enrolling at Los Angeles City College...
“ 1992 - Clint Eastwood - Unforgiven

Martin Brest – Scent of a Woman
James Foley – Glengarry Glen Ross
James Ivory – Howards End
Neil Jordan – The Crying Game ” - Phisk
 
22.
“ 1991 - Jonathan Demme - The Silence of the Lambs

Ridley Scott - Thelma & Louise ” - Phisk
 
23.
Martin Scorsese
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 provided the inspiration for several of his films...
“ 1990 - Martin Scorsese - Goodfellas

Francis Ford Coppola – The Godfather: Part III
Penny Marshall - Awakenings
Barbet Schroeder – Reversal of Fortune ” - Phisk
 
24.
Jim Sheridan
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...
“ 1989 - Jim Sheridan - My left Foot ” - Phisk
 
25.
Barry Levinson
Producer, Sleepers
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 wanted to go to Los Angeles...
“ 1988 - Barry Levinson - Rain Man ” - Phisk
 
26.
Louis Malle
Louis Malle, the descendant of a French nobleman who made a fortune in beet sugar during the Napoleonic Wars, created films that explored life and its meaning. Malle's family discouraged his early interest in film but, in 1950, allowed him to enter the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris...
“ 1987 - Louis Malle - Au Revoir Les Enfants ” - Phisk
 
27.
Oliver Stone
Director, Platoon
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 born in New York City...
“ 1986 - Oliver Stone - Platoon

Roland Joffé – The Mission
David Lynch – Blue Velvet ” - Phisk
 
28.
Steven Spielberg
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 writer...
“ 1985 - Steven Spielberg - The Color Purple ” - Phisk
 
29.
Milos Forman
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 Buchenwald and his mother died in Auschwitz...
“ 1984 - Milos Forman - Amadeus ” - Phisk
 
30.
“ 1983 - James L. Brooks - Terms of Endearment ” - Phisk
 
31.
Martin Scorsese
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 provided the inspiration for several of his films...
“ 1980 - Martin Scorsese - Raging Bull ” - Phisk
 
32.
“ 1979 - Robert Benton - Kramer vs Kramer

Francis Ford Coppola – Apocalypse Now ” - Phisk
 
33.
Michael Cimino
Michael Cimino studied architecture and dramatic arts; later he filmed advertisements and documentaries and also wrote scripts until the actor, producer and director Clint Eastwood gave him the opportunity to direct the thriller Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. But his biggest success was The Deer Hunter which won the Oscar for best film...
“ 1978 - Michael Cimino - The Deer Hunter

Hal Ashby - Coming Home ” - Phisk
 
34.
Martin Scorsese
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 provided the inspiration for several of his films...
“ 1976 - Martin Scorsese - Taxi Driver

Sidney Lumet – Network
John Schlesinger – Marathon Man ” - Phisk
 
35.
Milos Forman
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 Buchenwald and his mother died in Auschwitz...
“ 1975 - Milos Forman - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Sidney Lumet – Dog Day Afternoon
Steven Spielberg - Jaws ” - Phisk
 
36.
Francis Ford Coppola
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 with a degree in drama from Hofstra University...
“ 1974 - Francis Ford Coppola - The Godfather: Part II

John Cassavetes – A Woman Under the Influence
Francis Ford Coppola - The Conversation
Roman Polanski – Chinatown ” - Phisk
 
37.
George Roy Hill
Director, The Sting
George Roy Hill was never able to 'hit it off' with the critics despite the fact that 2 of his films - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting - had remained among the top 10 box office hits by 1976. His work was frequently derided as 'impersonal' or lacking in stylistic trademarks. Andrew Sarris famously referred to it as 'idiosyncratic...
“ 1973 - George Roy Hill - The Sting

Bernardo Bertolucci – Ultimo Tango a Parigi
William Friedkin – The Exorcist
Sydney Pollack – The Way We Were
Nicolas Roeg – Don't Look Now ” - Phisk
 
38.
Francis Ford Coppola
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 with a degree in drama from Hofstra University...
“ 1972 - Francis Ford Coppola - The Godfather

Bob Fosse - Cabaret ” - Phisk