20-year itch: Sam Mendes could set record for the longest gap between directing Oscar wins with ‘1917’

20-year itch: Sam Mendes could set record for the longest gap between directing Oscar wins with ‘1917’
Sam Mendes really knows how to end a decade on a high note. Twenty years ago, he made his feature film directorial debut with “American Beauty” (1999), which went on to win the Best Picture Oscar, along with Best Director for Mendes — the most recent director to prevail for a debut. Now, he’s back with his World War I epic “1917” and is a massive contender to take home a bookend Best Director statuette, which would give him the longest gap between two wins.

Twenty-one people have scored multiple Best Director Oscars — 18 with two, two with three and one with four — but most have typically won two of them within a period of 10 years. Five have a gap of more than 10 years between two victories. The record is currently held by Billy Wilder, who won his two awards 15 years apart for “The Lost Weekend” (1945) and “The Apartment” (1960).

Two have a gap of 13 years: Fred Zinnemann,
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