10 Best Directors Who Haven't Won An Oscar

If the Academy won't honor them, we will.

Edgar Wright Baby Driver
Sony Pictures

This past Sunday, a tremendous wrong was finally righted when Guillermo del Toro finally won Best Director at the Oscars. Del Toro has been a hard-working filmmaker for twenty-five years now, consistently putting out great work. Yet prior to this year, the man himself had never even been nominated for Best Director, much less won the award.

Which is, sadly, a bit of a trend.

We view the Oscars as the highest honor a film or filmmaker can possibly receive. They are the honor bestowed to those who make the best films, the ones that will stand the test of time and remain with us in our hearts and minds. And yet, so many of the greatest directors of all time have never won a single Best Director award.

These are the women and men who have delivered incredible bodies of work over long periods of time and have not yet been (or never will be) grace with Oscar gold. They are absolute masters of the craft who simply never got to take the gold home. Whether it was due to studio politics, or their work not being appreciated in its time, there are the greatest directors who have never won their Oscar.

10. Paul Thomas Anderson

Edgar Wright Baby Driver

Let's start off with a basic one that just seems like a glaring oversight, shall we?

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best modern directors we have. From his earlier days with films like Boogie Nights to his most recent work in Phantom Thread, the man delivers some truly wonderful films that utilize the craft to cut to the bone.

He makes quiet and intimate films that feature great performances and a tangible aesthetics, that are also delightfully strange. For crying out loud, Phantom Thread is about a man who needs to be poisoned in order to feel receptive to love and ends with said man chowing down on an omelet he knows to be poison... and that's a happy ending.

He's also an Oscar favorite, in theory. His films are constantly receiving critical acclaim and getting nominated by the Oscars, but he has never actually won Best Director.


A film enthusiast and writer, who'll explain to you why Jingle All The Way is a classic any day of the week.