Oscar: Best Director stats

Please be aware that Oscar year refers to the year the Oscars were held and not the year the film was released.

Most nominated directors

William Wyler – 12 nominations (3 Oscars)
Martin Scorsese – 10 nominations (1 Oscar)
Steven Spielberg – 9 nominations (2 Oscars)
Billy Wilder – 8 nominations (2 Oscars)

Most winning directors

John Ford – 4 Oscars (5 nominations)
William Wyler – 3 Oscars (12 nominations)
Frank Capra – 3 Oscars (6 nominations)

Directors who have won Best Director without a Best Picture nomination

Technically this has never happened, however there are a few years worth mentioning

1929 – At the very first Oscar ceremony Best Director was split into two categories: Best Director – Drama and Best Director – Comedy. Lewis Milestone won Best Director – Comedy for Two Arabian Knights which was not nominated for Best Picture.
1930 – Frank Lloyd won Best Director for The Divine Lady. The film was not a Best Picture nominee, but only due to the fact that there were no official nominees this year.

Also there has been two other directing categories at the Oscars:

Best Assistant Director – This was handed out between 1934 and 1938. The first year the nominees were not nominated for specific films. In 1937 Jack Sullivan won for The Charge of the Light Brigade, which was not nominated for Best Picture.
Best Dance Direction – This was handed out between 1936 and 1938. In 1936 Dave Gould won for two films combined: the Best Picture nominee Broadway Melody of 1936 and the non Best Picture nominee Folies Bergére de Paris. In 1938 Hermes Pan won for the non Best Picture nominee A Damsel in Distress.
Dave Gould, Hermes Pan, Bobby Connolly and Busby Berkeley were nominated all three years this award was handed out.

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Years where 3 or more Best Director nominees were from non Best Picture nominees

+ Indicates the Best Picture winner
# Indicates Best Picture nominees

Oscar yearBest Director winnerOther Best Director nomineesNumber of Best Picture nominees
1930-2Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front)#+Clarence Brown (Romance and Anna Christie)*
Ernst Lubitsch (The Love Parade)#
King Vidor (Hallelujah)
Robert Z. Leonard (The Divorcee)#
1955Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront)#+Alfred Hitchcock (Rear Window)
Billy Wilder (Sabrina)
George Seaton (The Country Girl)#
William A. Wellman (The High and the Mighty)
1956Delbert Mann (Marty)#+David Lean (Summertime)
Elia Kazan (East of Eden)
John Sturges (Bad Day at Black Rock)
Joshua Logan (Picnic)#
1963David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia)#+Arthur Penn (The Miracle Worker)
Frank Perry (David and Lisa)
Pietro Germi (Divorce Italian Style)
Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird)#
1964Tony Richardson (Tom Jones)#+Elia Kazan (America America)#
Federico Fellini (8 1/2)
Martin Ritt (Hud)
Otto Preminger (The Cardinal)
1967Fred Zinnemann (A Man for All Seasons)#+Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman)
Michelangelo Antonioni (Blowup)
Mike Nichols (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)#
Richard Brooks (The Professionals)

*Clarence Brown received one nomination, but for two films. Both films were not nominated for Best Picture.


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