DGA Awards vs. Best Director Oscar: Academy Less Populist & More Daring

Ralph Fiennes in The Reader
Ralph Fiennes in Oscar nominee (but not DGA nominee) Stephen Daldry's The Reader

In 1948, the 12-year-old Directors Guild of America (DGA), then known as the Screen Directors Guild (SDG), began handing out annual achievement awards. Three Best Director Oscar winners – Frank Capra, John Ford, and Norman Taurog – alongside George Sidney, Delmer Daves, H. Bruce Humberstone, Irving Pichel, and, ex-officio, Guild president George Marshall took part in the initial Awards Committee in the selection of the Directors Guild Award honorees. The DGA Awards' first winner was Joseph L. Mankiewicz for A Letter to Three Wives, a critically acclaimed comedy-drama that would earn Mankiewicz a Best Director Academy Award the following year.

Before 1970 (awards handed out in 1971), the Guild's list of finalists consisted of a variable number of directors, almost always more than five. From 1970 on, when the Directors Guild began restricting its list of motion picture nominees to five directors per year, a DGA nod has generally translated into an Academy Award nod.

There have been, however, quite a few exceptions to this rule. In fact, to date only five times have the DGA choices exactly matched the Academy's shortlist: 1977, 1981, 1998, 2005, and 2009. (A DGA win has mostly – though not invariably – translated into an Oscar win as well; see discrepancies further below.)

Generally speaking, non-Hollywood and less commercial films tend to fare better with the Directors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) than with the Guild, partly because screeners aren't allowed to be sent to DGA members (foreign and small independent films would then be less readily available for viewing), but perhaps chiefly because of the DGA's huge membership.

For comparison's sake: the DGA boasts about 14,500 members while the Academy's considerably more elitist Directors Branch has 367 (in Jan. 2012). The Guild's membership includes motion picture and television directors, first and second assistant directors, unit production managers, technical coordinators, tape associate directors, stage managers, and production associates.

All things being equal, the larger the voting body the more mundane – or more mainstream, if you wish – are the choices. That also helps to explain why the likes of Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Atom Egoyan, Pietro Germi, Akira Kurosawa, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Lina Wertmüller, Louis Malle, Michelangelo Antonioni, Gillo Pontecorvo, David Lynch, François Truffaut, Jan Troell, Fernando Meirelles, Stanley Kubrick, Jane Campion, Robert Altman, Costa-Gavras, Pedro Almodóvar, and Krzysztof Kieslowski have received Best Director Oscar nods without any of them ever coming out on top. After all, every Academy member – currently about 6,000 of them – is entitled to vote for the winner in each category.

Maria Schneider, Marlon Brando in Last Tango in ParisPhoto: Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider in Last Tango in Paris.]

Since 1970, when the DGA instituted the five-nominee limit, a mere ten directors of (at least mostly) non-English-language films have received DGA nods: Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties, 1976), Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, 1982), Ingmar Bergman (Fanny and Alexander, 1983), Lasse Hallström (My Life As a Dog, 1987), Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso, 1990), Michael Radford (Il Postino / The Postman, 1995), Robert Benigni (Life Is Beautiful, 1998), Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, 2000), Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), and Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 2009).

The above list can be expanded to twelve if you include Bernardo Bertolucci for Last Tango in Paris, which has a sizable amount of English dialogue, and Michel Hazanavicius' French-made but Hollywood-set The Artist.

During that same period (excepting 2011, as Oscar nominations will be announced only later this month), 21 directors of non-English-language films received Academy Award nominations. (Twenty-two if you include Bertolucci and his Last Tango.)

Additionally, directors of English-language – but non-American – films tend to be better liked by Academy members as well. Paul Greengrass (United 93, UK), Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Canada), Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty, UK), Ken Russell (Women in Love, UK), Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father, UK/Ireland), John Boorman (Hope and Glory, UK), Chris Noonan (Babe, Australia), Peter Yates (The Dresser, UK), Laurence Olivier (Hamlet, UK), David Lean (Summertime, UK), Hector Babenco (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Brazil), and Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, UK), among others, were left out of the DGA shortlists but went on to receive Academy Award nominations.

Cult or “niche” faves like John Cassavetes (A Woman Under the Influence, 1974), David Lynch (Blue Velvet in 1986, Mulholland Dr. in 2001), Robert Altman (Short Cuts in 1993, Gosford Park in 2001), and Woody Allen (Interiors in 1978, Broadway Danny Rose in 1984, Bullets Over Broadway in 1994) are also better liked by the Academy's Directors Branch (all of the aforementioned movies were nominated) than by the Directors Guild (none of the aforementioned movies was nominated).

The same can be said about controversial box office disappointments or modest performers like The Last Temptation of Christ (an Oscar nod for Martin Scorsese in 1988), The People vs. Larry Flynt (Milos Forman in 1996), Vera Drake (Mike Leigh in 2004), and The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008), none of which was to be found in the DGA's list of nominees.

On the other hand, DGA members are big fans of Steven Spielberg, who has garnered 10 nominations (versus six Best Director Oscar nods), including three wins (versus two Oscar wins).

That said, there have been a few instances when DGA members went for a less commercial name while the Academy's Director's branch opted for the big box office guy. The most egregious example is probably the Academy's 1971 Best Director nod for Norman Jewison for his blockbuster musical Fiddler on the Roof, while the DGA nominated Robert Mulligan for his small-scale, coming-of-age romantic drama Summer of '42.

In an even stranger twist, Directors Branch fave Woody Allen (six nominations, including one win) was somehow left out of the 1979 Oscar shortlist even though he did receive a DGA nod for Manhattan – regarded as one of his greatest films.

A Letter to Three Wives Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern
Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Jeanne Crain, A Letter to Three Wives

Since pre-1970 Directors Guild Award finalists often consisted of more than five directors, it was impossible to get an exact match for the DGA's and the Academy's lists of nominees. In the list below, the years before 1970 include DGA finalists (DGA) who didn't receive an Academy Award nod and, if applicable, those Academy Award-nominated directors (AMPAS) not found in the – usually much lengthier – DGA list. The label “DGA/AMPAS” means the directors in question received nominations for both the DGA Award and the Academy Award.

The DGA Awards vs. Academy Awards list below goes from 1948 (the DGA Awards' first year) to 1952. Follow-up posts will cover the ensuing decades. The number in parentheses next to “DGA” indicates that year's number of DGA finalists if other than five.

It should be noted that for a number of years, the DGA/AMPAS eligibility periods didn't exactly match. As a result, movies eligible for the DGA Awards one year would be eligible for the Oscars the next – or vice-versa.

For instance, Joseph L. Mankiewicz became the first DGA Award winner – for the year 1948 – for the drama A Letter to Three Wives, an early 1949 release that would earn him the Best Director Oscar for that year (at the 1950 Academy Awards ceremony). Also, Carol Reed's The Third Man was shortlisted by the DGA in 1949, but its Oscar nomination came out in 1950. Additionally, Jose Ferrer won the 1950 Best Actor Oscar for Cyrano de Bergerac, which would earn director Michael Gordon a DGA Award nomination the following year.

I should also note that Directors Guild members could vote for the Best Director Academy Award nominations until 1956. Discrepancies in the DGA/AMPAS nominations during that period, such as Oscar but not DGA nominations for John Huston (The African Queen and Moulin Rouge) and David Lean (Summertime), could be related to eligibility rules (all three aforementioned titles, for instance, were either British or Anglo-American productions – though The Third Man was shortlisted by the DGA), screening availability (both Huston films were last-minute releases), or to different methods of tabulating votes. The Academy uses the notorious preferential voting system.

See list of DGA Awards vs. Academy Awards further below.

Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago
Adrien Brody in The Pianist
Catherine Zeta-Jones in Rob Marshall's Chicago (top); Adrien Brody in Roman Polanski's The Pianist (bottom)

Since its inception in 1948, 51 out of 62 winners of the Directors Guild Award (DGA) have gone on to win a matching Best Director Academy Award (AMPAS). The eight exceptions are listed below.

In one of those instances, the same director/film won both awards but in different years. Joseph L. Mankiewicz won the 1948 DGA Award for A Letter to Three Wives, an early 1949 release. Eventually, Mankiewicz went on to win the 1949 Best Director Oscar for that film as well. (John Huston won the 1948 Best Director Academy Award for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; Robert Rossen won the 1949 DGA Award for All the King's Men, which also took home the Best Picture Oscar.)

It should be noted that to date Steven Spielberg (for The Color Purple in 1985) and Ron Howard (for Apollo 13 in 1995) are the only two DGA Award winners who failed to receive a matching Best Director Oscar nomination.

In early 2003, something particularly curious took place. As usual, the DGA Award voters opted for the safe choice, Rob Marshall for the popular 2002 musical Chicago, which went on to win the Best Picture Oscar. Somewhat surprisingly, the Academy membership – well, at least enough of them to guarantee a victory – opted for a controversial choice: Roman Polanski, who couldn't show up to accept his award because in the United States he was (and remains) a fugitive from the law.


Joseph L. Mankiewicz for A Letter to Three Wives

John Huston for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre



Robert Rossen for All the King's Men

Joseph L. Mankiewicz for A Letter to Three Wives [see 1948]



Anthony Harvey for The Lion in Winter

Carol Reed for Oliver!



Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather

Bob Fosse for Cabaret



Steven Spielberg for The Color Purple

Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa [Spielberg wasn't even nominated]



Ron Howard for Apollo 13

Mel Gibson for Braveheart [Howard wasn't even nominated]



Ang Lee for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Steven Soderbergh for Traffic



Rob Marshall for Chicago

Roman Polanski for The Pianist

DGA Awards vs. Best Director Oscar nominations


DGA (04)
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives*
Howard Hawks, Red River

John Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Jean Negulesco, Johnny Belinda
Laurence Olivier, Hamlet

Anatole Litvak, The Snake Pit
Fred Zinnemann, The Search

* DGA Award eligibility extended into early 1949



DGA (04)
Mark Robson, Champion
Alfred L. Werker, Lost Boundaries
Carol Reed, The Third Man*

William A. Wellman, Battleground
Carol Reed, The Fallen Idol
William Wyler, The Heiress
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives (see 1948 DGA nominees)

Robert Rossen, All the King's Men

* DGA Award eligibility extended into early 1950



DGA (04)
Vincente Minnelli, Father's Little Dividend

Carol Reed, The Third Man (see 1949 DGA nominees)
George Cukor, Born Yesterday

John Huston, The Asphalt Jungle
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, All About Eve
Billy Wilder, Sunset Blvd.



DGA (12)
Michael Gordon, Cyrano de Bergerac
Henry King, David and Bathsheba
Laszlo Benedek, Death of a Salesman
Anatole Litvak, Decision Before Dawn
Richard Thorpe, The Great Caruso
Mervyn LeRoy, Quo Vadis?
George Sidney, Show Boat
Alfred Hitchcock, Strangers on a Train

John Huston, The African Queen

George Stevens, A Place in the Sun
Elia Kazan, A Streetcar Named Desire
Vincente Minnelli, An American in Paris
William Wyler, Detective Story



DGA (18)
Vincente Minnelli, The Bad and the Beautiful
Howard Hawks, The Big Sky
Charles Vidor, Hans Christian Andersen
Michael Curtiz, I'll See You in My Dreams
Richard Thorpe, Ivanhoe
Charles Crichton, The Lavender Hill Mob
Hugo Fregonese, My Six Convicts
Albert Lewin, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
George Cukor, Pat and Mike
Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon
George Sidney, Scaramouche
Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, Singin' in the Rain
Henry King, The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Elia Kazan, Viva Zapata!

John Huston, Moulin Rouge

John Ford, The Quiet Man
Cecil B. DeMille, The Greatest Show on Earth
Fred Zinnemann, High Noon
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 5 Fingers

Summertime, Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi
Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi in Oscar nominee (but not DGA nominee) David Lean's Summertime


DGA (12)
Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, Above and Beyond
Walter Lang, Call Me Madam
Daniel Mann, Come Back, Little Sheba
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Julius Caesar
Henry Koster, The Robe
Jean Negulesco, Titanic
George Sidney, Young Bess

George Stevens, Shane
Charles Walters, Lili
Billy Wilder, Stalag 17
William Wyler, Roman Holiday
Fred Zinnemann, From Here to Eternity



DGA (16)
Edward Dmytryk, The Caine Mutiny
Alfred Hitchcock, Dial M for Murder
Robert Wise, Executive Suite
Anthony Mann, The Glenn Miller Story
Samuel Fuller, Hell and High Water
Henry King, King of Khyber Rifles
Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, Knock on Wood
Don Siegel, Riot in Cell Block 11
Stanley Donen, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
George Cukor, A Star Is Born
Jean Negulesco, Three Coins in the Fountain

Elia Kazan, On the Waterfront
Alfred Hitchcock, Rear Window
George Seaton, The Country Girl
William A. Wellman, The High and the Mighty
Billy Wilder, Sabrina



DGA (12)
Richard Brooks, Blackboard Jungle
Mark Robson, The Bridges of Toko-Ri
John Ford, The Long Gray Line
Charles Vidor, Love Me or Leave Me
Henry Koster, A Man Called Peter
John Ford and Mervyn LeRoy, Mister Roberts
Daniel Mann, The Rose Tattoo
Billy Wilder, The Seven Year Itch

David Lean, Summertime

Delbert Mann, Marty
Elia Kazan, East of Eden
Joshua Logan, Picnic
John Sturges, Bad Day at Black Rock



DGA (18)
Robert Rossen, Alexander the Great
Joshua Logan, Bus Stop
Henry King, Carousel
George Sidney, The Eddy Duchin Story
Nunnally Johnson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Alfred Hitchcock, The Man Who Knew Too Much
Roy Rowland, Meet Me in Las Vegas
John Huston, Moby Dick
John Ford, The Searchers
Robert Wise, Somebody Up There Likes Me
Daniel Mann, The Teahouse of the August Moon
Carol Reed, Trapeze
Alfred Hitchcock, The Trouble with Harry

George Stevens, Giant
Michael Anderson, Around the World in 80 Days
Walter Lang, The King and I
King Vidor, War and Peace
William Wyler, Friendly Persuasion



DGA (17)
Leo McCarey, An Affair to Remember
Elia Kazan, A Face in the Crowd
Robert Mulligan, Fear Strikes Out
Stanley Donen, Funny Face
Jose Ferrer, The Great Man
John Sturges, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Fred Zinnemann, A Hatful of Rain
John Huston, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
George Cukor, Les Girls
Billy Wilder, Love in the Afternoon
Anthony Mann, Men in War
Stanley Kramer, The Pride and the Passion

David Lean, The Bridge on the River Kwai
Joshua Logan, Sayonara
Sidney Lumet, 12 Angry Men
Mark Robson, Peyton Place
Billy Wilder, Witness for the Prosecution



DGA (14)
William Wyler, The Big Country
Richard Brooks, The Brothers Karamazov
Delmer Daves, Cowboy
George Abbott and Stanley Donen, Damn Yankees!
Martin Ritt, The Long, Hot Summer
George Seaton, Teacher's Pet
Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo
Richard Fleischer, The Vikings
Edward Dmytryk, The Young Lions

Vincente Minnelli, Gigi
Richard Brooks, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Stanley Kramer, The Defiant Ones
Mark Robson, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Robert Wise, I Want to Live!



DGA (13)
Otto Preminger, Anatomy of a Murder
Richard Fleischer, Compulsion
Frank Capra, A Hole in the Head
John Ford, The Horse Soldiers
Douglas Sirk, Imitation of Life
Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest
Leo McCarey, Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!
Howard Hawks, Rio Bravo
Charles Barton, The Shaggy Dog

Jack Clayton, Room at the Top

William Wyler, Ben-Hur
George Stevens, The Diary of Anne Frank
Billy Wilder, Some Like It Hot
Fred Zinnemann, The Nun's Story

Hiroshima Mon Amour, Alain Resnais, Eiji Okada, Emmanuelle Riva
Melina Mercouri, Jules Dassin, Never on Sunday
Eiji Okada, Emmanuelle Riva in DGA (but not Oscar) nominee Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour (top); Melina Mercouri, Jules Dassin in Dassin's Oscar- (but not DGA-) nominated Never on Sunday (bottom)


DGA (14)
Vincente Minnelli, Bells Are Ringing
Walter Lang, Can-Can
Delbert Mann, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
Richard Brooks, Elmer Gantry
Alain Resnais, Hiroshima Mon Amour
Vincente Minnelli, Home from the Hill
Carol Reed, Our Man in Havana
Charles Walters, Please Don't Eat the Daisies
Lewis Gilbert, Sink the Bismarck!
Vincent J. Donehue, Sunrise at Campobello

Jules Dassin, Never on Sunday

Billy Wilder, The Apartment
Jack Cardiff, Sons and Lovers
Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho
Fred Zinnemann, The Sundowners



DGA (21)
Robert Stevenson, The Absent Minded Professor
Blake Edwards, Breakfast at Tiffany's
William Wyler, The Children's Hour
Anthony Mann, El Cid
Joshua Logan, Fanny
Henry Koster, Flower Drum Song
Robert Mulligan, The Great Impostor
Philip Leacock, Hand in Hand
Jack Clayton, The Innocents
Mervyn LeRoy, A Majority of One
John Huston, The Misfits
Marlon Brando, One-Eyed Jacks
Frank Capra, Pocketful of Miracles
Daniel Petrie, A Raisin in the Sun
Peter Ustinov, Romanoff and Juliet
Elia Kazan, Splendor in the Grass
Peter Glenville, Summer and Smoke

Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita

Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, West Side Story
Stanley Kramer, Judgment at Nuremberg
Robert Rossen, The Hustler
J. Lee Thompson, The Guns of Navarone



DGA (16)
Peter Ustinov, Billy Budd
John Frankenheimer, Birdman of Alcatraz
John Huston, Freud
Stanley Kubrick, Lolita
Sidney Lumet, Long Day's Journey Into Night
Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki, The Longest Day
John Frankenheimer, The Manchurian Candidate
Morton DaCosta, The Music Man
Lewis Milestone, Mutiny on the Bounty
Ralph Nelson, Requiem for a Heavyweight
Tony Richardson, A Taste of Honey
Robert Aldrich, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Frank Perry, David and Lisa

David Lean, Lawrence of Arabia
Pietro Germi, Divorce, Italian Style
Robert Mulligan, To Kill a Mockingbird
Arthur Penn, The Miracle Worker



Ralph Nelson, Lilies of the Field

Otto Preminger, The Cardinal

Tony Richardson, Tom Jones
Federico Fellini,
Elia Kazan, America, America
Martin Ritt, Hud



John Huston, The Night of the Iguana

Michael Cacoyannis, Zorba the Greek

George Cukor, My Fair Lady
Peter Glenville, Becket
Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove
Robert Stevenson, Mary Poppins



Elliot Silverstein, Cat Ballou
Sidney J. Furie, The Ipcress File
Sidney Lumet, The Pawnbroker

William Wyler, The Collector
David Lean, Doctor Zhivago
Hiroshi Teshigahara, Woman in the Dunes

Robert Wise, The Sound of Music
John Schlesinger, Darling



DGA (10)
Lewis Gilbert, Alfie
James Hill, Born Free
Silvio Narizzano, Georgy Girl
John Frankenheimer, Grand Prix
Norman Jewison, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming
Robert Wise, The Sand Pebbles

Michelangelo Antonioni, Blow-Up

Fred Zinnemann, A Man for All Seasons
Richard Brooks, The Professionals
Claude Lelouch, A Man and a Woman
Mike Nichols, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?



DGA (10)
Stuart Rosenberg, Cool Hand Luke
Robert Aldrich, The Dirty Dozen
James Clavell, To Sir, with Love
Stanley Donen, Two for the Road
Joseph Strick, Ulysses

Mike Nichols, The Graduate
Richard Brooks, In Cold Blood
Norman Jewison, In the Heat of the Night
Stanley Kramer, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Arthur Penn, Bonnie and Clyde



DGA (10)
William Wyler, Funny Girl
Paul Almond, Isabel
Gene Saks, The Odd Couple
Jirí Menzel, Closely Watched Trains
Paul Newman, Rachel, Rachel
Roman Polanski, Rosemary's Baby

Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers

Carol Reed, Oliver!
Anthony Harvey, The Lion in Winter
Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Franco Zeffirelli, Romeo and Juliet



DGA (10)
Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider
Larry Peerce, Goodbye, Columbus
Gene Kelly, Hello, Dolly!
Haskell Wexler, Medium Cool
Richard Attenborough, Oh! What a Lovely War
Sam Peckinpah, The Wild Bunch

Arthur Penn, Alice's Restaurant

John Schlesinger, Midnight Cowboy
Costa-Gavras, Z
George Roy Hill, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Sydney Pollack, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Murder on the Orient Express movie, Martin Balsam, Albert Finney
Martin Balsam, Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express, directed by DGA (but not Oscar) nominee Sidney Lumet


David Lean, Ryan's Daughter
Bob Rafelson, Five Easy Pieces

Federico Fellini, Satyricon
Ken Russell, Women in Love

Franklin J. Schaffner, Patton
Robert Altman, MASH
Arthur Hiller, Love Story



Robert Mulligan, Summer of '42

Norman Jewison, Fiddler on the Roof

William Friedkin, The French Connection
Peter Bogdanovich, The Last Picture Show
Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange
John Schlesinger, Sunday Bloody Sunday



George Roy Hill, Slaughterhouse-Five
Martin Ritt, Sounder

Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Sleuth
Jan Troell, The Emigrants

Bob Fosse, Cabaret
John Boorman, Deliverance
Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather



Sidney Lumet, Serpico

Ingmar Bergman, Cries & Whispers

George Roy Hill, The Sting
Bernardo Bertolucci, Last Tango in Paris
William Friedkin, The Exorcist
George Lucas, American Graffiti



Sidney Lumet, Murder on the Orient Express
Francis Ford Coppola, The Conversation

John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence
François Truffaut, Day for Night

Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather: Part II
Bob Fosse, Lenny
Roman Polanski, Chinatown



Steven Spielberg, Jaws

Federico Fellini, Amarcord

Milos Forman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Robert Altman, Nashville
Stanley Kubrick, Barry Lyndon
Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon



Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver

Ingmar Bergman, Face to Face

John G. Avildsen, Rocky
Sidney Lumet, Network
Alan J. Pakula, All the President's Men
Lina Wertmüller, Seven Beauties



Woody Allen, Annie Hall
George Lucas, Star Wars
Herbert Ross, The Turning Point
Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Fred Zinnemann, Julia



Paul Mazursky, An Unmarried Woman

Woody Allen, Interiors

Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter
Hal Ashby, Coming Home
Warren Beatty & Buck Henry, Heaven Can Wait
Alan Parker, Midnight Express



Woody Allen, Manhattan
James Bridges, The China Syndrome

Bob Fosse, All That Jazz
Édouard Molinaro, La Cage aux folles

Robert Benton, Kramer vs. Kramer
Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now
Peter Yates, Breaking Away

Bob Hoskins, Jessica Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Robert Zemeckis
Willem Dafoe, The Last Temptation of Christ
Bob Hoskins, Jessica Rabbit in Robert Zemeckis' DGA- (but not Oscar-) nominated Who Framed Roger Rabbit (top); Willem Dafoe in Martin Scorsese's Oscar- (but not DGA-) nominated The Last Temptation of Christ (bottom)


Michael Apted, Coal Miner's Daughter

Roman Polanski, Tess

Robert Redford, Ordinary People
David Lynch, The Elephant Man
Richard Rush, The Stunt Man
Martin Scorsese, Raging Bull



Warren Beatty, Reds
Hugh Hudson, Chariots of Fire
Louis Malle, Atlantic City
Mark Rydell, On Golden Pond
Steven Spielberg, Raiders of the Lost Ark



Taylor Hackford, An Officer and a Gentleman

Sidney Lumet, The Verdict

Richard Attenborough, Gandhi
Wolfgang Petersen, Das Boot
Sydney Pollack, Tootsie
Steven Spielberg, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial



Lawrence Kasdan, The Big Chill
Philip Kaufman, The Right Stuff

Mike Nichols, Silkwood
Peter Yates, The Dresser

James L. Brooks, Terms of Endearment
Bruce Beresford, Tender Mercies
Ingmar Bergman, Fanny and Alexander



Norman Jewison, A Soldier's Story

Woody Allen, Broadway Danny Rose

Milos Forman, Amadeus
Robert Benton, Places in the Heart
Roland Joffé, The Killing Fields
David Lean, A Passage to India



Steven Spielberg, The Color Purple
Ron Howard, Cocoon

Akira Kurosawa, Ran
Hector Babenco, Kiss of the Spider Woman

Sydney Pollack, Out of Africa
John Huston, Prizzi's Honor
Peter Weir, Witness



Randa Haines, Children of a Lesser God
Rob Reiner, Stand By Me

Roland Joffé, The Mission
David Lynch, Blue Velvet

Oliver Stone, Platoon
Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters
James Ivory, A Room with a View



James L. Brooks, Broadcast News
Steven Spielberg, Empire of the Sun

Norman Jewison, Moonstruck
John Boorman, Hope and Glory

Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor
Lasse Hallström, My Life as a Dog
Adrian Lyne, Fatal Attraction



Robert Zemeckis, Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ

Barry Levinson, Rain Man
Charles Crichton, A Fish Called Wanda
Mike Nichols, Working Girl
Alan Parker, Mississippi Burning



Phil Alden Robinson, Field of Dreams
Rob Reiner, When Harry Met Sally…

Kenneth Branagh, Henry V
Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot

Oliver Stone, Born on the Fourth of July
Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors
Peter Weir, Dead Poets Society

Harrison Ford, The Fugitive movie
Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins, Short Cuts, Robert Atlman
Harrison Ford in Andrew Davis' DGA- (but not Oscar-) nominated The Fugitive (top); Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins in Robert Altman's Oscar- (but not DGA-) nominated Short Cuts (bottom)


Barry Levinson, Avalon
Giuseppe Tornatore, Cinema Paradiso [the 1988 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner; ineligible for the 1990 Academy Awards]

Stephen Frears, The Grifters
Barbet Schroeder, Reversal of Fortune

Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves
Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather: Part III
Martin Scorsese, Goodfellas



Barbra Streisand, The Prince of Tides

John Singleton, Boyz n the Hood

Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs
Barry Levinson, Bugsy
Ridley Scott, Thelma & Louise
Oliver Stone, JFK



Rob Reiner, A Few Good Men

Martin Brest, Scent of a Woman

Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven
Robert Altman, The Player
James Ivory, Howards End
Neil Jordan, The Crying Game



Martin Scorsese, The Age of Innocence
Andrew Davis, The Fugitive

Jim Sheridan, In the Name of the Father
Robert Altman, Short Cuts

Steven Spielberg, Schindler's List
Jane Campion, The Piano
James Ivory, The Remains of the Day



Mike Newell, Four Weddings and a Funeral
Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption

Woody Allen, Bullets Over Broadway
Krzysztof Kieslowski, Three Colors: Red

Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump
Robert Redford, Quiz Show
Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction



Ron Howard, Apollo 13
Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility

Chris Noonan, Babe
Tim Robbins, Dead Man Walking

Mel Gibson, Braveheart
Mike Figgis, Leaving Las Vegas
Michael Radford, Il Postino



Cameron Crowe, Jerry Maguire

Milos Forman, The People vs. Larry Flynt

Anthony Minghella, The English Patient
Joel Coen, Fargo
Scott Hicks, Shine
Mike Leigh, Secrets & Lies



James L. Brooks, As Good as It Gets
Steven Spielberg, Amistad

Peter Cattaneo, The Full Monty
Atom Egoyan, The Sweet Hereafter

James Cameron, Titanic
Curtis Hanson, L.A. Confidential
Gus Van Sant, Good Will Hunting



Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan
Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful
John Madden, Shakespeare in Love
Terrence Malick, The Thin Red Line
Peter Weir, The Truman Show



Frank Darabont, The Green Mile

Lasse Hallström, The Cider House Rules

Sam Mendes, American Beauty
Spike Jonze, Being John Malkovich
Michael Mann, The Insider
M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense

Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann
Nicole Kidman in Baz Luhrmann's DGA- (but not Oscar-) nominated Moulin Rouge!


Cameron Crowe, Almost Famous

Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot

Steven Soderbergh, Traffic
Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Ridley Scott, Gladiator
Steven Soderbergh, Erin Brockovich



Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge!
Christopher Nolan, Memento

Robert Altman, Gosford Park
David Lynch, Mulholland Dr.

Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind
Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down



Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Pedro Almodóvar, Talk to Her

Roman Polanski, The Pianist
Stephen Daldry, The Hours
Rob Marshall, Chicago
Martin Scorsese, Gangs of New York



Gary Ross, Seabiscuit

Fernando Meirelles, City of God

Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation
Clint Eastwood, Mystic River
Peter Weir, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World



Marc Forster, Finding Neverland

Mike Leigh, Vera Drake

Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackford, Ray
Alexander Payne, Sideways
Martin Scorsese, The Aviator



Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck.
Paul Haggis, Crash
Bennett Miller, Capote
Steven Spielberg, Munich



Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Little Miss Sunshine
Bill Condon, Dreamgirls

Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima
Paul Greengrass, United 93

Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel



Sean Penn, Into the Wild

Jason Reitman, Juno

Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly



Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight

Stephen Daldry, The Reader

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant, Milk



Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds



Christopher Nolan, Inception

Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network
David O. Russell, The Fighter



David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris



Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Source for the DGA nominations: IMDb.

Photo: The Reader (The Weinstein Co.)

DGA Awards vs. Best Director Oscar: Academy Less Populist & More Daring © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about 'DGA Awards vs. Best Director Oscar: Academy Less Populist & More Daring'

NOTE: *Thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative. Abusive/bigoted, trollish/inflammatory, baseless (spreading misinformation, whether intentionally or not), spammy, and/or just plain deranged comments will be zapped. Links found in comments will generally be deleted.

5 Comments to DGA Awards vs. Best Director Oscar: Academy Less Populist & More Daring

  1. altfilmguide


    Point well taken re: explanatory legends if/when this article is expanded.

    Having said that, the list is just that: a list, where you can see who was nominated for either the DGA Awards or the Best Director Oscar – or both.

    The “occasional blue highlight” means: live hyperlink.

  2. Rafe

    Try as I might, and I'm very bright, this very long list really made no sense without a legend to explain it. Just a bunch of director's names listed under either Academy Awards or Directors Guild, but without an explanatory legend. And what does the occasional blue highlight signifying? Finally, where's the connection to Streisand and Spielberg? Is there missing text?

  3. Geoff Talbot

    Elia Kazan has to be one of the great directors of all time. He really understood the science of acting unlike many of today's great directors who are effects heavy and story light.

  4. Vince

    Yes, I agree with Jonathan. Barbra has been overlooked and it is shameful. She truly is the talent of the century.

  5. Jonathan

    Barbra Streisand has been snubbed for Best Director not only for “The Prince Of Tides” (1991) but for “Yentl” (1983) as well… She always gets her “Best Picture” nominations… but who made the film? The director. Not alone of course, anyone who knows anything about Streisand is that she is detail obsessed!
    But time after time… she is overlooked by the Oscars for her directorial efforts.
    She deserved to have been the first woman to win best director.