Hollywood is home to several iconic film-makers and while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has bestowed men such as Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood with the grandest prize in the movie industry, it is surprising to see how many other great directors who’s Never won an Oscar have been overlooked over the years. While a few of the entries in the list may have won an Oscar for Best Screenplay or an Honorary Academy Award. There are also many actors never won Oscar. Following are the 15 legendary directors who never won an Oscar till date:
15. George Lucas
Movie fanatics are much thankful to George Lucas due to his creation of the astounding Star Wars Universe and the world’s most famous archeologist, Indiana Jones. As the director of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and the first part of the Original trilogy, Lucas was once the biggest name in Hollywood.
A man behind limited yet impactful movies, the American film director was nominated twice for both the Academy Award for Best Director as well as Best Screenplay for American Graffiti in 1973 and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in 1977 but surprisingly came up short.
14. Arthur Penn
Beginning his career as a director of stage shows and television serials, the magnificence of Arthur Penn as a film-maker were quickly noticed by Warner Bros. and superstardom was evitable. Phenomenal in the art of storytelling, Penn had a ton of success with his biographical crime film Bonnie and Clyde.
Nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Director, Penn remained steadfast even after not winning any of them and continued to make films till the late 1990s. His old age got the best of him and reduced back to television. One of his last roles was as an executive producer for NBC’s legal drama series Law & Order which ran for twenty seasons.
13. Ingmar Bergman
Probably the best director not having an American, British or Italian heritage, Ingmar Bergman is documented as one of the most accomplished and influential auteurs of all time. As a token of honor, the now-defunct Swedish film award known as the Ingmar Bergman Award was named after him.
Several iconic film-makers have praised the directional skills of the Sweden film-maker including Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Stanley Kubrick. Three of his movies won the Academy Award for Best Foreign film. With three unsuccessful Oscar nominations for Best Director, Bergman still enjoys the status of one of the greatest directors of his time.
12. Ridley Scott
Agreed that majority of the movies made by the English film director have not been a work of wonder, it still cannot be denied that he is quite better than most of the film-makers alive today and his three Academy Award nominations for Best Director proves it. Utilizing artificial intelligence and father-son quarrels in few of his movies, Scott knew how to grab his audience’s attention.
Active since 1975 and recently directed the controversial epic film Exodus: Gods and Kings, chances for the 77-year old Ridley Scott winning the biggest prize in Hollywood quite frankly seem slim to none but his legacy will forever live on through his finest works such as Blade Runner, Alien, Thelma & Louise and of course the epic historical drama movie Gladiator.
11. David Lynch
With the intentions to “disturb, offend or mystify” his own audience, David Lynch has often been subjected to promoting violence. Despite all the negativity, the American film director has enjoyed a fair share of success but still has managed to leave his mark on the movie industry.
Known as the very first surrealist director, All movie once bestowed him the title of “the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking”. Failing to win the Academy Award for Best Actor on three different occasions, Lynch keeps himself busy by a couple of television series these days.
10. Sidney Lumet
For Sidney Lumet, film-making and drama was a family affair. Impressed by his father’s acting credits in the Yiddish theater, the enthusiastic Lumet studied acting from Columbia University and never looked back. Beginning his career as a director, Lumet worked with the best Hollywood actors of his time.
Legendary actor Sean Connery claimed he was one of the few directors who had a “vision thing” and that was by all means true as shown in classics 12 Angry Men and Dog Day Afternoon. Simply a master of cinema, among the five Academy Award nominations Lumet had, he received four for Best Director but won none.
9. Tim Burton
Responsible for several blockbuster films such as Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Batman and best known for his gothic, dark and macabre themes, Tim Burton is one of the most well-known film-makers of his time and perhaps the very best when it comes to the genre of fantasy horror.
The director has also been cited for establishing the acting career of his most frequent collaborator, Johnny Depp. Also a worthy animator, Burton has received two Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature for Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie but never even once he has received a nomination for Best Director. Considering the fact that his themes are not at all mainstream, it can be assumed that Burton winning an Oscar is a long shot to say the least.
8. Christopher Nolan
Hollywood has drastically changed over the years. While many rely on frequent action sequences, explosions and even profanity to make it big in the box office, Christopher Nolan stands out as one of the few directors who are actually very well aware of what the art of film-making is all about. Imaginative and creative, the credibility of Nolan might never be replicated by any other director.
Just when everyone though that he cannot make a better movie than Inception, Nolan out did himself by making Interstellar. He might be the best director of this generation. With only three Oscar nominations and not even one for Best Director, it is often suspected whether the Academy has a dispute against the inspiring director.