Best Director Trivia

Note: In all listings of nominations, icon denotes a win.

Most Nominations for Best Director

  • William Wyler (12 nominations, 3 wins)
  • Martin Scorcese (8 nominations, 1 win)
  • Billy Wilder (8 nominations, 2 wins)

Most Directing Oscars

John Ford was only nominated for 5 Academy Awards for directing. 16 other men can claim that or better, but he holds the record for the most wins for Best Director with 4. John won for:

  • The Informer (1935)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  • How Green Was My Valley (1941)
  • The Quiet Man (1952)

Most Directing Nominations Without A Single Win

  • Clarence Brown — 6 nominations
  • Romance (1929/30)
  • Anna Christie (1929/30)
  • A Free Soul (1930/31)
  • The Human Comedy (1943)
  • National Velvet (1944)
  • The Yearling (1946)

Back-to-Back Directing Oscars

  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz — A Letter to Three Wives (1949), All About Eve (1950)
  • John Ford — Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Directors Who Directed Themselves to Acting Oscars

  • Laurence Olivier — Hamlet (1948)
  • Roberto Benigni — Life is Beautiful (1998)

Charlie Chaplin also received an honorary Oscar at the 1927/28 Oscars for "acting, writing, directing and producing The Circus." Likewise, Sir Laurence Olivier received an honorary Oscar at the 1946 Oscars for "his outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen. Though neither of these is a competitive award, the Academy officially lists both men as having "directed themselves to an acting award."

Person to Direct the Most Acting Award Winning Performances

William Wyler directed 36 Oscar-nominated and 14 Oscar-winning performances; the winners are:

  • Walter Brennan — Come and Get It (1936)
  • Bette Davis — Jezebel (1938)
  • Fay Bainter — Jezebel (1938)
  • Walter Brennan — The Westerner (1940)
  • Greer Garson — Mrs. Miniver (1942)
  • Teresa Wright — Mrs. Miniver (1942)
  • Frederic March — The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  • Harold Russell — The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  • Olivia de Havilland — The Heiress (1949)
  • Audrey Hepburn — Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Burl Ives — The Big Country (1958)
  • Charleton Heston — Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Hugh Griffith — Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Barbra Streisand — Funny Girl (1968)

No one else has ever directed more than 24 Oscar-nominated performances (Elia Kazan & Martin Scorsese), or more than 9 winning performances (Kazan).

The Only Women Nominated As Best Director

  • Lina Wertmuller — Seven Beauties (1976)
  • Jane Campion — The Piano (1994)
  • Sophia Coppola — Lost in Translation (2003)
  • Kathryn Bigelow — The Hurt Locker (2009)
  • Greta Gerwig — Lady Bird (2017)

Oldest/Youngest Best Directors

  • Youngest Nominee: John Singleton, Age 24, Boyz N the Hood (1991)
  • Youngest Winner: Damien Chazelle, Age 32, La La Land (2016)
  • Oldest Nominee: John Huston, Age 79, Prizzi's Honor (1985)
  • Oldest Winner: Clint Eastwood, Age 74, Million Dollar Baby (2004)