Thousands of big and small budget films are made each year but only a few get the critical and commercial success.
When a film is being made, the director is the captain of ship. His storytelling skills and how he uses his actors to bring out the best in them decides the fate of a film. There are always a number of filmmakers who are give it their all and create masterpieces. The Academy Awards, also called Oscars, first started back in 1929 and over the years has grown into the most prestigious award ceremony in the world of movies.
Although, an Oscar cannot be the only benchmark of the greatness of a filmmaker but it can function a good point of reference for comparison. Lets look at the 9 Present day directors to have won the most Oscars:
9. Christopher Nolan - 10 Oscars
Christopher Nolan has amazed us time and again with his creative storytelling with movies like Inception, Interstellar and Batman series. It is interesting to note that Nolan is the only director yet to win a “Best Director or a “Best Picture” award although most his films have been super successful on the box office. But his films have won in other categories, such as Inception and Dunkirk who have 4 and 3 Oscars under their name respectively.
8. Damien Chazelle - 10 Oscars
The 35 year old master filmmaker is known for films like La La land that won 6 Oscars including the “Best Director” and “Best picture” award. For the same movie, he became the youngest person to win an academy award at the age of 32.
His previous work, 2014's Whiplash, another drama related to music, won 3 Oscars.
7. Sam Mendes - 12 Oscars
Sam Mendes has directed a total of 8 movies and 5 of them have won academy awards in various categories. He kickstarted his career with the directorial journey with the 1999 film “American Beauty” that won him the Academy and Golden Globe Award for Best Director- making it his most successful film. The movie went on to win 5 oscars. His last film 1917 was also a critical success at the box office that got nominated in 10 categories and won in 3.
6. Ang Lee - 12 Oscars
The Taiwanese filmmaker is most famous for his film “Life of Pi” that revolves around the story of a young shipwreck survivor stuck drifting across the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. This epic journey of adventure and discovery won 4 Oscars including the best director.
Previously, his 2000 martial art film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, won 4 Oscars as well and is considered one of the most influential films of its time
5. Clint Eastwood - 13 Oscars
His is one of the greatest actors turned director in America.
Eastwood gained international acclaim in his career through his roles in various iconic westerns such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
4. Peter Jackson - 20 Oscars
This New Zealand born filmmaker is the man behind the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Lord of the rings is the highest selling book of all time but what took its popularity to the next level is the 3 part movie series directed by Jackson (that initially was considered too ambitious to be made into a film). The trilogy made over $6 billion at the box office and won 17 Oscars between them.
His 2005 monster movie King Kong also remains one of his most iconic films, which won 3 Oscars and many other awards for its outstanding visual effects.
3. Martin Scorsese - 20 Oscars
Regarded as one of the most significant and influential directors in the American film industry, Scorsese has shown the light of the day to films like Taxi Driver (1976), Good Fellas (1990), Casino (1995), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) among many others.
While success in the careers of many directors nowadays comes from working on massive Hollywood blockbusters and franchises, Martin Scorsese is a director of artistic means who only deals in singular masterpieces. The fact that he is the living director with the most number of Best Director nominations is proof of this.
His films The Aviator (2004) and Hugo (2011) have both won 5 Oscars, and his 2006 film The Departed bagged him 4 Oscars including the Academy Award for Best Director.
2. James Cameron - 21 Oscars
The Legendary filmmaker is credited for making on of the most iconic franchises- The Terminator series. In total, Cameron's films have grossed US$6 billion worldwide. Avatar and Titanic are the second and third highest-grossing films of all time, earning $2.78 billion and $2.19 billion, respectively.
1. Steven Spielberg - 32 Oscars
In terms of Oscar wins, there is no other director who comes close to Spielberg. With 32 Oscars in his kitty, his most remarkable works include E.T (4 Oscars), Jurassic Park(3 Oscars), Jaws (4 Oscars), Schindler’s List (7 Oscars), Saving Private Ryan (5 Oscars).
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Anubhav Gaur, Founder & Content Creator @ Skyshot Media