Best Director Oscar Winners – 1980s

With the auteur era of the New Hollywood 1970s nearing an end, Hollywood films began taking on a more conventional form once again as directors were reviving once popular genres like the historical epic and family drama. In the 1980s, a pair of huge screen stars won their first Oscars for directing while an Italian legend became the first Western filmmaker to shoot behind the walls of Beijing’s Forbidden City. Some extraordinary films were made in the decade of greed and indulgence, some of which have been elevated into modern classics. Here are all 10 winners for the Best Director Academy Award for the years 1980-1989.

6 Worst Oscar Winners of All Time

Whether for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, or Best Director, there has been some winner who could charitably be said to have been less than deserving of the Oscar. Some winners have benefited from weak competition, others were rewarded for the entirety of their careers, and at least one manged to win because of threats to Academy voters. Though a comprehensive list would be exhausting, here are six of the most egregious winners of the Academy Award.

Douglas Sirk and Rock Hudson Classic Movies

While their collaboration lasted only six years, director Douglas Sirk and actor Rock Hudson made eight films together, a few of which have been revered by later generations as unsung classics. Sirk was a highly successful director of commercial films who was often dismissed by contemporary critics, while Hudson was nothing more than a supporting player until working with the director. Together, Sirk and Hudson made several great classics that were box office hits in their day and later seen by scholars as important additions to 1950s cinema.

Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder Classic Movies

Over the course of seven films together, actor Jack Lemmon and director Billy Wilder made several unforgettable pictures, two of which are certifiably iconic. Wilder was already well established as one of Hollywood’s great directors when he began to work with Lemmon, who was mainly a supporting player before being turned into a leading man by the director. The Lemmon-Wilder partnership was also notable for creating the first pairing between another great duo, Lemmon and Walter Matthau, both of whom made two movies with Wilder. While their best films were made early on, there’s no doubt that Lemmon and Wilder were one of the greatest actor-director partnerships of all time.

John Ford and Maureen O'Hara Classic Movies

While John Ford had a far more prolific collaboration with John Wayne, the director also helmed five films with Maureen O’Hara, undoubtedly his favorite actress. Though it only lasted five movies – as compared to the 21 pictures Ford made with Wayne – their partnership produced a number of lasting classics. Unlike some actresses at the time, O’Hara was more than willing to tackling more physically challenging roles, making her a perfect fit in Westerns and other action-oriented movies. Here are all five films made between John Ford and Maureen O’Hara.

Humphrey Bogart and John Huston Movies

While not as highly regarded as other actor-director combos, like Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart or George Cukor and Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and John Huston collaborated on five films, four of which have stood the test of time as all-time classics. Combining Huston’s dramatic ambition with Bogie’s world-weary persona, their partnership was the stuff dreams were made of, as the two were kindred spirits both on- and off-screen. Bogart won his only Oscar thanks to his work with Huston, while in turn the director won his only Academy Award for Best Director. Here are four great classic movies made by Humphrey Bogart and John Huston.

8 Must-See David Lean Films

Known for his sweeping historical epics, David Lean directed some of the grandest movies Hollywood has ever known and possessed a technical command few were able to master. Lean’s blockbusters of the late 1950s and 1960s made an indelible mark on cinema and won the director two Academy Awards. While few may remember his name, Lean’s iconic movies and the powerful images they conjure remain infused in our collective psyche.

Best Director 1930s

Having emerged from the silent era, Hollywood entered into its first full decade of talkie films and with it came some extraordinary pictures made by some of the greatest directors of all time. Names like John Ford, Frank Capra, Victor Fleming and Leo McCarey all rose to prominence and won Oscars for films that have since become masterpieces. Here are all the Academy Award winners for Best Director in the 1930s.

Best Director 1940s

In the 1940s, the Academy moved away from honoring the screwball comedies prevalent in the previous decade in favor of more dramatic fare, when escape from the Great Depression gave way to a serious outlook brought on by World War II. The Golden Age of Hollywood saw many great directing efforts bestowed by Oscar and some questionable ones as well. Here are all ten Oscar winners for Best Director from the 1940s.


Made on a tight budget financed by the director himself, ‘Psycho’ (1960) was a major box office hit that ushered in a new genre of film and ranked high as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films. Starring Janet Leigh as the ill-fated Marion Crane and Anthony Perkins as cross-dressing serial killer Norman Bates, ‘Psycho’ has been the subject of endless fascination and speculation for over five decades.