Academy Award For Best Director - International Presence

International Presence

As the Academy Awards are based in the United States and are centered on the Hollywood film industry, the majority of Academy Award winners have been Americans. Nonetheless, there is significant international presence at the awards, as evidenced by the following list of winners of the Academy Award for Best Director.

  • Australia: Mel Gibson, Tom Hooper (Gibson, a U.S. citizen, moved with his family to Australia at the age of 12. Hooper, born in the U.K., is a dual citizen of Australia and the United Kingdom as his mother was born in Australia.)
  • Austria: Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann (Both Wilder and Zinnemann moved to America in their twenties and became naturalized U.S. citizens.)
  • Canada: James Cameron (Cameron was applying to become a U.S. citizen.)
  • Czech Republic: Miloš Forman (naturalized U.S. citizen since 1977)
  • France: Michel Hazanavicius
  • Germany: William Wyler, Mike Nichols (After moving to America in 1921, Wyler became a naturalized U.S. citizen in his twenties. Wyler was born in Alsace which was part of the German Empire then, but now is part of France. Nichols' family moved from Germany when he was eight-years old, and he became a naturalized U.S. citizen five years later.)
  • Italy: Bernardo Bertolucci
  • New Zealand: Peter Jackson
  • Poland: Roman Polanski (French citizenship)
  • Taiwan: Ang Lee (naturalized U.S. citizen who has lived in America since the early 1980s.)
  • United Kingdom: Richard Attenborough, Danny Boyle, David Lean, Sam Mendes, Anthony Minghella, Carol Reed, Tony Richardson, John Schlesinger, and Tom Hooper

However, no director has won for a film that is entirely in a foreign language.

There have been 20 directors nominated for films entirely or significantly in a foreign (non-English) language.

  • Federico Fellini (nominated for 4 films, which were all in Italian)
  • Ingmar Bergman (nominated for 3 films, which were all in Swedish)
  • Pietro Germi (Italian)
  • Hiroshi Teshigahara (Japanese)
  • Claude Lelouch (French)
  • Gillo Pontecorvo (Italian-born director nominated for The Battle of Algiers, which was in French and Arabic)
  • Costa Gavras (Greek-born director nominated for French-language film Z.)
  • Jan Troell (Swedish)
  • François Truffaut (French)
  • Lina Wertmuller (Italian)
  • Edouard Molinaro (French)
  • Wolfgang Petersen (German)
  • Akira Kurosawa (Japanese)
  • Lasse Hallström (Swedish. He was also nominated for the English-language film The Cider House Rules.)
  • Krzysztof Kieslowski (Polish-born director nominated for French-language film Three Colours: Red)
  • Michael Radford (an English-born director nominated for the Italian-language film Il Postino.)
  • Roberto Benigni (Italian)
  • Ang Lee (Taiwanese-born director nominated for the Mandarin-language film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He would later win for the English-language film Brokeback Mountain.)
  • Pedro Almodóvar (Spanish)
  • Fernando Meirelles (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Clint Eastwood (an American director nominated for the Japanese-language film Letters from Iwo Jima, which has a few brief scenes in English).
  • Julian Schnabel (an American director nominated for the French-language film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.)

Ironically, internationally known filmmakers Jean Renoir (for The Southerner), Michelangelo Antonioni (for Blowup) and Louis Malle (for Atlantic City) were nominated for films that were in English and not their native language.

Nominations for films primarily in English with some scenes (of a notable length) in another language include:

  • Jules Dassin for Never on Sunday (Greek)
  • Bernardo Bertolucci for Last Tango in Paris (French)
  • Francis Coppola for The Godfather Part II (Italian) (Winner)
  • Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves (Lakota and Pawnee) (Winner)
  • Steven Soderbergh for Traffic (Spanish) (Winner)
  • Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (fictional Elven) (winner)
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel (Spanish, Arabic, French, Japanese, Japanese Sign Language, Berber)
  • Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (Hindi) (Winner)
  • Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (French, German and Italian)
  • James Cameron for Avatar (fictional Na'vi language)

Several international nominees (regardless of the language used in their respective films) include:

  • Australia: Bruce Beresford, Scott Hicks, Chris Noonan and Peter Weir
  • Austria: Otto Preminger, Josef von Sternberg
  • Brazil: Héctor Babenco, Fernando Meirelles
  • Canada: Atom Egoyan, Arthur Hiller, Norman Jewison and Jason Reitman
  • Cyprus: Michael Cacoyannis
  • France: Michel Hazanavicius, Claude Lelouch, Louis Malle and François Truffaut
  • Germany: William Dieterle, Ernst Lubitsch and Wolfgang Petersen
  • Greece: Costa Gavras
  • India: M. Night Shyamalan
  • Ireland: Jim Sheridan, Neil Jordan and Kenneth Branagh
  • Italy: Roberto Benigni, Federico Fellini, Pietro Germi, Gillo Pontecorvo, Lina Wertmüller, Franco Zeffirelli and Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Japan: Akira Kurosawa and Hiroshi Teshigahara
  • Mexico: Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • New Zealand: Jane Campion
  • Poland: Krzysztof Kieślowski
  • Spain: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Sweden: Ingmar Bergman, Lasse Hallström and Jan Troell
  • United Kingdom: Alfred Hitchcock, John Boorman, Peter Cattaneo, Charles Crichton, Stephen Daldry, Stephen Frears, Laurence Olivier, Paul Greengrass, Roland Joffé, Mike Leigh, Adrian Lyne, Hugh Hudson, Alan Parker and Ridley Scott

Read more about this topic:  Academy Award For Best Director

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