Oscar Directors: Age of Winning (Complete Survey of All Winners)

Research in Progress: Oct 2, 2021

When Damien Chazelle, the creator of the highly acclaimed musical La La Land, won the Best Director Oscar, he became the youngest ever–only 32–to achieve that record.

The following essay is part of a bigger project dealing with age, productivity, and creativity in Hollywood.

I am using the age at which a filmmaker got his/her first Best Director Oscar as an indicator of  peer recognition and professional success.

 

Name                  Film                   Year       Age

Borzage, Frank– Seventh Heaven, 1927-28,  35

Milestone, Lewis–Two Arabian Knights, 1927-28,  33

Lloyd, Frank–The Divine Lady, 1928-29, 44

Milestone, Lewis–All Quiet on Western Front, 1929-30, 35

Norman Taurog–Skippy, 1930-31, 32

Borzage, Frank–Bad Girl, 1931-32, 38

Lloyd, Frank–Cavalcade, 1932-33, 48

Capra, Frank–It Happened One Night, 1934, 39

Ford, John–The Informer, 1935, 42

Capra, Frank–Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, 1936, 41

McCarey, Leo–The Awful Truth, 1937, 39

Capra, Frank–You Can’t Take It With You 1938, 41

Fleming, Victor–Gone with the Wind, 1939, 51

Ford, John–The Grapes of Wrath, 1940, 45

Ford, John–How Green Was My Valley, 1941, 47

Wyler, William–Mrs. Miniver, 1942, 40

Curtiz, Michael, Casablanca, 1943, 57

McCarey, Leo, Going My Way, 1944, 46

Wilder, Billy–The Lost Weekend, 1945, 39

Wyler, William–The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946, 44

Kazan, Elia==Gentleman’s Agreement, 1947, 38

Huston, John–The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948, 42

Mankiewicz, Joseph–Letter to Three Wives, 1949, 41

Mankiewicz, Joseph–All About Eve, 1950, 42

Stevens, George–A Place in the Sun, 1951, 47

Ford, John–The Quiet Man, 1952, 59

Zinnemann, Fred–From Here to Eternity, 1953, 46

Kazan, Elia–On the Waterfront, 1954, 45

Mann, Delbert–Marty, 1955, 36

Stevens, George–Giant, 1956, 52

Lean, David–The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957, 50

Minnelli, Vincente–Gigi, 1958, 56

William Wyler–Ben-Hur, 1959, 57

Wilder, Billy–The Apartment, 1960, 54

Wise, Robert–West Side Story, 1961, 47

Robbins, Jerome–West Side Story, 1961, 43

Lean, David–Lawrence of Arabia, 1962, 55

Richardson, Tony–Tom Jones, 1963, 35

Cukor, George–My Fair Lady, 1964, 65

Wise, Robert–The Sound of Music, 1965, 47

Zinnemann, Fred–A Man for All Seasons, 1966, 59

Nichols, Mike–The Graduate, 1967,  36

Reed, Carol–Oliver! 1968, 62

Schlesinger, John–Midnight Cowboy, 1969, 44

Schaffner, Franklin–Patton, 1970,  50

Altman, Robert–M.A.S. H. 1970, 45

Friedkin, William–The French Connection, 1971, 36

Fosse, Bob–Cabaret, 1972, 45

Hill, George Roy–The Sting, 1973, 52

Coppola, Francis–The Godfather, Part II 1974, 36

Forman, Milos–One Flew Over Cuckoos, 1975, 44

Avildsen, John–Rocky, 1976, 41

Allen, Woody–Annie Hall, 1977, 42

Cimino, Michael–The Deer Hunter, 1978, 30

Benton, Robert–Kramer Vs. Kramer, 1979, 47

Redford, Robert–Ordinary People, 1980, 44

Beatty, Warren–Reds, 1981, 44

Attenborough, Richard–Gandhi, 1982, 59

Brooks, James L.–Terms of Endearment, 1983, 43

Forman, Milos–Amadeus, 1984, 52 (second Oscar)

Pollack, Sydney–Out of Africa, 1985, 51

Stone, Oliver            Platoon                        1986                      40

Bertolucci, B           The Last Emperor      1987                   48

Levinson, Barry      Rain Man                               1988                  46

Stone, Oliver            Born on Fourth of July    1989                     43

Costner, Kevin        Dances With Wolves          1990                     36

Demme, Jonathan–Silence of the Lambs    1991, 48

Eastwood, Clint      Unforgiven       1992                     62

Spielberg, Steven–Schindler’s List    1993                     47

Zemeckis, Robert   Forrest Gump, 1994, 42

Gibson, Mel–Braveheart, 1995, 40

Minghella, Anthony The English Patient 1996                     42

Cameron, James    Titanic       1997                     43

Spielberg, Steven   Saving Private Ryan         1998     52

Mendes, Sam           American Beauty               1999     34

Jonze, Spike            Being John Malkovich      1999      30

Soderbergh, Steven–Traffic, 2000, 38

Howard, Ron–A Beautiful Mind, 2001, 48

Polanski, Roman–The Pianist, 2002, 69

Jackson, Peter–Lord of the Rings, 2003, 42

Eastwood, Clint–Million Dollar Baby, 2004, 74 (second Oscar)

Lee, Ang–Brokeback Mountain, 2005, 51

Scorsese, Martin–The Departed, 2006, 64

Coen, Joel–No Country for Old Men 2007, 53

Coen, Ethan–No Country for Old Men,  2007, 50

Boyle, Danny–Slumdog Millionaire, 2008, 52

Bigelow, Kathryn–The Hurt Locker, 2009, 58

Hooper, Tom–The King’s Speech, 2010, 38

Hazanovicius, Michel–The Artist, 2011, 44

Lee, Ang–Life of Pi, 2012, 58

Cuaron, Alfonso–Gravity, 2013, 52

Inarritu, Alejandro–Birdman, 2014, 51

Inarritu, Alejandro–The Revenant, 2015, 52

Damien Chazelle–La La Land, 2016, 32

Del Toro, Benicio–The Shape of Water, 2017,  53

Alfonso Cuaron–Roma, 2018, 57

Bong Joo-hon–Parasite, 2019, 50

Zhao, Chloe, Nmadland, 38