Oscar Directors: Foreign (Non-U.S. ) Filmmaker (Winner and Nominees), 1927-Present

October 1, 2020

Over the past 92 years, 236 filmmakers have been nominated for the Best Director Oscar.  This Hollywood elite is composed of 167 nominees and 69 winners.

Many of the 69 winners have won multiple Oscar Awards and nominations.

Several of the nominees have also been multiple candidates.

Except for the first year, in which two Best Directors were given (one for comedy, the other for drama), each year the category of Best Director consist of five nominees.

In theory, the directors are nominated regardless of genre, nationality, and the language in which their films were made.

In practice, however, this category is dominated by U.S. born filmmakers, who are nominated for English-speaking films.

Even foreign directors, such as Italian Bernardo Bertolucci, have been nominated (Last Tango in Paris, 1973) and have won (The Last Emperor, in 1987) for English-speaking films that are largely backed by American financing.

Of the 236 nominated directors, 34 (about 14 percent) were established foreign-born filmmakers.

However, one third (13 out of 34) of the foreign directors were nominated for English-speaking films.

Two thirds (21 of the 34) of the filmmakers were foreign-born directors nominated for foreign language films.


French (4)


Haneke (Austrian)









Germi, Pietro




Japanese (2)


Teshigahara, Hiroshi


Korean (1)

Bong, Joon-ho  (Korean for Korean film)


Polish (2)







Spain (1)




Hallstrom, Lasse




Ang, lee


Foreign Director (A to Z)

Almodovar, Pedro (Spanish, for Spanish film)

Antonioni, Michelangelo (Italian for English-speaking film)

Babenco, Hector (Argentinen-Brazilian for English-speaking)

Benigni, Roberto (Italian for Italian film)

Bertolucci, Bernardo (Italian for English)

Bong, Joon-ho  (Korean for Korean film)

Cacoyannis, Michael (Greek for English-speaking)

Cuaron, Alfonso (Mexican for both English and Mexican)

Del Toro, Guillermo (Mexican for English-speaking)

Fellini, Federico (Italian for Italian)

Forman, Milos (Czech for English-speaking)

Gavras-Costa (Greek-French for French)

Germi, Pietro (Italian for Italian)

Hallstrom, Lasse (Swedish for Swedish and English)

Haneke, Michael (Austrian for French)

Kieslowski, Krzystor (Polish for Polish)

Kurosawa, Akira (Japanese for Japanese)

Lee, Ang (Taiwan for English)

Lelouch, Claude (French for French)

Malle, Louis (French for English)

Mereilles, Fernando (Brazilian for Brazilian)

Molinaro, Eduard (French for French)

Pawlikowski, Pawell (Polish for Polish)

Peterssen, Wolfgang (German for German)

Polanski, Roman (Polish for English)

Pontecorvio, Gillo (Italian for foreign and documentary!)

Renoir, Jean (French for English)

Schroeder, Barbet (French for English)

Sternberg, Josef von (German for English)

Teshigahara, Hiroshi (Japanese for Japanese)

Troell, Jan (Swedish for Swedish)

Truffaut, Francois (French for French)

Wertmueller, Lina (Italian for Italian)

Zeffirelli, Franco (Italian for English)