Oscar Directors: Musical Genre–How Many Winners?

While a dozen of musicals have won the Best Picture Oscar, only several filmmakers of the 69 winning directors, have won the Best Director Oscar for a musical.

Minnelli: First Best Director Winner for Musical

Vincente Minnelli was the first director to win the prize in 1958 for Gigi, which swept in all of its nine categories.  In 1951, An American in Paris won Best Picture, and Minnelli was nominated for his superlative helming but he did not win; the winner was George Stevens for the drama, A Place in the Sun.





The 1960s were the best decade for directors of musicals:

1961: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story

1964: George Cukor for My Fair Lady

1965: Robert Wise for The Sound of Music

1968: Carol Reed for Oliver!

In 1972, Bob Fosse won Best Director for the musical Cabaret, but the Best Picture winner was Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.

In 2002, Chicago earned Best Picture, but its nominated director, Rob Marshall, did not win.

It took over three decades, from 1972 (Bob Fosse for Cabaret) to 2016, for a filmmaker to win Best Director for a musical, Damien Chazelle for La La Land.

All in all, only 8 of the 69 Best Directors have won for helming a musical.