Oscar Directors: Noonan, Chris–Background, Career, Awards

September 23, 2020

Chris Noonan Career Summation

Occupational Inheritance:

Nationality: Aussie

Social Class:


Family: encouraged by father

Formal Education:


First Film: first short film, Could It Happen Here? 16; Babe, his first theatrical feature, 1995; aged 43

Breakthrough: Babe

First Oscar Nomination: Babe

Gap between First Film and First Nom: No gap

Other Oscars:

Other Oscar Nominations:

Oscar Awards:

Nominations Span:

Genre (specialties):

Career signature: One film director (Babe)

Collaborators: George Miller

Last Film:


Career Length:

Career Output:




Chris Noonan (November 14, 1952), an Australian filmmaker and actor best known for the family film Babe (1995), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Encouraged by his father, Noonan made his first short film, Could It Happen Here? when he was sixteen. It won a prize at the Sydney Film Festival and was later screened on Australian television. On leaving school in 1970 Noonan went to work for the Commonwealth Film Unit (now Film Australia), as a production assistant, assistant editor, production manager and assistant director making short films and documentaries.

In 1973 Noonan was in the inaugural intake on the directors’ course (along with Gillian Armstrong and Phillip Noyce) at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. In 1974 he returned to Film Australia where he worked on a number of films and documentaries, including working as assistant director on the cult movie The Cars That Ate Paris.

In 1976 he directed Film Australia’s documentary series, “Our Asian Neighbours: India”, including a film about Swami Shyam, a teacher of Vedant and Meditation living in the Indian Himalayas.

In 1979 he set up his own production company, and in 1980 documented the lives of a troupe of handicapped actors, in the acclaimed Stepping Out, which won the UNESCO prize in 1980 and an Australian Film Institute Award for ‘Best Documentary’ in 1981.[4] He co-wrote and co-directed the Australian mini-series The Cowra Breakout, wrote and directed five episodes of the mini-series, Vietnam, and made his television movie debut with The Riddle of the Stinson.

Noonan served for two years (1987–88) as President of the Australian Screen Directors’ Association, and in 1990 was appointed for a three-year term as Chairman of the Australian Film Commission.

In 1995 he wrote the screenplay, with George Miller, and directed the film, Babe, his first theatrical feature. The film earned $280 million in its 18-language world theatrical release, a further $217 million in international video sales and was nominated for seven Academy Awards (including nominations for Noonan for directing and writing).

The film was recognized with many other honors, including BAFTA Award nominations for Film and Adapted Screenplay.

He co-produced the popular Davida Allen telemovie, Feeling Sexy, in 1999.[1][2][5]

In 2006 he directed the biographical film, Miss Potter, based on the life of children’s author Beatrix Potter. Noonan has two further projects including Zebras, a drama set in the final days of apartheid South Africa and The Third Witch, a retelling of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth from the perspective of one of the witches, in development.[1]

Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer
1973 Bulls Yes Yes No
1980 Stepping Out Yes Yes Yes Documentary short

1995 Babe Yes Yes No Nominated- Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated- Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay

2006 Miss Potter Yes No No

TBA The Third Witch Yes No No
Zebras Yes No No

Executive Producer

Feeling Sexy (1999)
Ticket Out (2010)
Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Writer
1978 Cass Yes No TV movie
1984 The Cowra Breakout Yes Yes Mini-series
1987 Vietnam Yes Yes
1988 The Riddle of the Stinson Yes No TV movie
1989 Police State Yes Yes
2011 Crownies Yes No 2 episodes
2013 The Time of Our Lives Yes No Episode “The First New Chapter”
Other credits
Year Film Role
1974 27A Title Designer
The Cars That Ate Paris Assistant Director
1996 Idiot Box Actor
2000 A Wreck, a Tangle Thanks
2003 Preservation Director Mentor
2004 Somersault Script Advisor: Aurora