Oscar Directors: How Many Nominations It Takes to Win

This year may set a record for the number of first-time nominees in the Best Director category.


If my reading is valid, at least three of the five nominees will be fresh faces:

Damien Chazelle for La La Land, Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, and Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea.

They may be joined by real veteran directors who have already won an Oscar, such as Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge, Clint Eastwood for Sully and Martin Scorsese for Silence.

And there is good chance that four of the nominees will be up there for the first time, if Garth Davis garner a nod for Lion, or if Denis Villeneuve gets support from his peers for Arrival.

Looking back:

How many nominations it takes for directors to win the Best Director Oscar?

Winning at Third Nomination:

Michael Curtiz

Fred Zinnemann

Carol Reed

Sydney Pollack


Winning at Fourth Nomination:

David Lean

Steven Spielberg


Winning at Fifth Nomination:

William Wyler, Mrs. Miniver (1942)

George Cukor, My Fair Lady (1964)


Winning at Sixth Nomination

Martin Sorsese, The Departed (2006)