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

Updated August 28, 2020

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

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

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, S          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

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