Listologists' Nine Best Contemporary Directors, or why we all neglected Steven Spielberg

  1. 7. Roman Polanski (* 1933)


  2. Important Movies: Knife in the Water (1962), Repulsion (1965), The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), Rosemary's Baby (1968), Chinatown (1974), Tess (1979), The Death and the Maiden (1994), The Pianist (2002)
  3. Newest: Oliver Twist (2005)
  4. Academy Awards: Best Direction for The Pianist
  5. Oscars for his movies: 8
  6. Lead to Oscar: Ruth Gordon, Adrien Brody
  7. Nationality: Polish, French
  8. Active since: 1955
  9. Worked with: Catherine Deneuve, John Huston, Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford, Faye Dunaway, Ben Kingsley, Diane Ladd, Sigourney Weaver, Stuart Wilson, John Cassavetes, Mia Farrow, Ruth Gordon, Adrien Brody
  10. 7. Clint Eastwood (* 1930)


  11. Important Movies: Play Misty For Me (1971), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Bronco Billy (1980), Pale Rider (1985), Bird (1988), Unforgiven (1992), Mystic River (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  12. Newest: Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  13. Academy Awards: Best Direction for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby
  14. Oscars for his movies: 10
  15. Lead to Oscar: Gene Hackman, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
  16. Nationality: US-American
  17. Active since: 1971
  18. Worked with: Clint Eastwood, George Kennedy, Forest Whitaker, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, Hilary Swank, Donald Sutherland, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Bridges
  19. 7. Wong Kar-Wai (* 1958)


  20. Important Movies: Once Upon a Time in China (1992), Chungking Express (1994), In the Mood for Love (1997), 2046 (2004)
  21. Newest: 2046 (2004)
  22. Academy Awards: none
  23. Oscars for his movies: 0
  24. Lead to Oscar: nobody
  25. Nationality: Chinese, Hong Kong
  26. Active since: 1987
  27. Worked with: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung
  28. 4. David Lynch (* 1946)


  29. Important Movies: Eraserhead (1977), The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1986), Lost Highway (1997), The Straight Story (1999), Mulholland Dr. (2001)
  30. Newest: Mulholland Dr. (2001)
  31. Academy Awards: none
  32. Oscars for his movies: 0
  33. Lead to Oscar: nobody
  34. Nationality: US-American
  35. Active since: 1967
  36. Worked with: John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, Jack Nance, Bill Pullman, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Jürgen Prochnow, John Gielgud, Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Naomi Watts, Justin Theroux, Laura Harring
  37. 4. Joel Coen (* 1954)


  38. Important Movies: Blood Simple (1984), Raising Arizona (1987), Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), Fargo (1996), The Man who Wasn't There (2001)
  39. Newest: Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
  40. Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay for Fargo
  41. Oscars for his movies: 2
  42. Lead to Oscar: Frances McDormand
  43. Nationality: US-American
  44. Active since: 1980
  45. Worked with: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, John Goodman, John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Newman, Tim Robbins, M. Emmet Walsh, Holly Hunter, Nicolas Cage, Billy Bob Thornton
  46. 4. Ingmar Bergman (* 1918)


  47. Important Movies: The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Face (1958), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1962), The Silence (1963), Persona (1966), Shame (1968), Cries and Whispers (1972), Scenes from a Marriage (1973), Fanny and Alexander (1982)
  48. Newest: Saraband (2002)
  49. Academy Awards: none
  50. Oscars for his movies: 4
  51. Lead to Oscar: nobody
  52. Nationality: Swedish
  53. Active since: 1946
  54. Worked with: Liv Ullman, Ingrid Bergman, Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Victor Sjöström, Ingrid Thulin, Erland Josephson, Gunn Wallgren, Bertil Guve, Bibi Andersson
  55. 3. Woody Allen (* 1935)
  56. Important Movies: Take the Money and Run (1969), What You Always Wanted to Know About Sex... (1972), Play It Again, Sam (1972), Sleeper (1973), Bananas (1974), Love and Death (1975), Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Stardust Memories (1980), Zelig (1983), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987), September (1987), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Mighty Aphrodite (1995)
  57. Newest:
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    Match Point (2005)
  58. Academy Awards: Best Direction for Annie Hall, Best Original Screenplay for Annie Hall and Hannah and her Sisters
  59. Oscars for his movies: 9
  60. Lead to Oscar: Diane Keaton, Michael Caine, Dianne Wiest (twice!), Mira Sorvino
  61. Nationality: US-American
  62. Active since: 1969
  63. Worked with: Woody Allen, Mariel Hemingway, John Carradine, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Mira Sorvino, Alan Alda, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Martin Landau, Seth Green, Danny Aiello, Jeff Daniels, Goldie Hawn, Natalie Portman, Tim Roth
  64. 2. Quentin Tarantino (* 1963)
  65. Important Movies: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Sin City (2005)
  66. Newest: Sin City (2005)
  67. Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay for Pulp Fiction
  68. Oscars for his movies: 1
  69. Lead to Oscar: nobody
  70. Nationality: US-American
  71. Active since: 1992
  72. Worked with: Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Ving Rhames, David Carradine, Darryl Hannah, Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Bridget Fonda, Pam Grier, Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro
  73. 1. Martin Scorsese (* 1942)
  74. Important Movies: Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), After Hours (1985), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), The Age of Innocence (1993), Casino (1995), Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004)
  75. Newest: No Direction Home (2005)
  76. Academy Awards: none
  77. Oscars for his movies: 11
  78. Lead to Oscar: Robert De Niro, Ellen Burstyn, Joe Pesci, Paul Newman, Cate Blanchett
  79. Nationality: US-American
  80. Active since: 1963
  81. Worked with: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty, Diane Ladd, Ellen Burstyn, Jodie Foster, Liza Minnelli, Jerry Lewis, Griffin Dunne, Verna Bloom, Rosanna Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Paul Newman, Willem Dafoe, David Bowie, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Liotta, Robert Mitchum, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Gregory Peck, Joe Don Baker, Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Michelle Pfeiffer, Catherine Scorsese, Charles Scorsese, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Nicolas Cage, John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, John C. Reilly, Ian Holm, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchette, Jude Law, Kate Beckinsale
Author Comments: 

I've decided to take only the first 9 directors, as there would have been too many ties for # 10.

Other mentioned directors were: Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, Jean-Luc Godard, Jim Jarmusch, Sidney Lumet, Hayao Miyazaki, Pedro Almodóvar, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Theo Angelopoulos, Sharunas Bartas, Danny Boyle, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Hal Hartley, Werner Herzog, Peter Jackson, Takeshi Kitano, Spike Lee, Terrence Malick, John Milius, Michael Moore, Mike Nichols, Christopher Nolan, Mamoru Oshii, Alain Resnais, Robert Rodriguez, Nicolas Roeg, George A. Romero, Jerzy Skolimowski.

Previous similar polls:



thanks to russa03, JayBamBaLam, WB, Imposter, lbangs, grandpa_chum, Oedipus, 0dysseus, AJDaGreat, JohnnyW

Quentin Tarantino
Joel Coen
Michael Moore
Wes Anderson
David Lynch
Danny Boyle
Hayao Miyazaki

in no order:

1. Theo Angelopulos
2. Mamoru Oshii
3. Jerzy Skolimowski
4. Jim Jarmusch
5. Jean-Luc Godard
6. Michelangelo Antonioni
7. Wong Kar Wai
8. Sharunas Bartas
9. Wes Anderson
10. Tsai Ming-liang

Hmm, sorry, but you have only got 7 votes.

Ok, throw out Anderson, Tsai and Antonioni.

Paul Thomas Anderson
Coen Bros.
Brian De Palma
Hayao Miyazaki
Nicolas Roeg
Quentin Tarantino

OK, 1922, if you're entering Coens separately, can you take out Ethan Coen and put David Lynch instead for my choice? Thanks.

In no order:

Wong Kar-Wai
Ingmar Bergman
Takeshi Kitano
Pedro Almodovar
Quentin Tarantino
Wes Anderson
Martin Scorsese

Quick! Before I change my mind again...

In no order a'tall...

Roman Polanski
Woody Allen
Martin Scorsese
Hal Hartley
Quintin Tarantino
Wong Kar-Wai
Ingmar Bergman

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs (Thanks, Imposter! I forgot Bergman is still with us!)

D'oh!! How could I have forgotten Roman???

1922, if it's possible, could you switch out Wes Anderson for Roman Polanski in my list? ("got a feeling '22 is gonna be a good guy...")

He is very upset at you... :)

Of course, it is a little easier to do after Oliver Twist.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Woody Allen
John Milius
George Romero
Martin Scorsese
Brian De Palma
Clint Eastwood
Coen Brothers(Joel seems like the director of choice if you have to have one or the other)

Woody Allen
Quentin Tarantino
Joel Coen
Roman Polanski
Martin Scorsese
Christopher Nolan
Robert Rodriguez

Robert Altman
Tim Burton
Clint Eastwood
Terry Gilliam
Peter Jackson
Spike Lee
Mike Nichols

Due to the arbitrary distinction that the directors must be living, some of these people are rather un-contemporary. Alas.

Woody Allen
Francis Ford Coppola
Jean-Luc Godard
Sidney Lumet
Alain Resnais
Martin Scorsese
Quentin Tarantino

Robert Altman
Ingmar Bergman
Werner Herzog
Sidney Lumet
David Lynch
Terence Malick
Martin Scorsese

In alphabetical order, of course...;)

Johnny Waco

So, here are mine to close this poll:

Woody Allen
Ingmar Bergman
Francis Coppola
Clint Eastwood
Jim Jarmusch
David Lynch
Martin Scorsese

Drat, I was too late to submit my seven choices... I feel so sorry and stupid for missing this good poll from a good listologist with collaborations from equally good fellows...
(yep, I'm in a rather rose-tinted mood today)

Thank you. I'm also sorry that you (and many other people) missed this poll...

This is a farce. You're going to tell me not a single person cast a vote for Steven Spielberg? :-) Is contemporary alive and working or just alive? Darn, I wish I hadn't missed this poll.

Hey, I hadn't noticed Spielberg's absence. Hmm, maybe he'd have been the choice #8 for each... :)

By contemporary I mean just alive. Whether they still make films or not and the quality of their recent work was not the point of this. Still I think we all somehow weighted their recent movies, otherwise I'm pretty sure Coppola and Spielberg would both have made it.