IMDb Polls

Poll: Best Oscar-nominated Directorial Debut

Emerald Fennell became the 25th director to score a Best Director nomination for her first film. She is the first woman to achieve this honor. Let's have a look at all 25 first-time directors who earned a Best Director nomination for their first film.

In your opinion, which director made the most impressive debut?

Discuss Here

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Orson Welles

    Citizen Kane (1941)
  2. Vote!

    Delbert Mann

    Marty (1955) WINNER
  3. Vote!

    Sidney Lumet

    12 Angry Men (1957)
  4. Vote!

    Jack Clayton

    Room at the Top (1959)
  5. Vote!

    Jerome Robbins

    West Side Story (1961) WINNER Co-director
  6. Vote!

    Frank Perry

    David and Lisa (1962)
  7. Vote!

    Mike Nichols

    Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  8. Vote!

    Warren Beatty

    Heaven Can Wait (1978) Co-director (w/Buck Henry, also making his directorial debut)
  9. Vote!

    Robert Redford

    Ordinary People (1980) WINNER
  10. Vote!

    Hugh Hudson

    Chariots of Fire (1981)
  11. Vote!

    James L. Brooks

    Terms of Endearment (1983) WINNER
  12. Vote!

    Roland Joffé

    The Killing Fields (1984)
  13. Vote!

    Kenneth Branagh

    Henry V (1989)
  14. Vote!

    Kevin Costner

    Dances with Wolves (1990) WINNER
  15. Vote!

    John Singleton

    Boyz n the Hood (1991)
  16. Vote!

    Chris Noonan

    Babe (1995)
  17. Vote!

    Peter Cattaneo

    The Full Monty (1997)
  18. Vote!

    Spike Jonze

    Being John Malkovich (1999)
  19. Vote!

    Sam Mendes

    American Beauty (1999) WINNER
  20. Vote!

    Rob Marshall

    Chicago (2002)
  21. Vote!

    Tony Gilroy

    Michael Clayton (2007)
  22. Vote!

    Benh Zeitlin

    Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
  23. Vote!

    Jordan Peele

    Get Out (2017)
  24. Vote!

    Emerald Fennell

    Promising Young Woman (2020)

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