Top 5: Directors Never Nominated For A Directing Oscar

Five weeks ago, I took a look at the best living actors never nominated for an Oscar, which was whittled down from a larger piece I contemplated doing about the best people overall in the industry never nominated. This week, I've decided to revisit this, but instead take a look at the best directors never nominated for the Best Director Oscar. Some of these men are nominees for writing, but none of them have ever made the cut for Best Director in a given year. While the list of directors who have never won the award reads like a list of the greatest directors that ever lived: Kubrick, Hitchcock, Chaplin, Renoir, Antonioni, Fellini, Lynch, Lumet, Altman, Malle, Bergman, Cassavetes, Ashby, Kramer, Truffault, Buñuel, and Kurosawa, the number that have never even made the cut is just as surprising. Here is my top five directors never nominated for the Best Director Academy Award, all of whom directed at least five films.
Just missed the cut: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alain Resnais, Brian DePalma, Fritz Lang, D.W. Griffith, David Cronenberg, Wes Anderson, Wong Kar Wai, Terry Gilliam, Carl Theodore Dreyer, Satyajit Ray, Jim Jarmusch, Marcel Carné, Tim Burton, Roberto Rossellini, Lars von Trier, Jean Cocteau, Chan-wook Park, and Rainer Werner Fassbender.
5. Sam Peckinpah
It's hard to argue, now that it has been over thirty years since his last film The Osterman Weekend, that Sam Peckinpah is one of the most influential directors that ever lived. While Arthur Penn may have been the director that officially broke down the cinematic violence barrier in American cinema with Bonnie and Clyde, Peckinpah was the one who cranked it up to 11 two years later with The Wild Bunch. But more than the violence, Peckinpah at his best was a director concerned with deconstructing the very notion of masculinity in the 20th century. Straw DogsThe GetawayBring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, these are films that redefined what it meant to be a man, and their influence can be felt in the work of directors like Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, and virtually every director that has made an extremely violent film. That he was never nominated for directing, particularly the year his screenplay for The Wild Bunch was nominated, is a real travesty, and proof that the Academy often fails to recognize directors when they're in their prime.
Biggest SnubThe Wild Bunch (1969)
Whom He Should Have Replaced: Arthur Penn, Alice's Restaurant
4. Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan
No director currently working has managed to balance art and commerce in the last decade better than Christopher Nolan. He is the heir apparent to Steven Spielberg and has been doing consistently strong work for over fifteen years now. He first came to everyone's attention with his mind-bending thriller Memento in 2001, and scored an Oscar nomination for his screenplay (a feat he would repeat on Inception). For as good as his scripts are, they wouldn't amount to a hill of beans if he wasn't so adept at realizing them, making him a filmmaker who manages to weave together multiple story lines and characters in a way that is both emotionally satisfying and brilliantly executed. His day will come, just as Spielberg's did, but it's hard to believe that he has gone this long without any recognition for his work behind the camera.
Biggest SnubInception (2010)
Whom He Should Have Replaced: The Coen Brothers, True Grit
3. Jean-Luc Godard 
The very face of the French New Wave that inspired American filmmakers to break the mold of melodramatic films and musicals that plagued our cinema in the 50s and early 60s, Jean-Luc Godard blazed a trail that everyone followed. That his contemporaries like Truffault, Antonioni, and Fellini were all recognized with directing nominations makes his exclusion all the more glaring. Without Godard there would be no Scorsese, Coppola, Soderbergh, or countless others. Perhaps it was his anti-Hollywood screed Contempt that rubbed tinseltown the wrong way, but they attempted to right the severe wrong done to him by giving him an honorary Oscar in 2011. His films and his legacy will live on for as long as people go to the movies, but his failure to be recognized without even a nomination shows how out of step the Academy can be with the true masters of cinema.
Biggest SnubVivre Sa Vie (1962)
Whom He Should Have Replaced: Frank Perry, David and Lisa
2. Spike Lee
"After Earth" New York Premiere -  Arrivals
Not to delve too deeply into the implications that may surround such a statement, but Spike Lee is undeniably the most important director of color to have ever lived. Much like the hip-hop pioneers who took the language of the street and set it to music, Lee took a side of life that most cloistered white people chose to look away from, and confronted them with it, first in the art house, then in the multiplex. His films are a kaleidoscope of issues confronting everyone, but he gave a voice to African Americans that were under heard and under appreciated, making them feel as if there was finally a filmmaker on their side. While it was John Singleton who finally broke the race barrier with his Best Director nomination for Boyz n the Hood, it was Lee that paved the way for him to earn that nomination. The impact of his screenplay nomination for Do The Right Thing is sadly diminished by the fact that his superb direction was not also recognized, as it wasn't for any number of films like Malcolm XClockers, or 25th Hour. To say he's overdue is an understatement.
Biggest SnubDo The Right Thing (1989)
Whom He Should Have Replaced: Woody Allen, Crimes & Misdemeanors
1. Michael Powell
Any discussion of the greatest directors of all time that does not include Michael Powell is hardly a serious discussion of the art form. Together with producing and writing partner Emeric Pressburger, Powell created some of the best films ever committed to celluloid including, but certainly not limited to, The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp, Peeping Tom, The Thief of Bagdad, and Stairway to Heaven (which was most famously homaged in Marvel's 2011 Captain America film). Directors such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott, and even George A. Romero have openly cited him as an influence. He is perhaps the greatest British director that ever lived, and the legacy of his films lives on not just in his direct influences, but in the directors they in turn impacted. It is a real shame that he was never recognized with a directing nomination, but even sadder that he has yet to receive any recognition in the form of a lifetime achievement award. 
Biggest SnubThe Red Shoes (1948)
Whom He Should Have Replaced: Any of that year's nominees, except the winner, John Huston for Treasure of the Sierra Madre
[Images via 123456]