The Academy Awards are still two months away, but the surge of critical support for Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” is raising a provocative question: How many filmmakers have won two best director Oscars within just a few years?
Bigelow became the first woman ever to win the directing Academy Award for “The Hurt Locker,” which also took the trophy for best picture at the 2010 ceremony. If she were to take home the directing statuette in 2013 for “Zero Dark Thirty,” she would have collected the honor twice in a four-year span, tying the modern mark held by Oliver Stone. And both filmmakers would have been honored for movies about war.
Stone won the best director Oscar for two Vietnam-themed productions, 1986’s “Platoon” and 1989's “Born on the Fourth of July.” In keeping with the awards appeal of military tales, Steven Spielberg won the directing Oscars for 1993's “Schindler’s List” and 1998's “Saving Private Ryan.”
Among other recent double-winners, Clint Eastwood collected the best director Academy Award for 1992’s “Unforgiven” and 2004's “Million Dollar Baby.”
The record for proximate wins is shared by John Ford, who won back-to-back directing Oscars for 1940's “The Grapes of Wrath” and 1941's “How Green Was My Valley,” and Joseph Mankiewicz, who won with 1949's “A Letter to Three Wives” and repeated with 1950's “All About Eve.”