Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Director

The Best Director Award (French: Prix de la mise en scène) is an annual award presented at the Cannes Film Festival for best directing achievements in a feature film screened as part of festival's official selection and chosen by the jury from the films in official competition slate. As of the 2021 festival, Leos Carax is the most recent winner in this category for his work on Annette.

Best Director Award
Prix de la mise en scène  (French)
Leos Carax Cannes 2012.jpg
The 2021 recipient: Leos Carax
Awarded forBest Achievement in Direction
Presented byCannes Film Festival
First awarded1946
Currently held byLeos Carax
Annette (2021)


The award was first presented in 1946. The prize was not awarded on 12 occasions (1947, 1953–54, 1960, 1962–64, 1971, 1973–74, 1977, 1980). Additionally, the festival was not held at all in 1948, 1950 and 2020; while in 1968 no awards were given as the festival was called off mid-way due to the May 1968 events in France. Also, the jury vote was tied and prize was shared by two directors on seven occasions (1955, 1969, 1975, 1983, 2001, 2002, and 2016). Joel Coen of the Coen brothers has received the most awards in this category with three. One directing team have shared the award; Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne for Young Ahmed in 2019. Yuliya Solntseva was the first woman to have won the award, for 1961's Chronicle of Flaming Years.

The winner of Best Director Award rarely wins the Palme d'Or, the main prize at the festival that also awarded to the director of the winning film. This happened only twice, in 1991, when Joel Coen won both awards for Barton Fink;[1] and in 2003, when Gus Van Sant winning for his film Elephant.[2]


Table key
# Indicates Ex-aequo winners
Year Director(s) Film Original title
1946 René Clément The Battle of the Rails La Bataille du rail
1947 No award given that year
1948 Festival not held, no awards given that year
1949 René Clément The Walls of Malapaga Au-delà des grilles
1950 Festival not held, no awards given that year
1951 Luis Buñuel Los Olvidados
1952 Christian Jaque Fanfan la Tulipe
1953 No award given that year
1954 No award given that year
1955 Jules Dassin # Rififi Du rififi chez les hommes
Sergei Vasilyev # Heroes of Shipka Герои Шипки
1956 Sergei Yutkevich Othello Отелло
1957 Robert Bresson A Man Escaped or: The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut
1958 Ingmar Bergman Brink of Life Nära livet
1959 François Truffaut The 400 Blows Les Quatre Cents Coups
1960 No award given that year
1961 Yuliya Solntseva Chronicle of Flaming Years Повесть пламенных лет
1962 No award given that year
1963 No award given that year
1964 No award given that year
1965 Liviu Ciulei Forest of the Hanged Pădurea spânzuraților
1966 Sergei Yutkevich Lenin in Poland Ленин в Польше
1967 Ferenc Kósa Ten Thousand Days Tízezer nap
1968 Festival interrupted, no awards given that year because of the May 1968 events in France
1969 Glauber Rocha # Antonio das Mortes O Dragão da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro
Vojtěch Jasný # All My Compatriots Všichni dobří rodáci
1970 John Boorman Leo the Last
1971 No award given that year
1972 Miklós Jancsó Red Psalm Még kér a nép
1973 No award given that year
1974 No award given that year
1975 Michel Brault # Orders Les Ordres
Costa-Gavras # Special Section Section spéciale
1976 Ettore Scola Down and Dirty Brutti, sporchi e cattivi
1977 No award given that year
1978 Nagisa Ōshima Empire of Passion 愛の亡霊
1979 Terrence Malick Days of Heaven
1980 No award given that year
1981 No award given that year
1982 Werner Herzog Fitzcarraldo
1983 Robert Bresson # L'Argent
Andrei Tarkovsky # Nostalghia
1984 Bertrand Tavernier A Sunday in the Country Un dimanche à la campagne
1985 André Téchiné Rendez-vous
1986 Martin Scorsese After Hours
1987 Wim Wenders Wings of Desire Der Himmel über Berlin
1988 Fernando Solanas Sur
1989 Emir Kusturica Time of the Gypsies Дом за вешање
1990 Pavel Lungin Taxi Blues Такси-блюз
1991 Joel Coen Barton Fink
1992 Robert Altman The Player
1993 Mike Leigh Naked
1994 Nanni Moretti Caro diario
1995 Mathieu Kassovitz La Haine
1996 Joel Coen Fargo
1997 Wong Kar-wai Happy Together 春光乍洩
1998 John Boorman The General
1999 Pedro Almodóvar All About My Mother Todo sobre mi madre
2000 Edward Yang Yi Yi 一 一
2001 Joel Coen # The Man Who Wasn't There
David Lynch # Mulholland Drive
2002 Paul Thomas Anderson # Punch-Drunk Love
Im Kwon-taek # Chi-hwa-seon 취화선
2003 Gus Van Sant Elephant
2004 Tony Gatlif Exils
2005 Michael Haneke Caché
2006 Alejandro González Iñárritu Babel
2007 Julian Schnabel The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Le Scaphandre et le Papillon
2008 Nuri Bilge Ceylan Three Monkeys Üç Maymun
2009 Brillante Mendoza Kinatay
2010 Mathieu Amalric On Tour Tournée
2011 Nicolas Winding Refn Drive
2012 Carlos Reygadas Post Tenebras Lux
2013 Amat Escalante Heli
2014 Bennett Miller Foxcatcher
2015 Hou Hsiao-hsien The Assassin 刺客聶隱娘
2016 Olivier Assayas # Personal Shopper
Cristian Mungiu # Graduation[3] Bacalaureat
2017 Sofia Coppola The Beguiled[4]
2018 Paweł Pawlikowski Cold War Zimna wojna
2019 Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne Young Ahmed Le Jeune Ahmed
2020 Festival not held, no awards given that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Leos Carax Annette[5]

Multiple winnersEdit

The following individuals received two or more Best Director awards:

Wins Director Nationality
3 Joel Coen United States
2 John Boorman England
Robert Bresson France
René Clément France
Sergei Yutkevich Soviet Union

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit