10 Of The Most Innovative Directors In Hollywood
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10 Of The Most Innovative Directors In Hollywood

Directors who have been a groundbreaking tour de force in Tinseltown.

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10 Of The Most Innovative Directors In Hollywood
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From hour-long car chases to the most memorable one-liner, it is often the actors and actresses who are championed by audiences of cinema for executing feats that keep the viewers fastened to the chair with their eyes fixed on the screen long after it has gone black. Nevertheless, there is one individual who is never fully appreciated even though he/she may possess credits as long as a grocery list on Thanksgiving, and a trophy cabinet as crowded as America's greatest sports star.

Behind the scenes, this individual pulls the strings -- telling actors and actresses what to say, how to say it, what to do, and how to do it. But most importantly, this individual bears the task of finding the imagination hiding behind every costume, every set design, and within every line and word present on the screenplay, and to forge a bridge from the realm of the inconceivable as it sails through the narrow lens of a camera into belief.

Here are ten of Hollywood's most groundbreaking directors that have not only challenged and redefined the art of filmmaking but have challenged and redefined the perspectives of their audiences:

10. Christopher Nolan

Considered by critics and film buffs alike to be one of the most innovative filmmakers of his time, Christopher Nolan has established himself as a cinematic tour de force through his nonlinear and labyrinthine approach to storytelling.

Although he is often criticized for overemphasizing on plot, the rooting of his films in deeply sociological, ethical, philosophical concepts is what translated into groundbreaking, visionary projects such as "Memento", "Inception", and "Interstellar". With three Academy Award nominations throughout his career, Nolan also set a new bar of excellence for the superhero genre of film. Directing Heath Ledger to a posthumous Oscar in "The Dark Knight", the movie is regarded by critics and movie buffs as the greatest superhero film of all time.

9. David Fincher

From Martin Scorsese to Steven Spielberg, one director that does not receive the talk or attention he deserves is David Fincher. Known for his psychological thrillers, Fincher's preference for using a handheld camera for most of his shots, coupled with his playfully deceptive style of storytelling, has translated into realistically chilling, and disturbingly dark works such as "Se7en", "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Gone Girl". All of which received Oscar attention in varying capacities.

Yet, for all his deceitful prowess, Fincher is most recognized for his efforts in the drama "The Social Network" -- a film chronicling the life of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Garnering 8 Oscar nominations with Fincher's name appearing on the ballots for Best Director, the film is credited for the burgeoning rise of online startup companies, and the tenfold increase of interactions initiated through social media in the recent years.

8. Woody Allen


Although known more for his writing prowess, Woody Allen, considered to be one of the greatest humorists alive, also possesses flair as a director. Of the 24 times Allen has been nominated for an Oscar, seven of those nominations have been for Best Director. Winning for his famed classic "Annie Hall" in 1977, Allen's approach to filmmaking has lead many scholars and critics to consider him a part of the "The New Hollywood" wave -- a group of young auteurs who rose to prominence in the 1960's responsible for revival of cinema after the demise of the studio system in the face of the rising influence of television.

7. Alfred Hitchcock


A highly publicized figure when he was alive, Alfred Hitchcock continues to remain an icon for actors, screenwriter, directors, and anyone who seeks to find work in Hollywood. A pioneer of the elements that continue to persist in suspense and psychological thrillers we see today, the very mention of Hitchcock's name is often perceived synonymous to "Psycho" -- consider to be one of the greatest films ever made.

Although he never won an Oscar despite being nominated six times, Hitchcock's unparalleled ability to mimic a person's gaze while wielding a camera is what has lead filmmakers, critics and moviegoers alike to praise him as one of the most innovative, and influential directors in cinematic history.

6. Orson Welles


For much of his career, Orson Welles lingered about as an outsider of the studio system. As such, he often struggled to get financing for his films, and many of his projects remained unreleased. However, today, he is regarded as "Ultimate Cinematic Auteur".

Known for his layered, nonlinear approach to storytelling, his chiascuro style of lighting, and his deep focus shots, many of these elements manifested in his masterpiece "Citizen Kane". Deemed as the most influential, and one of the greatest movies ever hit to the screen, Welles is cited as an inspiration by many motion picture greats. A list that includes Woody Allen, Richard Linklater, Sam Mendes, Milos Forman, and the revered Stanley Kubrick.

5. Stanley Kubrick

A staunch perfectionist, nobody showed greater dedication to the cinematic arts than Stanley Kubrick. Demanding, and unwilling to relinquish control over his films in the process of writing, directing and editing, Kubrick's micromanagement often put him at odds with members of his casts. Nevertheless, the New York native never failed to win respect from his colleagues for his passion that was only matched by his unparalleled talent.

Known for his works "Clockwork Orange", and "The Shining", which featured an iconic performance from Jack Nicholson, Kubrick is perhaps most revered for his efforts in "2001: Space Odyssey". Garnering Kubrick his first and only Oscar, it was considered to be a tour de force for its visual effects during its time. This movie would inadvertently lay the ground for George Lucas's iconic movie franchise "Star Wars".

4. Martin Scorcese


Like his New York contemporary Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese is considered to be one of the most influential figures in New Hollywood wave of filmmaking. Throughout a career began 1967, Scorcese has directed more than 50 films, producing an endless list of movies that have garnered critical acclaim, and both box office and Oscar attention.

Amongst his best-known films include "Goodfellas", "Taxi Driver and "Raging Bull", which are regarded among the greatest films ever conceived. Nevertheless, Scorcese's long list of accomplishments also includes, "Aviator", "Hugo", and "The Wolf of Wallstreet". Nominated for an Oscar eight times in Directing, Scorcese prevailed in 2007 for "The Departed".

3. Francis Ford Coppola


The son of Carmine Coppola, and the father of Sofia Coppola, among his many distinctions, Francis Ford Coppola is part of one of two dynasties that have produced three generations of Oscar winners. Francis Ford Coppola's accomplishments are many. Along with "The Godfather Trilogy" that has filled his cabinet with a grand total of four Academy Awards -- two for Best Directing -- Coppola is also revered for his work in "Apocalypse Now" and "American Graffiti".

A central figure in the New Hollywood wave who is credited with introducing the first depictions of the American Mafia, Coppola has served as an inspiration for auteurs such as David Chase and Terence Winter -- the respective creators of "The Sopranos" and "Boardwalk Empire" -- entertainment visionaries who helped propel television into its currently perceived "Golden Age".

2. Billy Wilder


Becoming a screenwriter in 1920's while living in Berlin, Billy Wilder fled Germany during the rise of the Nazi Party a decade later. Eventually relocating to Hollywood, it was here, like the careers of so many motion picture icons, where Wilder's career blossomed -- eventually trying his hand at directing.

Veering away from an emphasis on cinematography like his counterparts Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, Wilder preferred to focus on tight plots and memorable dialogue. Pushing the lines and expanding the range of acceptable subject matter in Hollywood, Wilder is credited for the conception of the most definitive films in film noir -- "Double Indemnity" and "Sunset Boulevard". The latter of which garnered Wilder one of his two Oscars for Best Director.

1. Steven Spielberg

It has been a long and illustrious career for Steven Spielberg. Although the film school at the University of Southern California has his name on one of its buildings, Spielberg was never actually a student. Applying three times to what is considered to be the best film school in the United States, and the world, the revered motion picture visionary was rejected -- all three times.

However, all art comes from the heart, and Spielberg had a big one. Undeterred by his college setbacks, Spielberg forged a career that spanned four decades -- conceiving multiple films from multiple genres. From sci-fi hits such as "Jaws" and "E.T.", Spielberg is perhaps revered for his Holocaust masterpiece "Schindler's List". An unrivaled auteuristic force that garnered the Ohio native his first of three Oscars won for Best Director.

With no signs of slowing down, Spielberg's direction recently helped Mark Rylance win his first Academy Award for Best Supporting in the Cold War drama "Bridge of Spies". A project conceived in collaboration with the Coen Brothers.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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