Is Christopher Nolan the greatest director of the last 25 years?

Christopher Nolan has been named the greatest director of the last 25 years, as voted by fans in a Rotten Tomatoes tournament.

greatest directors

Hot off the critic-voted list of The Best Movies of the Last 25 Years comes the results of a 64-director tournament meant to determine who the greatest director of that same time frame is. Coming out the victor was none other than Christopher Nolan, who just made the cut thanks to his debut, Following, coming out in 1998.

The 53-man (counting duos as one), 11-woman bracket determined that Nolan had the most prestige of everyone included, particularly the six competitors he defeated: Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness), Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse), Sam Mendes (1917), Jordan Peele (Get Out), and, in the finals, Denis Villeneuve (Dune). Villeneuve had his own strong competition, besting Lynne Ramsey (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Pete Docter (Up), Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant), Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), and Damien Chazelle (La La Land).

According to Rotten Tomatoes – who hosted the tournament of greatest directors – over 300,000 votes were cast in the final round, with 56% going to Nolan. That was the tightest matchup Nolan had, as he bested his other opponents with at least 87%. Of note, when Rotten Tomatoes unveiled their list of The Best Movies of the Last 25 Years, both Nolan and Villeneuve had one film represented: Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008) ranked #4 and Villeneuve’s Arrival (2016) came in at the tail end.

Although he has been deemed the greatest director by fans, Nolan has yet to win a Best Director Oscar, with only one nomination so far (for Dunkirk, losing to Guillermo del Toro, who was ineligible for this tournament). However, with the massive popularity, rave reviews and support behind his latest, Oppenheimer, he is considered the frontrunner to take home the statue next year. Dune: Part Two, meanwhile, has been delayed to 2024, entirely removing Villeneuve from the conversation. Of the winners from this decade who were eligible, the Daniels were not featured in the tournament while Chloé Zhao was knocked out in round one by The Lego Movie’s Lord & Miller.

Do you think Christopher Nolan is the greatest director of the last 25 years? If not, who would you pick? Let us know below!

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.