Films: ‘Get Out’, ‘Us’
Who knew Jordan Peele had a dark side? Certainly not the early 2010s. Best known for his comedy skills, Peele blew everyone out of the water with his fresh takes on the horror genre in “Get Out” and “Us” – and won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar in the process. Somehow, Peele still finds the time to write, act and serve as producer on projects like “The Twilight Zone” and the upcoming reboot of the iconic horror film, “Candyman”.
Films: ‘Lady Bird’, ‘Little Women’
She was already a figure in the Mumblecore indie film movement but Greta Gerwig broke out as a director with 2017’s “Lady Bird”. After co-writing and starring in partner Noah Baumbach’s “Mistress America” and “Frances Ha”, Gerwig earned two Oscar nominations for “Lady Bird” – Best Original Screenplay and Best Director. Her 2019 take on “Little Women” is already being hailed as a modern masterpiece.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Films: ‘Biutiful’, ‘Birdman’, ‘The Revenant’
With back-to-back Academy Award wins for Best Director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu pulled off some incredible cinematic feats with “Birdman”’s single shot-style and the on-location shooting of “The Revenant” using natural light. We just have to give credit to the man who finally led Leonardo DiCaprio to his Oscar.
Films: ‘Incendies’, ‘Prisoners’, ‘Enemy’, ‘Sicario’, ‘Arrival’, ‘Blade Runner 2049’
We’re always proud when one of our own finds success south of the border and no one has done it better than Denis Villeneuve. We’re not quite sure how the Quebec director managed to pull off six great films in ten years, but whatever he’s doing, it seems to be working. From small-scale intense dramas to complex sci-fi undertakings, we can’t wait to see Villeneuve kick off the next decade with his all-star take on “Dune”.
Films: ‘Inception’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘Interstellar’, ‘Dunkirk’
Christopher Nolan was already a big deal when the decade began but 2010’s “Inception” was a staggering work of twisty filmmaking genius. From concluding Christian Bale’s reign as Batman and high-brow sci-fi fare with “Interstellar”, Nolan once again wowed with WWII epic “Dunkirk”, which earned eight Oscar nominations.
Films: ‘Moonlight’, ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’
After an eight-year hiatus from features, Barry Jenkins stunned Hollywood and beyond with his emotional coming-of-age drama “Moonlight”. The film won three Oscars including one for Jenkins for co-writing the screenplay and another for Mahershala Ali’s star-making turn. And of course, who could forget the show-stopping moment “Moonlight” was awarded Best Picture after “La La Land” was incorrectly dubbed the winner? Two years later, Jenkins again won critics over with “If Beale Street Could Talk” and an award-winning performance by Regina King.
Films: ‘I Will Follow’, ‘Middle Of Nowhere’, ‘Selma’, ‘13th’, ‘A Wrinkle In Time’, ‘When They See Us’
Ava DuVernay started the decade as an indie drama director and ended it as the first black woman to direct a film that earned over $100 million at the box office. Breaking out with “Selma”, DuVernay continues to focus on social justice and make projects that matter to her like the Central Park Five Emmy-winning mini-series “When They See Us” and her exploration of the racial inequality present in the U.S. prison system in the documentary “13th”.
Films: ‘Boy’, ‘What We Do In The Shadows’, ‘Hunt For The Wilderpeople’, ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, ‘Jojo Rabbit’
No offense to Jordan Peele but Taika Waititi just might be the funniest director of the decade. The Kiwi actor-writer-director started the 2010's with the charming dramedy “Boy” and capped it off with the TIFF People’s Choice Award winner “Jojo Rabbit”. Proving he can do quiet, moving comedy-dramas like “Hunt For The Wilderpeople” as well as an exquisite mockumentary like “What We Do In The Shadows”, Waititi also showed audiences (and Marvel) how to have fun with his refreshing and sometimes silly take on “Thor: Ragnarok”.
Films: ‘Bernie’, ‘Before Midnight’, ‘Boyhood’, ‘Everybody Wants Some!’, ‘Last Flag Flying’, ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette?’
Richard Linklater proves that even talented directors have missteps, but when he gets it right, he really nails it. The critically-acclaimed third chapter in the “Before” trilogy is one of the best-reviewed films of 2013, but it’s his culmination of nearly 12 years of work on the epic-yet-intimate “Boyhood” – filmed each summer between 2002 through 2013 - that earns him a place on the list of the decade’s best. A five-time Oscar nominee himself, Linklater took home the Golden Globe for Best Director while star Patricia Arquette pretty much swept the entire awards season with her “Boyhood” performance.
The Russo Brothers
Films: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, ‘Captain America: Civil War’, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, ‘Avengers: Endgame’
The movies of the MCU may not be mentioned in the same breath as some of the decade’s best films by Paul Thomas Anderson or David Fincher, but for two guys who started the decade as TV sitcom directors, they’ve certainly come a long way. The directing duo of Joe and Anthony Russo make helming big-budget superhero flicks easy, like “Endgame” which isn’t just the highest-grossing film of the decade, it is the second highest-grossing film of all-time (behind "The Force Awakens").