The 2010s saw some incredible film-making, with many directors rising to prominence and dominating the industry. From established names to newcomers, these filmmakers left their mark on cinema and captivated audiences worldwide. Here are ten of the most influential directors of the decade.
Wes Anderson is a director who has become synonymous with quirky, offbeat films that are visually stunning and emotionally resonant. He has been making films for over two decades, but it was in the 2010s that he really solidified his status as one of the most talented indie directors in the industry.
Anderson’s films are known for their meticulous attention to detail, whimsical characters, and distinctive visual style. Some of his most notable films from the past decade include “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012), “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014), and “Isle of Dogs” (2018).
Jordan Peele is a writer, director, and actor who is known for his innovative storytelling in the horror genre. He made his directorial debut with the 2017 film “Get Out,” which was a critical and commercial success. The film was praised for its unique approach to horror, which blended social commentary with scares. Peele’s ability to tackle complex themes while still delivering a thrilling and entertaining film has made him one of the most exciting directors of the 2010s.
Greta Gerwig is a relatively new name in the world of indie filmmaking, but she has already made a significant impact. She first gained attention as an actress in films like “Frances Ha” (2012) and “Mistress America” (2015), but it was her directorial debut with “Lady Bird” (2017) that really put her on the map.
“Lady Bird” was a critical and commercial success, earning five Oscar nominations and winning Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes. Gerwig’s follow-up film, “Little Women” (2019), was also well-received and further cemented her status as one of the most promising indie directors of the decade.
Christopher Nolan is known for his mind-bending films that challenge the audience’s perception of reality. His films often feature complex narratives, non-linear storytelling, and stunning visuals. Nolan’s films have grossed over $4.7 billion worldwide, making him one of the most successful directors of the decade.
Some of Nolan’s most notable films from the 2010s include Inception (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and Interstellar (2014). Inception was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $829 million worldwide and earning four Academy Awards. The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, grossed over $1.08 billion worldwide. Interstellar, a sci-fi epic, grossed over $677 million worldwide and received five Academy Award nominations.
J.J. Abrams is a master of the blockbuster genre, known for his ability to create visually stunning and action-packed films. He is also known for his work on popular television shows such as Lost and Alias. Abrams’ films have grossed over $4.5 billion worldwide, making him one of the most successful directors of the decade.
Some of Abrams’ most notable films from the 2010s include Star Trek (2009), Super 8 (2011), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Star Trek, a reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise, grossed over $385 million worldwide and was praised for its fresh take on the series. Super 8, a nostalgic tribute to 80s sci-fi films, grossed over $260 million worldwide. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first film in the new Star Wars trilogy, grossed over $2 billion worldwide and was praised for its return to the classic Star Wars formula.
Bong Joon-ho is a South Korean director known for his genre-blending films that often mix dark humor with profound social commentary. In the 2010s, he became an international sensation with films that garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success. “Snowpiercer” (2013) showcased a dystopian world on a perpetually moving train, and “Okja” (2017) intertwined themes of corporate greed with an emotional tale of a girl and her super-pig.
However, it was “Parasite” (2019) that truly propelled him into global prominence. The film, which deals with class disparity, won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to win four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Bong’s ability to tell unique stories that resonate universally has solidified his place among the decade’s most influential directors.
Patty Jenkins made history in the 2010s as the director of “Wonder Woman” (2017), which was both a commercial blockbuster and a critical success. The film’s powerful representation of a female superhero and its themes of love and compassion struck a chord with audiences worldwide. Jenkins became the first woman to direct a superhero film with a female protagonist and broke box office records for a film directed by a woman.
Her ability to craft character-driven narratives within the blockbuster space, combined with her advocacy for representation in film, has made Jenkins an influential figure in the industry, paving the way for more women directors in big-budget filmmaking.
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro, the Mexican director known for his penchant for dark fantasy, made a significant mark in the 2010s. His films are rich with mythical elements, and they often dive deep into the human psyche, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. “Crimson Peak” (2015) showcased his talent for gothic romance, while “Pacific Rim” (2013) delved into monster-movie territory.
However, it was “The Shape of Water” (2017) that became one of his most acclaimed works. This tale of an unlikely romance between a mute cleaning lady and an amphibious creature won Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards. Del Toro’s unique vision and ability to tell deeply emotional stories set within fantastical worlds have made him a standout director of the decade.
Ava DuVernay is a director known for her commitment to telling powerful stories that often revolve around racial and social justice. In the 2010s, she rose to prominence with films that tackled important historical and contemporary issues. “Selma” (2014), which chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights, was both a critical and commercial success, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
DuVernay’s work extends beyond traditional narrative films. Her documentary “13th” (2016) provided a scathing critique of the U.S. prison system and its ties to racial inequality. Furthermore, her direction of “A Wrinkle in Time” (2018) made her the first black woman to helm a live-action film with a budget over $100 million. DuVernay’s dedication to representation and her ability to shed light on important issues have positioned her as a pivotal director of the 2010s.
David Fincher is a filmmaker who has always been drawn to dark, complex stories. His films are known for their meticulous attention to detail, their intense atmosphere, and their exploration of the human psyche. In the 2010s, Fincher continued to push the boundaries of what was possible in the world of drama.
One of his most notable films of the decade was “Gone Girl” (2014), a psychological thriller that kept audiences on the edge of their seats. The film’s intricate plot, combined with Fincher’s signature visual style, made it a standout among the year’s releases. Another of his films that stood out was “The Social Network” (2010), a biopic about the creation of Facebook. The film was praised for its sharp writing, its nuanced performances, and its exploration of themes like power, ambition, and betrayal.
Martin Scorsese is a filmmaker who has been working in the industry for over five decades. In the 2010s, he continued to prove why he is one of the most respected and influential directors of all time. Scorsese is known for his ability to create films that are both gritty and poetic, and his work in the 2010s was no exception.
One of his most notable films of the decade was “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013), a dark comedy that explored the excesses of the financial industry. The film’s sharp writing, its dynamic performances, and its bold visual style made it a standout among Scorsese’s many great films. Another of his films that stood out was “Silence” (2016), a historical drama about Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan. The film was praised for its stunning cinematography, its powerful performances, and its exploration of themes like faith, doubt, and sacrifice.
Taika Waititi is a New Zealand filmmaker who has gained international recognition for his innovative storytelling and unique sense of humor. He is known for his ability to blend comedy with drama, and his films often explore themes of identity and belonging. Waititi’s breakout film was the 2014 comedy “What We Do in the Shadows,” which he co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in. The film was a critical and commercial success, and it helped establish Waititi as a major talent in the film industry.
Waititi’s 2019 film “Jojo Rabbit” was another critical and commercial success. The film tells the story of a young boy in Nazi Germany who discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. The film’s unique blend of comedy and drama, combined with its powerful message about the dangers of hate and prejudice, made it one of the most talked-about films of the year. Waititi’s ability to tackle difficult subject matter with humor and sensitivity has made him one of the most innovative storytellers of the 2010s.