Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Oscar-Winning Directors at Work

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The Oscars are just around the corner, and we’re very much looking forward to sitting down this Sunday night and watching them unfold. (Much more excited than we were about the Grammys, anyway.) The point of interest, as ever, will be who walks away the Best Director award — even with the golden age of the auteur long behind us, the director’s chair continues to hold a certain mystique, as do the people who occupy it. It’s intriguing to watch directors at work, to see how differently they translate their ideas into reality, and in this vein, we’ve collected some fascinating behind-the-scenes photos of the most distinguished directors to receive the Best Director award over the years. And Mel Gibson.

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Frank Borzage

The very first winner of the Best Director award, for Seventh Heaven in 1927.

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John Ford

The notoriously cranky director was nominated for five Best Director awards, winning four times between 1935 and 1952.

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Victor Fleming

On the set of Gone With the Wind, 1939. Fleming is seated second from right; with him are Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.

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George Stevens and James Dean

On the set of Giant, for which Stevens won best director in 1956.

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John Schlesinger and Jon Voight

On the set of Midnight Cowboy, 1969.

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Steven Spielberg

OK, so Spielberg didn’t win for Jaws, but this was too good not to use.

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Oliver Stone

With Tom Cruise (and rather fetching shorts) on the set of Born on the Fourth of July, 1989.

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Mel Gibson

Rallying the troops on the set of Braveheart, 1995. Notably, looks no crazier with blood and blue facepaint than without.

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Kathryn Bigelow

The one and only female winner, for The Hurt Locker in 2009.

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Michael Hazanavicius (with Jean Dujardin and Uggie the dog)

Last year’s winner of the Best Director award on the set of The Artist.