Best Director Under 50

Out of my personal curiousity, whom does the Straight Dope Message Board regard as the best director under the age of 50 active today?

Ohh, by the way…

The only condition that I will attach is that you post the birthdate of your selection(s).

Steven Soderbergh, 40 years old (Jan. 14, 1963.) Far and away the answer to the question, IMHO.

I favor Wes Anderson (May 1, 1969). Director of Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums.

Spike Jonze (1969, no date at IMDB) also deserves a mention.

Peter Jackson
October 31, 1961

I second Soderbergh, and right behind him:

Sam Raimi
23 October, 1959

Ang Lee (23 Oct 1954). I haven’t seen the Hulk but I thoroughly enjoyed Crouching Tiger, Sense and Sensibility and Eat Drink Man Woman.

Alexander Payne (10 Feb 1961) who directed About Schmidt and Election two of the best comedies of the last few years.

How about M. Night Shyamalan, he’s only 33.

I’ll second Shyamalan.

And I’ll also add Guy Ritchie: 10 September 1968 (36). He directed Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. But he did make that really bad one: Swept Away.

I’ll have the Coen brothers 1954 and 1957.

Good choices all, but my personal favorites are

The Coen Brother (Joel-29 November 1954, Ethan-21 September 1957) (already mentioned) and
Paul Thomas Anderson (1 January 1970)

Some other possible nominations (maybe not “Best” but “Generally Pretty Darned Good”) not mentioned yet, in no particular order:
Baz Luhrmann (17 September 1962)
Sofia Coppola (12 May 1971) (only 2 films so far, but shows enormous talent)
David O. Russell (20 August 1958)
Bryan Singer (17 September 1965)
The Wachowski Brothers (Andy-29 December 1967, Larry-21 June 1965)
Richard Linklater (10 May 1962)
David Fincher (10 May 1962)
Christopher Nolan (30 July 1970)
Kimberly Peirce (8 September 1967)
Cameron Crowe (13 July 1957)
Chris Smith (IMDB says 1970, no month or day given) (he made American Movie)
Kevin Smith (2 August 1970)
Allison Anders (16 November 1954)
Alejandro Amenábar (31 March 1972)
Michael Moore (23 April 1954)
Spike Lee (20 March 1957)
Tom Tykwer (23 May 1965)
Neil LaBute (19 March 1963)

Er, make that Coen Brothers

I forgot Todd Haynes (2 January 1961)

Peter Jackson, then (in no particular order):

Takashi Miike (August 24, 1960)
Quentin Tarantino (March 27, 1963)
Darren Aronofsky (February 12, 1969)
Guillermo del Toro (October 9, 1964)
Lars von Trier (April 30, 1956)
…along with several others mentioned already on this thread (David Fincher, PT Anderson, Steven Soderbergh, etc).

Really, most great directors are under fifty anyway despite some exceptions (David Lynch, Woody Allen, David Cronenberg). A tougher list would’ve been Best Directors Under 30, which for now I’d give to Richard (Donnie Darko) Kelly, born March 28, 1975, and that’s really on the basis of one movie and the hope that he’ll continue to make quality movies and not be a one hit wonder.

Good ones Rainbowthief, I can’t believe I forgot Tarantino, Aronofsky, del Toro and von Trier on my list! I’m not familar with Takashi Miike and haven’t seen Donnie Darko yet. I most definitely agree with Peter Jackson.

I’ll throw in my votes for

Todd Solondz (15 October 1959)
Takashi Miike (25 August 1960)
David Fincher (10 May 1962)
M. Night Shyamalan (6 August 1970)
The Coen Brothers (Joel-29 November 1954, Ethan-21 September 1957)

Equipoise, do a search on Amazon and read the synopsis on the Takashi Miike films they carry. I think you might enjoy them since it doesn’t seem that you mind dark subject matter (you like Fincher). I especially love Miike’s “Audition.”

Good to see someone mention Amenábar too. I love his "Abre los ojos"and “The Others”.

M. Night Shyamalan (6 August 1970)
Darren Aronofsky (February 12, 1969)
Alejandro Amenábar (31 March 1972)
Christopher Nolan (30 July 1970)- assuming he doesn’t screw up with this whole batmn thing
Wes Anderson (May 1, 1969)-his movies aren’t for everone but none the less brillant
Jane Campion (April 30, 1954)
Luc Besson (March 18,1959)

Tim Burton (25 August 1958) is not my favourite director, but he’s one of the best and certainly deserves a mention in this thread.

If I had to pick a favourite it has to be The Coen Brothers, and Alejandro Amenábar is the most promising young director around.

Not that I think he’s anywhere near the best, but one of the young directors that belongs on the list is Robert Rodriguez.