Robert Altman was nominated for Best Director five times for M*A*S*H*, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts and Gosford Park—but he never won. "They'll never give me an Oscar," he told Total Film in 2004. But, the Academy did, eventually, give Altman an Oscar. In 2006, just months before his death, he received the Honorary Oscar for his long and impressive career as a Hollywood filmmaker.

Stanley Kubrick was nominated for Best Director four times throughout his career, for the films Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, and Barry Lyndon. Though he never won an award for directing, he did take home one Oscar for Best Special Visual Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick did not create the visual effects. He directed them. This Oscar that Kubrick won is the only Oscar he ever won. He was an incredibly gifted director and should have gotten something for directing and writing. These were his real strengths—not special effects.

Though Citizen Kane is considered one of the greatest films of all time, Orson Welles lost the 1941 Best Director Oscar to John Ford and How Green Was My Valley. But he didn't go home entirely empty-handed. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, along with Herman J. Mankiewicz, for the film Citizen Kane.

In 1971, Welles received the Academy Honorary Award for "superlative artistry and versatility in the creation of motion pictures."

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