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Alfonso Cuarón Is the Best Director of the 21st Century, According to Metacritic — See the Top 25

Paul Thomas Anderson, Ava DuVernay and Alexander Payne all rank high as well.

Alfonso Cuaron

Alfonso Cuarón

Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Using the proprietary powers of the Metascore, everyone’s favorite review aggregator (sorry, Rotten Tomatoes) has ranked the 25 best directors of the 21st century. The results were found by averaging the reviews of filmmakers who have released at least four movies since January 1, 2000, and thus represent more of a number crunch than a subjective list.

As the two lowest-ranked auteurs are tied with an average Metascore of 78.4, essentially anyone who’s released at least one movie that received middling reviews didn’t make the cut — meaning that everyone from Quentin Tarantino and Terrence Malick to Sofia Coppola and Wes Anderson won’t be found here.

Topping the list is Alfonso Cuarón, whose average score of 87.5 comes from four highly acclaimed movies: “Gravity” (96), “Y Tu Mamá También” (88), “Children of Men” (84), and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (82). It seems that not being especially prolific may be an advantage in this case. Full results below.

25. (tie) Bahman Ghobadi
25. (tie) Jeff Nichols
24. Edgar Wright
23. Hirokazu Koreeda
22. Guy Maddin
21. Jacques Audiard
20. Abbas Kiarostami
19. Richard Linklater
18. Brad Bird
16. (tie) Nuri Bilge Ceylan
16. (tie) Hou Hsiao-hsien
15. Miguel Gomes
13. (tie) Bong Joon-ho
13. (tie) Kelly Reichardt
12. Ava DuVernay
11. Mia Hansen-Løve
10. Frederick Wiseman
09. Mike Leigh
08. Asghar Farhadi
06. (tie) Paul Thomas Anderson
06. (tie) The Ross Brothers
05. Jafar Panahi
04. Hayao Miyazaki
03. The Dardenne Brothers
02. Alexander Payne
01. Alfonso Cuarón

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