List of accolades received by David Lynch

Accolades received by David Lynch
A man in a tuxedo looks directly at the camera, slightly smiling.

Lynch at the 42nd Primetime Emmy Awards

Total number of wins and nominations
Total number of accolades

David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed "Lynchian",[1] and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound design. Indeed, the surreal and in many cases violent elements to his films have earned them the reputation that they "disturb, offend or mystify" their audiences.[2]

Lynch's oeuvre encompasses work in both cinema and television. His films include The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story, and perhaps his most critically successful film, 2001's Mulholland Drive; whilst his television debut, Twin Peaks, earned five Emmy Award nominations for its first season.

In the course of his career, Lynch has received multiple awards and nominations. Amongst these are three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, and a nomination for best screenplay. Lynch has twice won France's César Award for Best Foreign Film, as well as the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. The French government has awarded him the Legion of Honour, the country's top civilian distinction, honoring him first as a Chevalier in 2002 and then as an Officier in 2009; Lynch has also been awarded the key to the city of Bydgoszcz, Poland. In 2017, Lynch was awarded The Edward MacDowell Medal by The MacDowell Colony for outstanding contributions to American culture.[3]


The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man is a 1980 American drama film based on the true story of Joseph Merrick (called John Merrick in the film), a severely deformed man in 19th century London. The film was directed by Lynch, who wrote the screenplay with Eric Bergren and Christopher De Vore.[4] It stars John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Michael Elphick, Hannah Gordon, and Freddie Jones.

Award Year Category Notes Result
Academy Awards[5] 1981 Best Director Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Shared with Christopher De Vore and Eric Bergren Nominated
British Academy Film Awards[6] 1981 Best Direction Nominated
Best Screenplay Shared with Christopher De Vore and Eric Bergren Nominated
César Awards[7] 1982 Best Foreign Film Won
Directors Guild of America Awards[8] 1981 Outstanding Directing Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[9] 1981 Best Director Nominated

Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet is a 1986 American mystery film written and directed by Lynch. The movie exhibits elements of both film noir and surrealism.[10][11] The film features Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, and Laura Dern.

Award Year Category Notes Result
Academy Awards[12] 1987 Best Director Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics[13] 1987 Best Director Tied with Oliver Stone for Platoon Won
Golden Globe Awards[9] 1987 Best Screenplay Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards[14] 1987 Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards[15] 1987 Best Director Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards[16] 1986 Best Director Won

Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart is a 1990 American film written and directed by Lynch, and based on Barry Gifford's 1989 novel Wild at Heart.[17] The film star Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern and Diane Ladd; and tells the story of Sailor Ripley and Lula Pace Fortune, a young couple from Cape Fear, North Carolina who go on the run from her domineering mother.

Award Year Category Result
Cannes Film Festival[18] 1990 Palme d'Or Won

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a 1992 American psychological horror film directed by Lynch, who co-wrote the screenplay with Robert Engels. The film stars Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Wise and Kyle MacLachlan; and can be viewed as both prologue and epilogue to the television series Twin Peaks, created by Lynch and Mark Frost.[19][20]

Award Year Category Notes Result
Cannes Film Festival[21] 1992 Palme d'Or Nominated
Saturn Awards 1993 Best Writing Shared with Robert Engels Nominated

The Straight Story

The Straight Story is a 1999 film directed by Lynch. The film was edited and produced by Mary Sweeney, who also co-wrote the script with John E. Roach. The film stars Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek and Harry Dean Stanton. The Straight Story is based on the true story of Alvin Straight's journey across Iowa and Wisconsin on a lawnmower.[22]

Award Year Category Result
Bodil Awards[23] 2000 Best American Film Won
Cannes Film Festival[24] 1999 Palme d'Or Nominated
European Film Awards[25] 1999 Screen International Award for a Non-European Film Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards[26] 2000 Best Director Nominated

Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir psychological thriller written and directed by Lynch, starring Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts, and Laura Harring. The film tells the story of an aspiring actress named Betty Elms, newly arrived in Los Angeles, California, who meets and befriends an amnesiac hiding in her aunt's apartment. The story includes several other seemingly unrelated vignettes that eventually connect in various ways, as well as some surreal scenes and images that relate to the cryptic narrative.[27]

Award Year Category Notes Result
Academy Awards[28] 2002 Best Director Nominated
American Film Institute[29] 2002 Best Director Nominated
Bodil Awards[23] 2003 Best American Film Won
Boston Society of Film Critics[13] 2002 Best Director Won
Cannes Film Festival 2001 Best Director[18] Tied with Joel Coen for The Man Who Wasn't There Won
Palme d'Or[30] Nominated
César Award[7] 2002 Best Foreign Film Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards[31] 2002 Best Director Won
Golden Globe Awards[9] 2002 Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards[32] 2002 Best Director Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards[33] 2001 Best Director Won

Inland Empire

Inland Empire is a 2006 mystery film. The film stars Laura Dern, Justin Theroux, Harry Dean Stanton, Grace Zabriskie, Jeremy Irons and Diane Ladd. While remaking a Polish film that was abandoned after a mysterious tragedy, an actress finds herself falling for a fellow cast member and realises that her life is starting to echo the plot of their production.[34]

Award Year Category Result
National Society of Film Critics[16] 2007 Best Experimental Film Won
Venice Film Festival[35] 2006 Future Film Festival Digital Award Won