Okay, forgive me, but, another one. What are some movies by first-time directors who didn't get acknowledgment that in a just world would have? This can include directors who went on to enjoy successful careers or not. It can also include movies that weren't themselves necessarily unappreciated, but participants other than the director were disproportionally credited with its success. (A lot of movies with tremendous performances are candidates for this. Also, while JAWS doesn't qualify, at the time the studio and the award dispensers preferred to credit the film's monster success to Vera Miles rather than the youthful Spielberg...stuff like that counts.)
I'll attempt to suggest the potential of this thread by kicking it off with two non-obvious examples:
1. RETURN TO OZ - Disney's infamous, non-musical "sequel" to THE WIZARD OF OZ was directed by none other than legendary film editor and sound designer Walter Murch. It was a problematic, budget-breaking production that required George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola to actually come to bat for their friend when Disney brass wanted him fired in the middle of filming. When the movie died on arrival at the box office so too did any future for Murch's directing career. Revisited, this movie reveals itself to be a Grade A fantasy picture and an incredibly impressive outing for a first-timer. Our loss.
2. THE CABLE GUY - I constantly have to remind myself that Ben Stiller directed this. When the movie came out it was a success, but a somewhat muted one due to an audience that wasn't ready to see Carrey star as an obnoxious stalker in a jet-black comedy. I think most people agree now that this was a good movie, but I never see any acknowledgment of Stiller's highly competent work here. In context, I'm forced to call this a pretty auspicious directorial debut. In fact, you know what, I'm just gonna go there:
3. DIRTY WORK
How about you lot?