The three that I most admire currently are Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen brothers, and Michael Haneke.
Paul Thomas Anderson is a genius in my opinion and every movie that he has made is great. He brings out amazing performances in actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix, and even Adam Sandler. Not to mention be provides an acute portrayal on lofty subjects without resorting to manipulation or sentiment.
The Coen brothers also provide a wry look at society. Their movie combine an in-depth look at deeply flawed characters while utilizing dark and often bizarre humor. Not to mention they’re masters of many genres from westerns to musicals.
Michael Haneke is also one of my favorites. I saw my first Haneke film, Amour, a bit over a year ago. Since then, I’ve also seen Caché, The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, and Funny Games (1997). All of them are takes on the sadism and brutality of humanity. A Haneke movie isn’t for everyone, but his films thrill me like few others. Also, I actually got to meet him and get his autograph.
But who would you pick?