Who is the best director in Hollywood according to you? The question is a highly personal and subjective one, and no one answer can rightfully fit the bill. Enjoying a film comes down to our own inner worlds, relying on the connections between our own experiences to better absorb any piece of work. We are inextricably drawn to certain directors and their work, but does that mean that their work is really the defining work of the generation, simply because it managed to draw you in? Of course not. One person’s opinion barely matters when it comes to matters of the arts.

This is why a recent Study attempted to understand the overall critical consensus with regard to films made during the past 25 Years. It managed to rank 100 directors based on the overall performance of their recent works in the eyes of the critics, and the results were surprising to say the list.

Who is the best?

The study was conducted by Quartz using an incredulous amount of data supplied by Metacritic. In order to qualify for the list, a director needed to have at least six films that were released during the period between 1991 and 2016. The overall average of their top six films was used to determine the best director in recent history.

According to this study, Richard Linklater has been the best director over the last 25 years, with an overall average of 88.5 for his top six films.

This may come as a surprise to many, but not to film critics who have been raving over Linklater’s work. The director is truly exception and versatile, having risen from producing low budget slacker films to making films that went on to create history.

His best films according to Metacritic are “Boyhood,” “Before Midnight,” Waking Life,” “Everybody Wants Some,” “Before Sunset” and “School of Rock.” Just the sheer diversity in this list can give us a good indication of the kind of work Linklater prides himself on developing.

While “School of Rock” can be enjoyed by people of all ages, “Waking Life” can force you to think about the nature of reality and challenge your perceptions about the world.

The “Before” series ties together the story of two lovers, Jesse and Celine, in the most realistic and tangible way, while “Boyhood” managed to further the boundaries of directors who previously considered themselves to be ambitious.

The fact that Linklater has emerged to the top of this list manages to finally take him off the top of yet another list – The most underrated director in recent history.

The rest of the best

A lot of big names obviously featured on this list as well but they did not figure where most people expected them to land on the list. The top five was rounded off by Mike Leigh (“Secrets and Lies,” “Mr. Turner”), Jafar Panahi (“Closed Curtain,” “Taxi”), Jean-Pierre Dardenne (“Rosetta,” “Two Days, One Night”), and the Coen Brothers (“Fargo,” “Burn After Reading”).

The bigwigs to miss out on top honors included Steven Spielberg (7th), Martin Scorsese (8th), Paul Thomas Anderson (11th), Clint Eastwood (13th) and Quintin Tarantino (19th).

It was heartening to see that a lot of relatively unknown directors have been brought to the fore thanks to this study. Roger Ebert, the famed critic, has spoken out quite a few times about Jafar Panahi’s work as he considered him to be the best modern day director, but very few people seem to have watched his work. Hopefully, the mainstream will get a bit more diluted in the future with other lesser known works receiving the acclaim they truly deserve from audiences.