Darren Aronofsky is an American filmmaker. His films are noted for their surreal, melodramatic, and often disturbing elements, frequently in the form of psychological fiction.
Aronofsky studied film and social anthropology at Harvard University before studying directing at the AFI Conservatory. He won several film awards after completing his senior thesis film, Supermarket Sweep, which became a National Student Academy Award finalist. In 1997, he founded the film and TV production company Protozoa Pictures. His feature film debut, the surrealist psychological thriller Pi (1998), was produced for $60,000 and grossed over $3 million; it won Aronofsky the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival and an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Aronofsky's follow-up, the psychological drama Requiem for a Dream (2000), garnered strong reviews and received an Academy Award nomination for Ellen Burstyn's performance.
After writing the World War II horror film Below (2002), Aronofsky released his third film, the romantic fantasy sci-fi drama The Fountain (2006). It received mixed reviews and performed poorly at the box-office, but has since garnered a cult following. His fourth film, the sports drama The Wrestler (2008), was released to critical acclaim; both of the film's stars, Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, received Academy Award nominations. His fifth film, the psychological horror Black Swan (2010), received further acclaim and many accolades, with five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and a Best Actress win for Natalie Portman. His sixth feature film, the biblically inspired epic Noah (2014), became his first film to open at No. 1 at the box office despite its mixed reception from critics and audiences. His seventh and eighth films, mother! (2017) and The Whale (2022), sparked controversy and received both widespread acclaim and criticism.