2016 Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit
For Services to Film

2014 Australian Film Institute Awards
Best Telefeature or Mini Series: Top of the Lake

2014 Logie Awards (Australia)
Oustanding Miniseries or Telemovie: Top of the Lake

2014 Golden Globe Awards
Nominated for Best TV Movie or Mini-Series: Top of the Lake

2014 BAFTA Awards
Nominated for Best Drama Series: Top of the Lake
Nominated for Best Director - Television, Fiction: Top of the Lake

2013 Arts Foundation Laureate Award (New Zealand)

2013 Cannes Film Festival
Carrosse d'Or (Golden Coach): for a Filmmaker Displaying Innovative Qualities, Courage and Independent Mindedness

2013 Rialto Channel NZ Film Awards (The Moas)
Best Television Feature or Drama Series (shared with Emile Sherman and Iain Canning): Top of the Lake

2013 Emmy Awards
Nominated for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie (with Philippa Campbell, Emile Sherman and Iain Canning): Top of the Lake
Nominated for Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special (with Garth Davis): for Top of the Lake
Nominated for Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special (with Gerard Lee): for Top of the Lake

2009 Cannes Film Festival
Nominated for the Palme d'Or (Grand Prize): Bright Star

2009 British Independent Film Awards
Nominated for Director: for Bright Star

1999 Venice Film Festival 
Elvira Notari prize: for Holy Smoke
Nominated for Golden Lion (Grand Prize)

1994 Academy Awards
Original Screenplay: for The Piano
Nominated for Best Director: for The Piano

1994 New Zealand Film and Television Awards
Rudall Hayward Award

1994 Independent Spirit Awards (United States)
Foreign Film: for The Piano

1994 National Society of Film Critics Awards (United States)
Screenplay: for The Piano

1994 Writers Guild of America
Original Screenplay: for The Piano

1994 Golden Globe Awards
Nominated for Director and Screenplay: for The Piano

1994 Bafta Awards
Nominated for Best Film, Director And Original Screenplay: The Piano

1994 Director's Guild of America Awards
Nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures:  for The Piano

1993 Cannes Film Festival
Winner of Palme d'Or (Grand Prize) for The Piano
(Shared with Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine)

1993 New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Director and Screenplay: for The Piano

1993 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
Director and Screenplay: for The Piano
New Generation Award

1993 Australian Film Institute Awards
Director: for The Piano
Original Screenplay: for The Piano

1992 Independent Spirit Awards
Foreign Film: for An Angel at my Table

1991 Independent Spirit Awards
Foreign Film: for Sweetie

1990 Venice Film Festival
Grand Special Jury Prize (the festival's second prize), the Elvira Notari Prize, Agis Scuola Prize, and the OCIC Catholic award: for An Angel at my Table 

1990 Toronto International Film Festival
International Critics' Award: for An Angel at my Table

1990 New Zealand Film Awards
Best Director: for An Angel at my Table
Best Film: An Angel at my Table

1989 Australian Film Institute Awards
Original Screenplay: for Sweetie (shared with Gerard Lee)
Byron Kennedy Award (given to an individual early in their career whose work embodies qualities of "innovation, vision and the relentless pursuit of excellence")

1989 Cannes Film Festival
Nominated for the Palme d'Or for Sweetie

1986 Cannes Film Festival
Winner of the Palme d'Or for Best Short Film: for Peel

1984 Australian Film Institute Awards
Best Experimental Film (shared with Gerard Lee): for Passionless Moments
Best Short Film Screenplay: for A Girl's Own Story