Michaël R. Roskam attended St. Lucas Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, where he studied painting and contemporary art, and the Binger Film Institute in Amsterdam where he graduated in 2005 with a master's degree in script writing. After several jobs as a journalist for Flemish newspaper De Morgen and a copywriter, he directed his first short film entitled Haun in 2002. This was followed by Carlo (2004), another short film which won the Audience Award at Leuven International Short Film Festival. In 2005, he made The One Thing To Do and, in 2007, Today is Friday, based on an Ernest Hemingway short story, that was filmed in Los Angeles.
Roskam made his feature film debut with Bullhead (prod. Savage Film) which was released in 2011. In 2012 the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He was named by Variety one of the "10 directors to watch". For Bullhead he received the Magritte Award for Best Screenplay and the André Cavens Award for Best Film by the Belgian Film Critics Association (UCC), among over 35 other international awards. In June 2012, Roskam was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Bullhead became a major critical and commercial success, while launching the careers of actor Matthias Schoenaerts and DOP Nicolas Karakatsanis, who have both become Roskam's close collaborators.
2014 The Drop (prod. Chernin Entertainment), Roskam's first US-based film, was released worldwide through Fox Searchlight, featuring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, the late James Gandolfini and Matthias Schoenaerts.
In 2015 he directed the first two episodes of Berlin Station, a television series produced by Anonymous Content.His next European feature film, Le Fidèle (prod. Savage Film & Stone Angels), featuring Matthias Schoenaerts and Adèle Exarchopoulos, will start shooting in Spring 2016.