The Oscar nominations have arrived. Truly a great day for people who care about celebrities telling other celebrities what a good job they did. There’s the usual mix of surprises, snubs and a few celebrations, but there’s also one pretty big moment for one very big director. Steven Spielberg broke his tie with fellow filmmaking legend Martin Scorsese to become the first director to be nominated for Best Director across six different decades.
He earned his eighth category nod on Tuesday morning, with West Side Story scoring nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design. West Side Story was a box office disappointment, but it was a marvel of filmmaking — ranking among Spielberg’s finest achievement in this stage of his career. A low haul can sometimes hurt a movie’s odds with Oscar voters, so good on the Academy for giving West Side Story the love it deserves here.
Spielberg’s first nomination came for Close Encounters of the Third Kind back in 1978. Since then, he’s been nominated for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Schindler’s List (1993), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Munich (2005), and Lincoln (2012). He won for Schindler’s List in 1994 and Saving Private Ryan in 1999.
Next up for Spielberg is The Fabelmans, a semi-autobiographical coming of age yarn starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Paul Dano, Gabriel LaBelle and David Lynch(!).