It’s hard to get any more prestigious than Steven Spielberg. The legendary American director has an awards shelf that could take up any other person’s house, including 19 Academy Award nominations – eight for his directing work and 11 for his producing work on Best Picture nominees.
But the film icon’s 2022 nomination in Best Director for West Side Story has put Spielberg in rarefied air: he is now the only director to ever be nominated for an Oscar in six different decades.
Spielberg’s first nomination for Best Director came in 1978 with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Ever since, he’s had at least one nomination in every ten-year stretch – Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial in the 1980s, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan in the 1990s, Munich in the 2000s, Lincoln in the 2010s, and now West Side Story in the 2020s.
Spielberg breaks his tie with fellow legend Martin Scorsese for having five consecutive decades of Best Director nominees. Scorsese will likely look to re-tie that record when Killers of the Flower Moon comes out sometime this year, but for now, Spielberg is in a league of his own.
West Side Story was an Academy favourite this year, having also earned nominations for Best Picture (which Spielberg, as producer, is also nominated for), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (for Ariana DeBose), Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design.
Other nominees for Best Director this year include Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza, Kenneth Branagh for Belfast, Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog, and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi for Drive My Car.