Steven Spielberg Has Been Nominated For Oscars In Six Different Decades

The sheer brilliance of filmmaking legend Steven Spielberg was (rightfully) recognized during the 2022 Oscar nominations today, with his "West Side Story" earning seven nods in major categories. According to Entertainment Weekly, Spielberg has broken Oscars history by becoming the first individual to receive Best Director nominations across a span of six (!) decades. Spielberg's "West Side Story" not only received critical recognition during its release but was also received well by audiences — the love for the film has been cemented by nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design.

The Consistency of an Auteur

Spielberg, of course, has been recognized for his vision by the Academy over the years, given the fact that he has earned 19 Academy Award nominations in total for direction and production. The acclaimed director's decade-spanning streak started with 1978's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," succeeded by multiple nominations for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial" in the 1980s. There is no need for one to delve into why these films deserved their well-earned nominations, given their legacy in their individual genres and the lingering aura of a project that is distinctively (and delightfully) "Spielberg-ian" in nature.

Moving on to the 1990s, Spielberg's epic historical drama, "Schindler's List" garnered nominations and won the Best Picture and Best Director categories, followed by a subsequent Best Director win for "Saving Private Ryan." The 2000s brought nominations for "Munich" and "Lincoln" in multiple categories, while "The Post" was nominated in the Best Motion Picture of the Year category as recently as 2018. Concurrently, it is also worth noting that Spielberg also won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the 1987 Oscars, which is a major achievement on its own.

"West Side Story" is an Academy favorite, which is a welcome sign, given the film's poor box office performance in contrast to its positively rave reviews. This might just make audiences seek to visit (or revisit) Spielberg's grand musical, which is sprinkled with elements that come together effortlessly into a comprehensive whole. "West Side Story's" success at the 2022 Oscar nominations pushes Spielberg's record past fellow auteur Martin Scorsese, who has been nominated for Best Director across five decades for helming a wide range of films, including "Raging Bull," "Goodfellas," "The Wolf of Wall Street," and "The Irishman." Whether Scorsese is able to move in for a tie with his upcoming "Killers of the Flower Moon" remains to be seen.

Other Best Director nominees include Paul Thomas Anderson ("Licorice Pizza"), Kenneth Branagh ("Belfast"), Jane Campion ("The Power of the Dog"), and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi ("Drive My Car").

The 94th Academy Awards will be handed out Sunday, March 27, 2022.