Oscars 2022: Steven Spielberg Makes Awards History With His ‘West Side Story’ Best Director Nomination

Steven Spielberg is one of the most famous directors in the world. He directed several classics that continue to influence filmmaking to this day. Spielberg makes a big return to the Oscars 2022 with his adaptation of West Side Story. He officially made awards history with his nomination in the Best Director category.

Steven Spielberg brings ‘West Side Story’ to a new generation

'West Side Story' Oscars 2022 nominee Steven Spielberg standing in a suit
Steven Spielberg | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Spielberg’s West Side Story is the second feature film adaptation of the 1957 stage musical by the same name. 1961’s West Side Story won a big 10 Oscars out of its 11 nominations. The story explores a modern take on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet from the perspective of rival New York street gangs. The Jets and the Sharks battle over turf, but a forbidden romance develops between a man and woman from opposing sides of the conflict.

Critics and audiences swooned over Spielberg’s West Side Story. However, it didn’t perform well at the box office. The industry considers it a box office bomb, bringing in only $64 million worldwide against a $100 million budget. The exclusive theatrical release plan didn’t pan out quite as it did for other big titles this season. The musical genre had a rough year at the box office at large.

Steven Spielberg is the first person to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Director in 6 different decades

Entertainment Weekly announced that Spielberg is the first director to ever earn Oscar nominations for Best Director across 6 different decades. This is an astounding achievement. However, it makes sense that if any director achieved this, it would be Spielberg.

Spielberg earned his first Best Director Oscar nomination for 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Next, he earned a nomination for 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and again for 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. However, it would take multiple years for Spielberg to make another appearance back at the Oscars.

1993’s Schindler’s List landed Spielberg another Best Director nomination, followed by 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. Next, he earned an Oscar nomination for 2005’s Munich and 2012’s Lincoln.

Spielberg won the Oscar for Best Director for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. He earned a third win for the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1987.

‘West Side Story’ scores several Oscar nominations

Spielberg’s West Side Story earned 7 Oscar nominations, which is 4 less than the 1961 feature film adaptation. Nevertheless, the Academy nominated it for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, best picture, best production design, Best Sound, best costume design, best cinematography, and best directing.

Spielberg is nominated against The Power of the Dog‘s Jane Campion, Licorice Pizza‘s Paul Thomas Anderson, Belfast‘s Kenneth Branagh, and Drive My Car‘s Ryûsuke Hamaguchi. It’s likely that his biggest competition is Campion, although there is always the potential for an underdog to take the prize.

RELATED: Here’s Why Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Bombed at the Box Office and What That Means for Golden Globes and Oscars