Steven Spielberg has been nominated for Best Director at the Oscars nine times, but has only won twice (Schindlers List, Saving Private Ryan). He also picked up Best Picture once (Schindlers List). He has a chance to add to this with The Fabelmans nominated in multiple categories.

One of the Academies most puzzling omissions was when Jaws was nominated for Best Picture, but he wasn’t nominated for Best Director, even as the Directors Guild Of America awarded him the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures gong for that movie.


So he knows a thing or two about missing out. When interviewed with Deadline yesterday after his latest nominations, he talked particularly about the expansion of the Best Picture category to ten nominees.

The Best Picture award consisted of five nominees until after 2009, when it was expanded to up to ten. It is now mandatory to have ten titles. This means more popular movies such as Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick can rub shoulders with breakout films like Everything Everywhere All at Once, and small art-house Oscar bait like The Banshees of Inisherin. It can be more populist and open, as a category.

Spielberg says he is pleased the Academy is recognising box-office giants and points to what he regards as a terrible omission on their part:

“It came late for the film that should have been nominated a number of years ago, Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’. That movie would have definitely garnered a Best Picture Nomination today, so having these two blockbusters solidly presented on the top 10 list is something we should all be celebrating.”

It was another Jaws type situation, with a big and popular movie getting multiple nominations, but missing out on a key category. In this case it was Best Picture. Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk and The Reader took all the slots, meaning The Dark Knight was nominated for eight Oscars, won two, but still couldn’t even get a Best Picture nomination.


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