‘West Side Story’ continues Steven Spielberg’s legendary Best Picture run at the Oscars

When Steven Spielberg directs a movie, the chances are good the finished work will land among the year’s Best Picture nominees — and that was proven once again on Tuesday morning as Spielberg’s “West Side Story” landed among the 2022 Oscars Best Picture nominees.

Including his breakout blockbuster “Jaws,” Spielberg has now directed 12 Best Picture nominees: “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “The Color Purple,” “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Munich,” “War Horse,” “Lincoln,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Post,” and “West Side Story.” Of those 12 films, only “Schindler’s List” won the Oscar for Best Picture.

As an individual nominee, Spielberg has received a record 11 Best Picture nominations — for all of the above films except “Jaws” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and also Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima,” which counted Spielberg as a producer.

Directing 12 Best Picture nominees in his career puts Spielberg in rarified air. Only Spielberg and William Wyler have ever directed double-digit Best Picture nominees, with Wyler serving as the filmmaker on 13 contenders. The closest living director to cracking double-digits on that front is Martin Scorsese with eight Best Picture nominees on his resume.

All told, Spielberg has won three competitive Oscars, two for “Schindler’s List” (Best Picture and Best Director) and one for “Saving Private Ryan” (Best Director). With nominations for Best Picture as well as Best Director this year for “West Side Story,” Spielberg now has 19 total Oscar nominations.

“West Side Story” stars Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort as Maria and Tony, two star-crossed lovers living in 1950s New York City. The original “West Side Story” won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The Spielberg version received seven nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress for Ariana DeBose, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Sound.

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