If ‘The Fabelmans’ wins, Steven Spielberg will break another Golden Globes record

Just last year, “West Side Story” became the first movie directed by Steven Spielberg to be nominated for and win the Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy/Musical. Since his “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1983), “Schindler’s List” (1994), and “Saving Private Ryan” (1999) had all previously prevailed in the corresponding drama category, he joined Billy Wilder as only the second person to helm four winners of either of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s two top film prizes. With Best Drama contender “The Fabelmans,” he now has a shot at surpassing Wilder and bettering his standing in the Golden Globes record book.

“The Fabelmans” received a total of five Golden Globe nominations this year, including ones for Michelle Williams’s lead acting and John Williams’s score. The remaining two bids constitute Spielberg’s second for writing (shared with Tony Kushner) and 14th for directing (he won in 1994 and 1999). The film is a thinly-veiled account of Spielberg’s own adolescence, during which he developed a love for movie making amidst the disintegration of his parents’ marriage.

Spielberg has now directed a total of 12 Best Drama nominees. The eight that have so far lost the award are “Jaws” (1976; winner: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”), “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1978; “The Turning Point”), “The Color Purple” (1986; “Out of Africa”), “Empire of the Sun” (1988; “The Last Emperor”), “Amistad” (1998; “Titanic”), “War Horse” (2012; “The Descendants”), “Lincoln” (2013; “Argo”), and “The Post” (2018; “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”). All but “Empire of the Sun” and “War Horse” brought him directing nominations, as did “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1982), “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2002), “Munich” (2006), and his four films that conquered either top category.

Since Spielberg is currently one of only three directors of three Best Drama winners, he could also set a new record in that specific category. Those who preceded him in this regard were Elia Kazan (“Gentleman’s Agreement,” 1948; “On the Waterfront,” 1955; “East of Eden,” 1956) and David Lean (“The Bridge on the River Kwai,” 1958; “Lawrence of Arabia,” 1963; “Doctor Zhivago,” 1966). Wilder helmed two drama and two comedy/musical victors, with the first pair being “The Lost Weekend” (1946) and “Sunset Boulevard” (1951) and the second being “Some Like It Hot” (1960) and “The Apartment” (1961).

The other nine men who have each directed two Best Drama honorees are William Wyler, William Friedkin, Miloš Forman, Oliver Stone, Barry Levinson, Ang Lee, James Cameron, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Sam Mendes. Including Spielberg, a dozen people have directed at least one Best Drama and one Best Comedy/Musical winner, with the others being Otto Preminger, Norman Jewison, Stanley Kramer, Herbert Ross, John Huston, Sydney Pollack, Robert Zemeckis, Alan Parker, James L. Brooks, Alexander Payne, and Ridley Scott.

Another possible outcome of the 2023 Best Drama contest would involve “Avatar: The Way of Water” becoming the third of Cameron’s movies to take the prize, after “Titanic” and “Avatar.” “Babylon” could also be the second Damien Chazelle-directed film to receive the comedy/musical trophy (after “La La Land”), while Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” (drama) and Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” (comedy/musical) could put them on the previously mentioned cross-category list, since their respective films “Moulin Rouge!” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” already won the opposite awards.

The 80th Golden Globe Awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, January 10 in Beverly Hills, California. Jerrod Carmichael will host the live televised event, which is set to air on NBC and stream on Peacock.

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