“It was a Kafka-esque experience,” said filmmaker Steven Spielberg during an “Academy Conversations” Q&A about his film “The Fabelmans,” his first truly autobiographical film. Watch him, co-writer Tony Kushner, and actors Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Gabriel LaBelle, and Judd Hirsch discuss the film with moderator Anthony Breznican for Oscar voters above.
“The Fabelmans” is a fictionalized account of Spielberg’s adolescence, his relationships with his family, and his budding love of film. Casting it felt especially surreal “because I was casting this based on people I knew pretty well and that’s what sort of made it difficult.” But it was even harder deciding to make the movie in the first place. “This is my private life. In everything we perform in or write or direct or produce, we leave a little of ourselves behind, and so all of my films I consider to be personal films, but I’ve never really made a movie that is about a lived experience as opposed to just a metaphor to something else.”
The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival — Spielberg’s first time debuting at the fest — and won the People’s Choice Award. It then opened on November 11 to mostly glowing reviews, so now it’s one of the top Oscar contenders for Best Picture. In fact, it gets leading 13/2 odds of winning the top prize from the Motion Picture Academy. Spielberg is also the front-runner for Best Director with 69/20 odds. Spielberg previously won Best Picture for “Schindler’s List” (1993) and Best Director for “Schindler’s” and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), but it has been almost a quarter century since he last prevailed. Will his most personal movie get him back to the Oscars podium?
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