FBC 2022 OSCAR COVERAGE, PART III: Where Does West Side Story Rank In The Spielberg Pantheon?

With his nomination for West Side Story, Steven Spielberg joined Billy Wilder at third place for the most Best Director nominations of all time with eight. He’s four behind the great William Wyler, but it’s who is just one ahead of him that I find more interesting: Martin Scorsese.

I don’t think Spielberg has much of a chance to win this year, which means he will have lost that category six times. Now, to put that in perspective, that is a very impressive number especially when you consider that he has more LOSSES than some of the greats like Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, etc.) have total nominations.

Best Director nominee Steven Spielberg arrives on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO/FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s what I find interesting about Scorsese having more nominations: while he is an amazing and influential filmmaker, Steven Spielberg is the greatest director of my lifetime. And to be in his sixth decade of moviemaking with only two Oscars and eight nominations is kind of an insult to the man. And I know it seems crazy to be so revered and decorated AND underrated at the same time, but Spielberg has been redefining the concept of success in the art of film his entire career.

Looking over the Spielberg filmography, one thing becomes perfectly clear: when he takes on a genre, he makes one of the best films to ever define it. You want thrillers? Check out Jaws or Jurassic Park. Sci-fi masterpieces? How about Close Encounters Of The Third Kind? You like your action hero flicks. Just remember who gave us Indiana Jones.

War films? He crushed it. Historical dramas? Get out of his way. Family films? There are no equals. And, with West Side Story, he also showed he could make an amazing musical.

Anyone who read my year-end piece saw that I said that West Side Story was my favorite film of 2021, and I stand by that. So, while Spielberg stands atop the directors who made movies this year, it had me wonder where West Side Story ranked in his catalog. Let’s list it up, baby!

The Best Steven Spielberg Movies

33. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)
32. 1941 (1979)
31. Hook (1991)

30. The Terminal (2004)
29. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
28. The Adventures Of Tintin (2011)
27. The Sugarland Express (1974)
26. Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984)
25. Ready Player One (2017)
24. War Of The Worlds (2005)

23. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
22. Always (1989)
21. Duel (1971)
20. War Horse (2011)
19. The BFG (2016)
18. Amistad (1997)
17. Empire Of The Sun (1987)
16. The Post (2018)
15. The Color Purple (1985)
14. Minority Report (2002)
13. Munich (2005)
12. Bridge Of Spies (2015)
11. Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989)

10. Lincoln (2012)
9. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
8. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. West Side Story (2021)
6. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

5. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

4. Jaws (1975)

3. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

2. Jurassic Park (1993)

1. Schindler’s List (1993)

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