Steven Spielberg has accomplished yet another feat of cinematic brilliance. With his nomination for Best Director for West Side Story, Spielberg became the only director in Oscar history to receive the award six times. This was also his eighth nomination, tying him with Billy Wilder for third most all time. Behind Martin Scorsese, who has 9, and William Wyler, the director of Roman Holiday, who has the most with 12.
Even without some of his most well-known films, Spielberg’s list of nominees is a formidable one, so let’s begin ranking them.
1. Lincoln (2012)
Cast- Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
As the American Civil War draws to a close in 1865, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln works to pass a momentous constitutional amendment that will abolish slavery in the United States for all time. However, his effort is a race against time. Because peace could come at any time, and if it does, the returning southern states will prohibit the amendment from becoming law. Before peace arrives and it is too late. Lincoln must gain enough votes from a resistant Congress by virtually any means conceivable. Nonetheless, the president feels conflicted, because a quick agreement will save thousands of lives. As the country wrestles with its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, Lincoln is faced with a moral dilemma: eliminate slavery or terminate the war.
2. Munich (2005)
Cast- Eric Bana, Ayelet Zurer, Daniel Craig, Mathieu Kassovitz
Following the death of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by Black September, Prime Minister Golda Meir authorises a secret operation to track down and execute all those implicated. Avner, a low-level Mossad technologist whose father was a war hero and whose wife is pregnant, leads a team of five to Switzerland. It’s a disposable unit, yet they track and kill a number of people throughout Europe and Lebanon using paid informants. They must always be on the lookout for the CIA, the KGB, the PLO, and their own sources. Questions, concerns, and sleepless nights grow as the body count rises, with retaliation following retribution. Loyalties become hazy. What exactly does it imply to be a Jew?
3. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Cast- Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Vin Diesel
Beginning on June 6, 1944, with the Allied invasion of Normandy, men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, led by Cpt. Miller, fight ashore to establish a beachhead. Two brothers are slain in battle during the fighting. A third brother was killed earlier in New Guinea. Mrs. Ryan, their mother, will receive all three grave telegrams on the same day. When the United States Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall, learns of a fourth brother, Private James Ryan, he decides to send out 8 soldiers (including Cpt. Miller and members of the 2nd Rangers) to find him and return him to his mother.
4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1997)
Cast- Richard Dreyfuss, Francois Truffaut, Melinda Dilon, Cary Guffrey
Cableman Roy Neary is one of several people who has witnessed UFOs flying across the night sky and has had a close encounter of the first class. He is then haunted by a mountainlike vision in his head and becomes preoccupied with figuring out what it means, putting his marriage under considerable strain. Meanwhile, government officials around the world are having a second close encounter, with concrete evidence of extraterrestrial visits in the shape of military vehicles that went missing decades ago and have suddenly appeared in the middle of nowhere. Roy and the agents both pursue the information they’ve been provided to a location where they’ll experience a third-kind close encounter: contact.
5. E.T. The Extra- Terrestrial (1982)
Cast- Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Robert MacNaughton, Doe Wallace
A harmless extraterrestrial being is stranded on Earth after being abandoned by his group of secret visitors, surrounded by an intimidatingly bizarre and mysterious environment. The marooned being, alone and afraid, is fortunate to be discovered by Elliott, a lonely ten-year-old child who, after the initial shock, decides to take him in and names him E.T. As our friendly blue planet transforms into a prison filled with hazards and government agents, Elliott and his band of rescues must work quickly to discover a method to return the exceptional cosmic visitor with his otherworldly family. Even if it means Elliott will lose a dear but unexpected buddy.
6. West Side Story (1961)
Cast- Rita Moreno, Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, George Chakiris
William Shakespeare’s classic storey of Romeo and Juliet (1968) comes to life on a scorching late-1950s summer in New York’s Upper West Side, as a deep hostility between two opposing street gangs lays the road for grief and catastrophe. The Montagues’ clan is at strife with the Capulets once more. Riff’s gang of defiant second-generation New Yorkers, the Jets, and Bernardo’s brass gang of Puerto Rican immigrants, the Sharks, are fighting for control of the neighbourhood this time. A climactic rumble is inescapable in those volatile conditions; however, not before Tony, a former Jet, and Maria, Bernardo’s younger sister, fall head over heels in love. There’s no turning back now—and, in true Shakespearean fashion, there’s no simple way out.
7. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Cast- Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, George Lucas, Paul Freeman
The United States government enlists the help of Indiana Jones, an American archaeologist, university professor, and man of adventure, after it is rumoured that Adolf Hitler’s Nazis have pinpointed the secret resting place of the fabled Ark of the Covenant, the sacred artefact that holds the Ten Commandments. Indiana journeys to the perilous slopes of Nepal, then to mystical Cairo, where he partners up with his old flame Marion and his friend Sallah, who are suspected of containing an unfathomable destructive force. The way to the desired relic, however, passes through Indy’s cunning arch-rival, Dr René Belloq, and the sadistic Gestapo commander Major Toht’s armed-to-the-teeth army, in a frantic race against time.
8. Schindler’s List (1993)
Cast- Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Embeth Davidtz
In 1939, businessman Oskar Schindler arrives in Krakow, eager to profit from World War II, which had just begun. He joins the Nazi party primarily for political reasons, and he employs Jewish workers in his factory for similar reasons. When the SS begins exterminating Jews in the Krakow ghetto, Schindler arranges for the safety of his workers in order to keep his factory running, but he soon discovers that he is also sparing the lives of innocent people.