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Steven Spielberg's Oscar nominations history: Past wins and nominations

Spielberg has been nominated for best director in six different decades.

Steven Spielberg's movies have defined pop culture for decades. At the 95th Academy Awards, Spielberg is back in the spotlight – this time, for a movie about his own life. "The Fabelmans" is an intimate examination of the filmmaker’s childhood.

Spielberg is considered the architect of the modern Hollywood blockbuster, with works like “Jurassic Park” and “Schindler’s List."

His legacy is also shown through setting Academy Awards records: Spielberg is the only director to have been nominated for best director in six different decades.

With "The Fabelmans" up for three awards, including best picture, let's take a look at Spielberg's past movies that were also in the running for the top award — and which have won.

How many Oscars has Steven Spielberg won?

Spielberg has been nominated for 22 Academy Awards, and has won three (with three nominations pending in the 2023 ceremony).

"Schindler's List" (1994) earned him best director and best picture. "Saving Private Ryan" (1999) earned him best director.

In 1987, he also received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, given to “creative producers whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”

Spielberg's movies have a long Oscars legacy. Take a look at his past nominations

'Jaws' (1975)

Spielberg’s seminal hit about a shark terrorizing a local beach community received a best picture nomination. John Williams, a frequent Spielberg collaborator, won his first Oscar for the classic, for best original score.   

'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' (1978) 

For this science fiction adventure, Spielberg scored his first best director nomination.

'Raiders of the Lost Ark' (1981)

The first entry in the Indiana Jones franchise garnered Spielberg a best picture and best director nomination. 

'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' (1982)

"E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," a heartfelt science fiction film centered around companionship between kids and their alien pal, earned Spielberg a Best Director and Best Picture nomination.  

'The Color Purple' (1985) 

Though "The Color Purple," an adaptation of Alice Walker's novel, earned 11 Oscar nominations, including best picture, it was shut out of all categories. The film marked Oprah Winfrey’s film debut; she earned an acting nomination.  

'Schindler’s List' (1993

For "Schindler’s List," a harrowing Holocaust drama, Spielberg won for best picture and best director.  "I have friends who have won this before, but ... I have never held one before. This is the first time I’ve ever had one of these in my hand," he said at the start of his acceptance speech, going on to thank people connected to the story.

'Saving Private Ryan' (1998)

Spielberg scored a best picture nomination and a best director win for this military epic. He also dedicated the film to his late father, who was a World War II veteran. 

'Munich' (2005)

"Munich," a spy drama centered around the Israeli government’s response towards a terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics, was nominated twice at the Academy Awards for best director and best picture. That year, Ang Lee won the best director category for "Brokeback Mountain," and "Crash" won best picture.

'Letters from Iwo Jima' (2007)

Spielberg produced this best picture nominee alongside Clint Eastwood, who directed. The Japanese language movie depicts the Battle of Iwo Jima, a WWII battle, from the perspective of Japanese soldier.

'War Horse' (2011) 

Spielberg nabbed a best picture nomination for this movie he directed about a young man and his horse at the outbreak of WWI.

'Lincoln' (2012)

For "Lincoln," Spielberg earned a best picture and best director nomination. Daniel Day-Lewis, starring as the titular president, received his third best actor award.

'Bridge of Spies' (2015) 

"Bridge of Spies," a cold war thriller that the Coen Brothers co-wrote, gained a best picture nomination, though Spielberg didn't get a best director nod. The film also marked a rare time where John Williams, Spielberg’s regular composer, did not compose the score. 

'The Post' (2017)

"The Post," which revolved around the Washington Post's publication of the Pentagon Papers in the '70s, scored Spielberg a best picture nomination.

'West Side Story' (2021)

Spielberg’s energetic remake of "West Side Story" garnered him a best picture and best director nominations.

 'The Fablemans' (2022) 

"The Fabelmans," which is based on Spielberg’s childhood and his love for movies, was nominated for best original screenplay, best director and best picture at the 2023 Oscars.