Steven Spielberg won one for the family.
The filmmaker, 76, won best director at the Golden Globes on Tuesday for his semi-autobiographical film The Fablemansbeating out James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water), Baz Luhrmann (Elvis), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once). This is Spielberg’s 20th nomination and fourth win, including when he was given the Cecil B. DeMille Award back in 2009.
“I always say that if I prepare something, you know, it’s going to jinx it, so I never prepare anything and I’m really, really happy about this,” Spielberg said while accepting the honor. “But I’m … there’s I think … there’s five people happier than I am. There’s my sister Anne, my sister Sue, my sister Nancy, my dad Arnold and my mom. She is up there kvelling about this right now. “
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Spielberg continued to explain how, for a while, he hesitated to tell the story of The Fablemansbased on his youth.
“I’ve been hiding from this story since I was 17 years old,” he said. “I put a lot of things in my way of this story. I told this story in parts and parcels all through my career. ET has a lot to do with this story, Close encounters has a lot to do with this story, but I never had the courage to hit this story head-on until Tony Kushner, when we were working on Munich, which was a long time ago, sat me down and said, ‘Start telling me about all these stories I’ve heard about your life.’ And we started a conversation.”
The three-time Oscar winner said his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, encouraged him to put those stories on paper.
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“My wife Kate was always saying, ‘You have to tell this story.’ And during COVID, I didn’t know if any of us were going to have the chance to tell any of our stories again in March, April, May of 2020,” Spielberg said. “So we sat down to tell a story which is, I think, everything I’ve done up to this point has made me ready to finally be honest about the fact that it’s not easy to be a kid, the fact that everybody sees me as … everybody sees me as a success story and everybody sees all of us the way they perceive us based on how they get the information, but nobody really knows who we are until we’re courageous enough to tell everyone who we are.
“And I spent a lot of time trying to figure out when I can tell that story. And I figured out when I turned about 74 years old, I said, ‘You better do it now.’ “
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Spielberg directed and co-wrote The Fablemans, which is inspired by his own childhood and stars Michelle Williams and Paul Dano as characters based on his parents. Spielberg’s mom Leah died in 2017 at 97 and his dad Arnold died in 2020 at 103.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in November about his personal new film, Spielberg said his parents had been “nagging” him to put them on the big screen prior to their deaths.
“They were actually nagging me, ‘When are you going to tell that story about our family, Steve?’ And so this was something they were very enthusiastic about,” he said.
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He also shared what finally prompted him to make The Fablemans: “I started seriously thinking, if I had to make one movie I haven’t made yet, something that I really want to do on a very personally atomic level, what would that be? And there was only one story I really wanted to count.”
The 80th Golden Globe Awards ceremony is airing live on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.