Steven Spielberg was anointed best director at Tuesday night’s Golden Globes ceremony, the ninth win of his career. But, he revealed on stage at the Beverly Hilton, his journey to becoming Hollywood’s most successful filmmaker wasn’t always linear.
Accepting the award for his autobiographical drama “The Fabelmans,” Spielberg admitted that’s partially why he’d been hesitant to share his most personal story onscreen. He says it took a bit of bravery to finally make the film, and in the process, grapple with painful themes like his parent’s divorce.
“I put a lot of things in my way of this story. I told this story in parts and parcels all through my career,” he said, referencing “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Munich” and “West Side Story.” “And my wife Kate [Capshaw] was always saying, ‘You have to tell this.’ During COVID, I didn’t know if any of us were going to have the chance to tell any of our stories again.”
Inspired by his own upbringing, “The Fabelmans” stars newcomer Gabriel LaBelle as a film-obsessed teenager growing up in Arizona and Northern California. It landed a total of five Globes nods, including best screenplay, as well as best supporting actress for Michelle Williams, who portrays a fictional version of Spielberg’s mother. The movie also won the prize for best motion picture — drama.
“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,” Spielberg said. “Everybody sees me as a success story… But nobody really knows who we are until we’re courageous enough to tell everyone.”
He continued, “I spent a lot of time trying to figure out when I could tell that story, and I figured out when I turned 74 years old. I said, ‘You better do it now.’ And I’m really, really happy I did.”
This year’s best director category, entirely comprised of men, was rounded out by James Cameron for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Baz Luhrmann for “Elvis” and Martin McDonagh for “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
The 2023 ceremony marks a return for the Globes, which were boycotted in 2022 by talent, media and creatives — and didn’t air on television — after concerns were brought to light about diversity in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (which at the time had no Black members) and other accountability issues.