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January 11, 2023 1:18 pm

Steven Spielberg and Biopic About His Jewish Family Win Best Picture, Best Director at Golden Globes


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Steven Spielberg. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

Steven Spielberg won the award for best director at the 2023 Golden Globes on Tuesday night for The Fabelmans, his autobiographical film about his Jewish family that also took home the trophy for best picture in the drama category.

Spielberg joked in his acceptance speech for the best director award that although he is “really, really happy” about receiving the honor, “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 Leah. She is up there kvelling about this right now,” said the director, who also admitted that he never prepares an acceptance speech because of superstition.

Spielberg’s mother died in 2017 while his father died in 2020 at 103.

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The Fabelmans is about Sammy Fabelman, a character based on Spielberg, who develops a love for filmmaking throughout his life, beginning in his childhood. Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play characters based on Spielberg’s parents and Seth Rogen portrays his father’s best friend. The coming-of-age film includes aspects of the family’s Jewish identity. It received five Golden Globes nominations, including best screenplay and best supporting actress for Williams.

Spielberg also shared on stage during his acceptance speech for best director that he was hesitant to share his personal family story on the big screen.

“I’ve been hiding from this story since I was 17 years old. 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, Lincoln and West Side Story. “I never had the courage to hit this story head on … 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.”

He added: “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. Everybody sees me as a success story… 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 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.”

The award for best picture in a drama was the final one handed out at the Golden Globes on Tuesday night, and it was presented to Spielberg and his cast by fellow filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. It was up against Todd Field’s TÁR, Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis.

In his acceptance speech on stage with the cast of The Fabelmans, Spielberg reminisced about his days of being a personal assistant on set to famed actor John Cassavetes, to now being a Golden Globe-winning director.

Spielberg took home the eighth and ninth wins of his career at the Golden Globes on Tuesday night.

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