See a disappointed, baby-faced Spielberg watch 1976 Oscar noms

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Dec 17, 2012

These days, it's hard to imagine Steven Spielberg as anything but, well, STEVEN SPIELBERG. He's been such a powerhouse for so long that it's easy to forget that he wasn't always that way. For proof, check out this footage of a very young Spielberg, fresh off Jaws, finding out via live TV that he didn't get an Oscar nomination.

The footage was apparently shot in 1976 for a TV special about the Academy Awards, and features Spielberg and his two actor friends Frank Pesce and Joe Spinell watching the nomination announcements for the 48th Academy Awards.

By this point, Jaws had already become the highest-grossing film of all time, and the first film to make more than $100 million theatrically. Spielberg was one of the hottest directors alive. He'd invented the blockbuster and changed Hollywood forever. Of course, he didn't know that yet, but he was confident enough in Jaws to expect a big day.

"You're about to see us sweep the nominations," Spielberg said. "We're very confident."

Spielberg was expecting 11 nominations for his film. He got four: Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Sound. Of course, Spielberg is most upset by his own lack of nomination for Best Director, and so are his friends.

"You cannot have the Best Picture unless the director is also nominated," Spinell said.

Spielberg is obviously disappointed, but at no point does he seem ready to throw a fit. It's a fascinating look at a young director on the cusp of having the biggest career any director has ever had, and it's particularly amusing to hear Spielberg react to his snubbing the same way so many other blockbuster makers still do.

"This is called commercial backlash," he said. "When a film makes a lot of money, people resent it. Everybody loves a winner, but nobody loves a winner."

Jaws lost Best Picture that year to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but it won the three other Oscars it was nominated for. Spielberg only had to wait two more years to earn his first Oscar nomination for Best Director for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He's now been nominated a total of six times and won twice, for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan.

Interestingly, this year was also a Spielberg snub year, despite the fact that War Horse earned a Best Picture nod. You gotta wonder if his reaction is any different these days.

(via The Daily What)