The Steven Spielberg we know today is almost so iconic and legendary we're surprised the clouds don't part for a heavenly light to shine on him wherever his travels should take him. But the Spielberg back in 1975 was a young up-and-comer who was starting to become something bigger. He had just directed Jaws, and watched the film take in a crazy amount of money at the box office, grossing close to $500 million worldwide in total. Steven Spielberg had officially arrived. When it came time for Oscar nominations, Spielberg was riding a wave so high he was probably convinced the film would earn him a nomination for best director.
It didn't. And thankfully for us, video of the moment Spielberg found out he wasn't nominated for best director exists online. In fact, the video shows us Spielberg's reaction to most of the nominations, including the part where Jaws is nominated for best picture. What makes it so great is being able to watch a rare slice of history in which a master of his craft actually fails at something. He fails at getting that directing nod, and you can tell in his face that he wanted it. He wanted it bad. This was a hungry Spielberg; a Spielberg that was on the cusp of ruling the big-screen for the next few decades.
After the best picture nod was announced, the mood still didn't brighten in Spielberg's office. During the nominations he was joined by friends (and character actors) Joe Spinell and Frank Pesce. These were the same actors who were originally supposed to play the two guys fishing for the shark at the dock in the film, though Pesce's schedule didn't allow him to do it. The duo make for some entertaining moments once the nominations have concluded; working to get Spielberg all riled up as the director rails on the fact that because his film was a box office success, he believes there was a backlash that fueled his being left off the list of director's nominated.
Check out two videos below. One is the entire clip of Spielberg and his buddies, while the other is from the documentary The Joe Spinell Story, which also touches on this moment.