Martin Scorsese & Steven Spielberg Could Compete at Oscars for Maestro

Guess how many times cinema legends Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg have gone head-to-head at the Oscars?

With 37 nominations between them and five decades of indelible classics, such as the gangster epic “Casino” (1995) and the shark thriller “Jaws” (1975), you might assume at least half a dozen ceremonies have seen both auteurs prominently recognized.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

Well, guess again. There’s been only one face-off, and it wasn’t even in the best director category. It was in the 2012 race for best picture between two of their arguably less-talked-about features — Scorsese’s Parisian adventure epic “Hugo” and Spielberg’s World War I drama “War Horse.”

They lost to Michel Hazanavicius’ silent-era drama “The Artist” (although “Hugo” was the year’s most nominated and awarded film with 11 and five, respectively).

Now, more than a decade later, the cinematic masters might compete against each other for the second time. On top of that, they could be in the running to share an Oscar win.

The veterans are credited producers on Netflix’s Leonard Bernstein biopic “Maestro,” alongside writer, director and star Bradley Cooper. If (when?) the drama receives a best picture nom, it’ll be the first time the two names are listed together.

Courtesy of Netflix

“Maestro” follows the renowned composer-conductor through decades of creating music against the backdrop of his marriage to Felicia Montealegre (played exquisitely by Carey Mulligan). Coming off its special screening at the New York Film Festival, “Maestro” received raves from the audience, solidifying the awards prospects for its performances and technical achievements — and bolstering the streamer’s quest for the Academy’s top prize. Having names like Spielberg and Scorsese on the credits list will only help the film grab industry voter attention and propel Cooper in the director race.

The two directors have an uncanny ability to capture and even transcend genres, cultures and periods. Scorsese’s gritty portrayal of urban life in “Taxi Driver” (1976) and his exploration of organized crime in “Goodfellas” (1990) showcase his knack for raw, unfiltered storytelling. Spielberg is the king of imagination, weaving tales that range from the extraterrestrial wonder of “E.T.” (1982) to the historical high drama of “Munich” (2005). Their versatility knows no bounds, and they are masters of storytelling in its purest form.

In terms of Oscar accolades, Spielberg has won three statuettes: one for 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan” (directing) and two for 1993’s “Schindler’s List” (directing, best picture). Scorsese has one Oscar to his name for directing 2006’s “The Departed.” The film also won best picture, but he did not produce it. To up the ante: Scorsese and Spielberg are tied for the second-most nominations for best director with nine, behind William Wyler’s 12.

Although the two are joining forces on “Maestro,” they are also competitors: Each has other projects in the best picture race that could make them double nominees in the category.

Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a trenchant look at the murders of members of the Osage tribe in the 1920s, is a surefire awards contender. Along with his stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone, Scorsese can expect noms for best picture, directing and adapted screenplay.

Coming off last year’s triple noms for his semi-autobiographical “The Fabelmans,” Spielberg isn’t helming a movie. But he is a producer on Blitz Bazawule’s reimagining of his 1985 best picture-nominated “The Color Purple.” The Warner Bros. film is still waiting in the wings, but the early buzz is favorable for its awards prospects for acting (Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks and Taraji P. Henson) and for its chances in the top category.

A ceremony that includes household names like Scorsese and Spielberg will only boost ratings, and viewers’ investment in the Oscars. “Maestro” is all but guaranteed to bring the two to the Dolby. The rest is gravy.

Read the latest prediction updates below.

Best Picture
“American Fiction” (MGM)
“Barbie” (Warner Bros.)
“The Holdovers” (Focus Features)
“The Iron Claw” (A24)
“Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
“Maestro” (Netflix)
“Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)
“Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)
“The Zone of Interest” (A24)

Greta Gerwig, “Barbie”
Jonathan Glazer, “The Zone of Interest”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “Poor Things”
Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”
Martin Scorsese, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Bradley Cooper, “Maestro”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Colman Domingo, “Rustin”
Cillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer”
Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”

Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Sandra Hüller, “Anatomy of a Fall”
Carey Mulligan, “Maestro”
Margot Robbie, “Barbie”
Emma Stone, “Poor Things”

Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, “Poor Things”
Robert DeNiro, “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Robert Downey Jr., “Oppenheimer”
Ryan Gosling, “Barbie”
Mark Ruffalo, “Poor Things”

Supporting Actress
Emily Blunt, “Oppenheimer”
America Ferrera, “Barbie”
Julianne Moore, “May December”
Cara Jade Myers, “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”

Original Screenplay
“The Holdovers”
“The Iron Claw”
“Past Lives”

Adapted Screenplay
“American Fiction”
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Poor Things”
“The Zone of Interest”

Animated Feature
“The Boy and the Heron”
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”
“Trolls Band Together”

Production Design
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Poor Things”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“The Zone of Interest”

Costume Design
“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Poor Things”

Film Editing
“The Holdovers”
“The Iron Claw”
“Killers of the Flower Moon”

Makeup and Hairstyling
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”
“The Iron Claw”
“Poor Things”

“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Visual Effects
“Blue Beetle”
“The Creator”
“The Little Mermaid”
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Original Score
“American Fiction”
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Original Song
“It Never Went Away” from “American Fiction”
“What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie”
“Road to Freedom” from “Rustin”
“Better Place” from “Trolls Band Together”
“This Wish” from “Wish”

Documentary Feature
“American Symphony”
“Little Richard: I Am Everything”
“The Pigeon Tunnel”
“They Shot the Piano Player”

International Feature
“Perfect Days” (Japan)
“The Taste of Things” (France)
“The Teachers’ Lounge” (Germany)
“The Peasants” (Poland)
“The Zone of Interest” (United Kingdom)

Top 4 Nomination Leaders Tracking (Film)

  1. “Killers of the Flower Moon” — 13
  2. “Oppenheimer” — 12
  3. “Barbie” — 10
  4. “Poor Things” — 9

Top 4 Nomination Leaders Tracking (Studios)

  1. Apple Original Films and Netflix — 14
  2. Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures – 12
  3. Universal Pictures — 12
  4. A24 — 10

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