Steven Spielberg has Covid. Given that, the 75-year-old director missed his planned introduction of the Michelle Williams tribute at the Gotham Awards tonight in Manhattan.
Paul Dano, Williams’ co-star in the Spielberg-directed pic The Fabelmans, took the podium and read some background on — and recounted some personal memories of — the four-time Oscar-nominated actress. Dano recalled the pair being at the film’s Hollywood premiere and how they got to talking about being young actors in Los Angeles.
“Michelle said, ‘I remember just driving around town looking for work,’” he said. “And I thought, ‘Imagine if that teenage girl knew that at the midpoint of her career she’d be seeing a tribute award at the Gothams from none other than Steven Spielberg, and what would she have thought?’”
He later added: “And then I thought, ‘Well, what if we had to tell that girl that Steven got Covid?’ She’d be like, ‘What’s Covid?’ and that ‘Paul Dano was going to introduce you?’ She’d be like, ‘Who the f*ck is Paul Dano?’ ”
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That was the only mention that the three-time Oscar winner had contracted Covid, but it was enough to get the point across: Steven Spielberg was not in the building.
The timing of his diagnosis is brutal, coming just as the 2022-23 film awards season kicks into high gear. Spielberg and his semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans are right in the thick of contention for hardware including Best Picture. It opened November 11.
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Spielberg is unlikely to be the last A-list Oscar contender to battle the virus this season. Test positivity in Los Angeles has just about doubled in the past week, to 13% today. That’s a remarkable jump given that it’s a 7-day average many positive cases are going unreported after being identified at home, according to experts.
Of course, there is still time for copious campaigning. Voting for Oscar nominations does not close until January 17 and final voting does not end until March 7.
In fact, Spielberg is already set to be feted with a special homage at the 73rd edition of the Berlin International Film Festival next February. The festival will present Spielberg with an Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement and also screen most of his recent work, including The Fabelmans.
The director has been nominated 19 times for an Academy Award and has taken three statuettes home over the years, comprising Best Director for Saving Private Ryan in 1999 and Best Director and Best Picture for Schindler’s List in 1994.
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