Steven Spielberg has made plenty of personal films over the years, but none more so than The Fabelmans.

Based on Spielberg's own childhood and adolescence, the family drama follows Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) as he falls in love with filmmaking while coming to terms his parents' divorce. (Paul Dano and Michelle Williams star as Burt and Mitzi Fabelman.) "It was a Kafkaesque experience," the filmmaker revealed during an Academy-hosted Q&A for the film. "The first difficult thing was deciding to tell the story in the first place. That was probably the hardest challenge, in the sense that this is my private life."

"In everything we perform in, or write, or direct, or produce, we leave a little of ourselves behind, so all of my films I consider to be personal films," Spielberg said. "But I've never really made a movie that is about a lived experience, as opposed to just a metaphor for something else... It was also really wicked weird to walk onto a set and actually walk into my house from 1958."

At the 95th Oscars, The Fabelmans received a total of seven nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Williams), Best Supporting Actor (Judd Hirsch), Best Original Screenplay (Spielberg and Tony Kushner), Best Original Score (John Williams), and Best Production Design (Rick Carter and Karen O'Hara).

Watch the full Academy Conversation for more insight into the making of The Fabelmans from Spielberg, longtime collaborator Kushner, and cast members Williams, Dano, LaBelle, and Hirsch.


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